Definition of kettledrum in US English:



  • A large drum shaped like a bowl, with a membrane adjustable for tension (and so pitch) stretched across.

    Also collectively called timpani
    • ‘The golden measure of poetry does not yet exist, only the rhythm of the maracas, the exact sound of the kettledrum.’
    • ‘The emperor is enthroned under an elaborate canopy crowned by a two-headed eagle, and at the base of the throne are strewn the trophies of battles - banners and weapons, kettledrums, and standards.’
    • ‘Music swelled from the horn section, then flitted through the flutes, oboes, and clarinets, dropping down to the bass section, building from the rumbling of the kettledrum only to subside again.’
    • ‘And men beat on basins, tin pans, bass drums, and kettledrums.’
    • ‘I also enjoy Harnoncourt's unleashing the kettledrums at the climaxes.’
    • ‘Mozart's ‘last words’ were his attempt to produce the sound of the kettledrums in his Requiem.’
    • ‘The rain's playing muffled kettledrums on our roof, shimmering like sheets of cellophane outside.’
    • ‘Lightning sends flickering flashes through the Hall, and the thunder reaches us as a rumble of kettledrums.’
    • ‘Those who still admire Ezra Pound's pretentious poetry will presumably enjoy listening to him reciting while thumping on a kettledrum.’
    • ‘The sound is excellent for its age and the particular timbre of oboes, clarinets and bassoons accompanied by the battery of kettledrums has to be heard to be believed!’
    • ‘Whoever that is on the kettledrums in the finale does a hell of a job!’
    • ‘A typical cumbia is performed with a male singer (usually a high baritone or tenor) backed by a male chorus, drums (primarily kettledrum and bass drum), electric guitar and bass, and either a brass section or an accordion.’
    • ‘Drums were not used by the Roman army but European soldiers were reintroduced to them in the Crusades, when the presence of kettledrums and other percussion instruments was noted in the Saracen battle line.’
    • ‘Concertos for the timpani or kettledrums, the big boys of the orchestra, are certainly unusual but not entirely neglected.’
    • ‘Eleven-year-old gamelan aficionado Morrison solemnly tapped out the steady beat on the kempli, a large kettledrum on which all the musicians in Balinese gamelan depend to keep time, especially when the rhythms get tricky.’