The Well Tempered Timpanist
The modern timpanist faces a new world of music that is more and more requiring an increasingly high level of technical proficiency. Appropriately titled, The Well-Tempered Timpanist is a wonderful collection of extensive writing of sticking permutations and drum combinations that the performing percussionist is bound to come across. Charles Dowd writes 770 studies for improving the reading and execution of crucial techniques like muting, staccato and legato playing, phrasing, and tuning. He intentionally left out hundreds of combinations, so even if someone finds their self working through all of the patterns they can always find another way to improve.
"This excellent book is great for timpani teachers and students wishing to perfect upon there professional playing of the timpani. This is not a standard method book, basic playing techniques are note provided, knowledge of the instrument and how it is played is required before the use of this book. This book is written with a profound love of the instrument, music and teaching, and would serve any percussionist well in mastering the fundamentals." - Denver Ridgway
Organization: A picture and description of the author as well as an introduction, foreword, and dedication precede the table of contents, mainly organized by sticking exercises, muffling exercises, rolls, staccato studies, tuning studies, and “cross rhythms” or polyrhythms.
Content: Each section starts with a short description of instructions from the author, with several smaller titles above the following studies, which can range from a single measure to several. The sticking exercises start off with two drums and extend to six, with the muffling exercises following the same pattern. The roll section encourages playing the studies at varying levels of tightness on the 28/29” drum instead of certain pitches which demands varying roll techniques from the player. The staccato section mimics this ‘tightness system’, with studies including written legato strokes beside staccato strokes. The tuning section includes interval training and a “tuning medley” which provides a musical environment in which the reader would normally encounter these types of passages. The “cross rhythms” section lists two different notations: how the cross rhythm should be counted and how it is written or should be played which I feel helps show the reader how to interpret the cross rhythm.
Uses: Similar to what is stated in the introduction, I would say this book is suited for professional players or advanced college level students since it provides many different examples of warm-ups or exercises in which the player can invent their own exercises and studies.
Rating: With the inclusion of the “cross rhythms” section, I feel this book is good for professionals who are looking for something to warm-up their pre-existing fundamentals and prepare for orchestral solos as no section goes into great detail about any technique. If an experienced player is looking for a book that gives them great ideas about inventing their own exercises or to adjust written exercises around their style of current repertoire, I could see this book being useful. 4/5. User:Hondogracias
Additional Study Materials
Works for Percussion by this Author
Dowd, Charles. A Funky Primer for the Rock Drummer. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., 1987
Dowd, Charles. A Funky Thesaurus for the Rock Drummer: Features Afro-Cuban Rhythms & Odd-Meter Rock Beats. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., 1987
Dowd, Charles. Jazz, Rock & Latin Sourcebook: 100 Grooves for Drums & Bass. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., 1996
Cirone, Anthony; Charles Dowd. Master Technique Builders for Snare Drum. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., 1985
Dowd, Charles. The Well Tempered Timpanist. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., 1985
Dowd, Charles. Velocity Warm-Ups for Jazz Vibraphone. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., 1985
Cirone, Anthony; Charles Dowd, Morris Lang, Percussion Masterclass on Works by Carter, Milhaud and Stravinsky. Delray Beach, Fl: Meredith Music Pub., 2010