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There's something about those deep-sounding drums tuned to play specific notes that evokes a visceral reaction out of anyone who hears it. Expect any bit of music with timpani in it to be played for maximum What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? value. For extra awesome, add an ever louder roll.
- Parodied in Spaceballs: The dramatic timpani is provided by an actual timpanist in the spaceship itself. And in case you thought that was a one-off gag, the timpanist is one of the evacuees when the Self-Destruct Mechanism is activated.
- In On the Waterfront, the soundtrack by Leonard Bernstein has the quiet title music followed by a pounding fugato for three drummers (though the third is actually on tuned drums rather than timpani).
- In Make Mine Music, the hunters are represented by timpanis.
- Used during the "Epic Fail" segment of Attack of the Show.
- Formerly used at the start of the Bonus Round on Wheel of Fortune...
- ...and at the start of Jeopardy! when Art Fleming was host.
- Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra features this in its famous opening, "Sunrise." It never recurs in the remaining half-hour of the work.
- Samson and Delilah
- The finale of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 7 opens with a bravura flourish played on four timpani.
- The opening of Grieg's Piano Concerto
- Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 4 (The Inextinguishable) ends with a duel between two timpanists, placed at opposite sides of the orchestra. Yes, that is as spectacular as it sounds...
- The "Tuba mirum" in Hector Berlioz's Grande Messe des morts and Benjamin Britten's War Requiem has loud fanfares accompanied by overpowering drum rolls. "Be slowly lifted up" in the War Requiem is accompanied by timpani volleys played on three drums.
- Havergal Brian's "Gothic" Symphony begins with a short crescendo leading to a loud outburst from two timpanists. The timpani motif recurs at various points, but most impressively near the end of the symphony, "Non confundar in aeternum," which involves six timpanists.
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Miles Gloriosus enters the scene to dramatic timpani flourishes; in most showings, his entourage reflects this by having several drummers.
- In Der Ring Des Nibelungen, the Giants' Leitmotif is accompanied by pounding timpani at their forceful first entrance in Das Rheingold. The timpani motif stays with Fafner after he becomes a dragon, with the interval altered from a perfect fourth to a tritone.
- Quite a bit of the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, especially the opening theme and the battle against Magus.
- Played with in Final Fantasy VI: The battle in the opera house against Ultros features a dramatic timpani...because the music is being provided by the orchestra.
- The rest of the soundtrack itself also has dramatic timpani in a few of the themes.
- Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum: Vs. Arceus.
- The boss battles against Bowser in both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2.