Four Drums, Four Strings is a concerto for Timpani soloist and Orchestra. The piece is about the role of the timpani within the orchestra, and the hidden melodic potential that the timpani now possess due to the pedals; the four drums become the four strings of a violin or cello, with the fingerings being the pedal positions. Yet this is constrained by the difficulty of pedaling and finding clear pitches on the timpani head, and this tension is present throughout the piece, both in the sheer virtuosity of the melodic timpani playing, straining against the boundary of what is physically playable on the instrument, as well as musically, where the main theme is a struggle between the conventional I-V-I of the standard, cliché timpani part and the Neapolitan chord, which suggests distant and dramatic melodic motion.

The soloist is recommended to use balance-action pedals and should be deeply familiar with the drums they are performing on.

Specific instrumentation is on the second page of the score.

Midi recording:

For additional information, questions, or parts requests, contact Aidan.