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kettledrum,in music, percussion instrument consisting of a hemispherical metal vessel over which a membrane is stretched, played with soft-headed wooden drumsticks. Of ancient origin, it appeared early in Europe, probably imported from the Middle East by crusaders in the 12th or 13th cent. These early kettledrums were small and appeared in pairs, often hung about the player's waist. The kettledrum was introduced into the opera orchestra by Lully in the 17th cent. and was commonly used to express joy or triumph in the music of the baroque period. Unique among Western percussion instruments, it can be tuned to definite pitches by adjusting the tension of the head. Usually there are two or more in the modern orchestra, the tuning of which varies. Berlioz used eight pairs in his Requiem. Several improved methods of tuning were developed in the 19th cent.; common today is a single pedal capable of giving the instrument a full chromatic range of over an octave. Kettledrums are also called timpani. See drumdrum,
in music, percussion instrument, known in various forms and played throughout the world and throughout history. Essentially a drum is a frame over which one or more membranes or skins are stretched.
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a percussion musical instrument of ancient origin; used in orchestras since the 17th century. The cauldron-shaped body of the kettledrum (made of copper, brass, or aluminum) is covered by a leather membrane. The pitch of the instrument is regulated by the degree of tension of the membrane (with screws) or by a pedal mechanism. There is a resonator opening in the center of the bottom of the body. The sound of the kettledrum, resonant and booming, is produced by two drumsticks. Two to five (or more) kettledrums tuned to different pitches are used in present-day orchestras.