Percussive Arts Society

Heraldic Moments for Timpani by Jeff Calissi

Beginning in the 15th century timpani were employed to capture an audience’s attention. Whether for an announcement, event, or concert, paired with brass instruments in a fanfare or in an orchestral setting as a solo, the combination of rhythm and pitch at the heart of the instruments have been a useful tool for composers throughout music history. Incorporated in this solo are excerpted portions of the following pieces that are well known for using the timpani as a vehicle for heraldic moments in the music:

  • “Also sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss
  • Symphony No. 9 (mvmt. II) by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland
  • “Bugler’s Dream” by Leo Arnaud
  • “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” by John Williams
  • “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah by George Frideric Handel

The performer is encouraged to study recordings of the above works, observe the approach in which the timpani parts are orchestrated and performed, and apply as much of that traditional heraldic characteristic as possible into the performance of this solo.

Heraldic Moments

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Jeff CalissiDr. Jeff Calissi is an associate professor of music at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he directs the Eastern Percussion Studio, teaches courses in music theory, ear-training, and sight-singing, and performs in the faculty percussion duo Confluence. He has performed and presented at the conferences of the College Music Society, the Percussive Arts Society, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference, the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, and at the Center for Mallet Percussion Research. His compositions and arrangements are available from C. Alan Publications and Garden State Publications, and his writings and research can be found in Percussive Notes and Rhythm! Scene. Jeff received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from Radford University and both Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society. For more information, visit

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