Title: Eight Pieces for Four Timpani (one player)

Author: Elliott Carter

Eight Pieces was a monumental composition for the solo timpani repertoire when published in 1950, and still holds a prominent place in the repertoire for the instrument today. Each of the eight pieces has different challenges, but it is the unique writing which sets these pieces apart from others. Some use the timpani in a melodic sense, some in a mainly rhythmic context. Carter has the performer use different beating spots (Center, Normal and Rim) to vastly expand the instruments range of colors. Also, some pieces are played with unique mallets to enhance a certain element of the instruments’ color. Finally, the use of metric modulations through the use of hemiola rhythms and use of accents is really what drive the majority of the pieces forward.

The Pieces are as follows:

  • I. Saeta
  • II. Moto Perpetuo
  • III. Adagio
  • IV. Recitative
  • V. Improvisation
  • VI. Canto
  • VII. Canaries
  • VIII. March

Categories: Solo or Etude, Timpani

Annotated by Greg Simonds