Rhythmology II for Keyboards and Timpani

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John R. Hearnes & David England

General Info

Year of Publication: 2018
Publisher: Row-Loff Productions
Series: Row-Loff Workshop Series
Level: Elementary
Cost: $12.00

Table Of Contents

Mallet Percussion Solo

  • Get Going
  • Classico
  • Regality
  • Giggy

Timpani Solo

  • Doom, Doom
  • Two Tim Punny
  • Timpandemonium

Mallet Percussion Duet

  • Mallet Waltz
  • Granola Bars
  • Blue Two

Timpani Duet

  • Four By Two

Mallet Percussion Trio

  • Alien Drivers
  • Serenade for Three
  • The Lost Island

Tuned Percussion Trio

  • Avocados

Percussion Quartet


“Rhythmology II for Keyboards and Timpani” is a collection of solos, duets, trios, and a quartet composed for the beginning and intermediate percussionist. Being band directors ourselves, we understand the needs of both developing percussionists and the band directors who try to find suitable music for those students. The pieces come from writing for our own middle school students, and many of the pieces have been performed by those students at Solo & Ensemble festivals over the past few years.
“Rhythmology II” contains 7 solos, 4 duets, 4 trios, and a quartet (with some multi-percussion) to inspire and challenge the percussionists in your program. The pieces contain many pedagogical elements which make this book a perfect supplement with the “Toolbox” series (available from Row-Loff) or with other band method books.

Notes for Rhythmology II for Keyboards & Timpani

Keyboard Solos

Get Going - You’ve got to start somewhere, right? “Get Going” is the perfect piece for the new mallet soloist! It is in a simple ABA form so there is repeated material in the A sections to help you with learning the piece. Make sure that the B section is contrasting dynamically to the A sections. The B section also introduces “double stops.” When playing double stops make sure that both hands hit together and evenly. Only roll on half notes and whole notes if you are playing a marimba or xylophone. No rolls are necessary with bells or vibes. Hope you have a successful solo performance!
Classico - This mallet solo uses notes within a one-octave Bb scale. Players should pay close attention to steps (scale patterns) and skips. Dynamics are important to create variety during the performance. Stickings can be marked where desired to aid in a smooth flow up and down the scale.
Regality - This intermediate mallet solo explores more complex rhythms and the use of musical sequence. Players should make sure to count the “eighth + quarter + eighth” and the “dotted quarter + eighth” rhythms accurately before working on the pitches. A musical sequence is a repeated melodic passage at higher or lower pitches, and this piece has several sequences throughout. Several dynamic changes are noted in the piece, and players can also explore the unwritten dynamics by adding small swells as notes run up and down scale patters.
Giggy - “Giggy” (pronounced Gig-ee) is the name my youngest daughter gave to her blankie. This piece depicts her bouncy, animated personality. It is classical in style and approach: think Mozart. There is a lot of dynamic shaping involved here. Pay special attention to the gradual dynamic changes (crescendos and diminuendos). Giving a slight rise in volume to each roll will help create a stronger sense of style. Keep the tempo up and the approach light. The biggest thing here is to make MUSIC!

Timpani Solos

Doom, Doom - So that’s how timpani sound: Doom, Doom, Doom, Doom! Only two drums are needed for this one. Stickings are up to you, but try to avoid crossover stickings on this one. A dot above the note means to dampen the drumhead with the opposite hand after striking for a short sound. Rolls are notated with slashes and should be even, single stroke rolls. Since these pitches are low to mid-range there’s no need to roll super fast. Just make them even and smooth. Good mallet selection helps: try medium soft mallets for this piece. Work for good contrast with dynamics and don’t forget the accents!
Too Tim Punny - This piece is the next step in timpani soloing. Still using two drums, this piece incorporates much more dynamic contrast. The key is “contrast.” Make sure you can tell the difference in volume and approach. The piece also uses two new techniques. The first is double stops – where the hands hit directly together on different drums. The second is playing on the bowls or outer shell of the drum. Make sure to use the felt or mallet-head side of the mallet when striking the bowls. It should be a ping-like metallic sound. Pay attention to the written stickings to get the right flow from the very beginning.
Timpandemonium - For this intermediate timpani solo, the player will use the standard playing area (roughly 6” from the edge) and also the center. For letter “A,” the left hand is playing softly in the center, while the right hand is playing louder on the edge. The left hand moves back to the center going into letter “B.” During letter “C,” the rolls should be as connected as possible. Where possible, dampen the drums during rests.

Keyboard Duet

Mallet Waltz - This easy mallet duet has the players performing the same rhythms with different pitches. This should help give each player something solid to listen to while playing the piece. It is especially important to count through notes lasting longer than one beat as not to lose the steady pulse.
Granola Bars - This mallet duet is based in the key of C, the “all natural” key signature. The player with the melody has it marked in his or her part, so that part should be played slightly stronger than the accompaniment. Playing correct note values is a must since both players have different rhythms that must line up. Players should watch each other peripherally during the ritardando at the end to slow down together

Additional Resources

Row-Loff Workshop Series

Row-Loff Workshop Series

Uncommon Duos By Lalo Davila
Wandering By Dan Moore
The Orchemental Snare Collection By Edward Freytag & Keith Dudek
Timp-Tastic By Lalo Davila
Rhythmology for Snare Drum By John R. Hearnes & David England
Snared By Dan Moore
Multiplicity By Edward Freytag
The Cajón Companion By Tony Artimisi
Rhythmology II for Keyboards and Timpani By John R. Hearnes & David England