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Quick Overview

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The Timpani, or kettledrum, is the orchestral percussion instrument with the longest tradition. It has been established as a staple of the symphony orchestra since the 17th century. Whereas in the Baroque and Classical period one pair of timpani was the standard, four (or even more) instruments in Romantic and modern works are common. The Timpani is one of the rare membranophones with a definite pitch and its tuning requires extremely sensitive hearing. The intensity of performance tasks makes it essential that the timpani part in the orchestra is played by a specialist, the “timpanist”. As opposed to other percussionists who usually change instruments as required by the piece (e.g., bass drum, a-due cymbals, tambourine, triangle) the timpanist focuses on playing the timpani part exclusively.

The instrument has a range of about a sixth, a timpani group of several instruments covers approximately two octaves. The sound of the timpani blends homogeneously with other instrument groups of the orchestra. Timpani with majestic brass fanfares have their roots in history, and the combination of strings played in tremolo over a foundation of timpani rolls is a popular combination for creating dramatic and thrilling effects. The Vienna team has recorded single strokes, tremolos (with and without dynamics), and glissandos with various wooden and felt mallets (hard – medium hard – medium) as well as with finger strokes.

System Requirements

  • PC Windows 7/8/10 (latest update, 32/64-bit), Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2
  • macOS 10.10 (latest update) or higher, Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 4 GB RAM (8 GB recommended)
  • VIENNA KEY (Vienna Symphonic Library USB protection device) or other USB eLicenser (e.g., from Steinberg or Arturia)

Other configurations may work but are not actively supported.


  • Windows 7/8/10 (latest update, 64-bit), Intel i5/i7/Xeon
  • macOS 10.12 (or higher), Intel i5/i7/Xeon
  • 8 GB RAM
  • SSD or fast separate hard drive (7200 rpm or faster)
  • AU/VST/AAX compatible host (also works stand-alone)
  • AAX version requires Pro Tools 10.3.5 or higher
  • 88 key master keyboard

Hard Drive Space Requirements

  • 1.9 GB free hard drive space for the Standard Library, 8.2 GB for the Full Library
01 TIMPANI - A Single hits normal and secco
1–3 upbeats
Rolls normal and strong dynamics (1, 2, 4, and 6 sec.)
Glissandos 4th and 5th, up and down
Performance repetitions slow and fast
Rolls medium dynamics (1–6 sec.), strong dynamics (3 sec.)
Rolls glissandos 4th and 5th, up and down
02 TIMPANI - B / Medium Mallet
    Single hits normal, secco, coperto
    Glissandos, 1 and 2 sec.; up/down minor 2nd to 4th
    1–4 upbeats
    Performance repetitions slow, medium, and fast
    Rolls normal and short
    Rolls medium and strong dynamics, 1, 2, and 3 sec.
    Rolls glissandos, 1 and 2 sec.; up/down minor 2nd to 4th
    02 TIMPANI - B / Hard Mallet
      Single hits
      1–4 upbeats
      Rolls normal and strong dynamics (1, 2, and 4 sec.)
      02 TIMPANI - B / Wood Mallet
        Single hits
        1–4 upbeats

        Rolls normal and strong dynamics (1, 2, and 4 sec.)
        02 TIMPANI - B / Additional Mallets
          Single hits Medium hard Mallet
          Single hits Felt Mallet
          Single hits Finger
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