Strange Percussion Grouping

• Feb 3, 2021 - 22:34

In my orchestral score, I added a glockenspiel and a cymbal (cymbal first) to the existing timpani. Upon adding the glockenspiel, it was bracketed with the cymbal as shown in the image below. Shouldn't it be with the timpani, as they are both pitched pitched percussion and the cymbal is unpitched?

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William, just an educated guess, but I am thinking timpani is not grouped with other percussion because it is played by a permanent player, whereas the other percussion is played by a percussion team, each of which can play any percussion instrument as needed during performance so they are grouped together in a "section".

In reply to by odelphi231

It's possible, but I thought bracketing had to do with instrument families, and not players. Besides, while watching a recording of one of Beethoven's symphonies, I noticed that the timpani player eventually switched to playing the triangle while there was no timpani part — though that may have just been an exception to the rule. I had thought that percussionists learned many different instruments, rather than just specializing in one.

In reply to by William Halsted

It seems to be a matter of pride among timpanists that they are not considered part of the percussion section and don't play others percussion parts in general. Not saying they aren't capable of it or wouldn't play another instrument if specifically hired to do so. But it's quite traditional to keep timpani parts completely separate from other percussion instruments.

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