The timpani, or kettledrum, is the orchestral percussion instrument with the longest tradition. It has been established as a staple of the symphony orchestra since the 17th century. Whereas in the Baroque and Classical period one pair of timpani was the standard, four (or even more) instruments in Romantic and modern works are common. The timpani is one of the rare membranophones with a definite pitch and its tuning requires extremely sensitive hearing. The intensity of performance tasks makes it essential that the timpani part in the orchestra is played by a specialist, the “timpanist”. As opposed to other percussionists who usually change instruments as required by the piece (e.g., bass drum, a-due cymbals, tambourine, triangle) the timpanist focuses on playing the timpani part exclusively.