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Method of Tuning Timpani (Technique Wilber England worked with me on)
1. Give yourself the A once. Use a tuning fork or a mallet instrument, but only take the A once.
2. Figure out the note for the drum with the friendliest interval to an A. For example, do not try to figure out a d# on the low drum from the A when you can much more easily figure out the g# for the higher drum.
3. Find the first note by tapping the drum head in the ideal playing spot, lowering your head to the instrument, and glissing up to the note. NEVER tune down to a note.
4. Now figure out the second pitch from the first drums note. This is usually a friendly interval if you have followed the preceding steps.
NOTE: When you figure out a note, you can either sing it or hear it in your head. Personally, I find it easier to just hear it in my head.