Banda Turca

Translated by Michael Quinn

Manual for the Timpanist


Although Boracchi's Manual of 1842 is fairly well known, it seems writers and researchers up to now, probably from a lack of knowledge of Italian and basing themselves on poor translations, have dismissed his inventive efforts without considering the Manual as a whole where details emerge that shed more light on his aims. Therefore, I have undertaken this translation and added three appendices explaining his improvements and inventions, also additional illustrations including photos of actual Boracchi instruments, and copious annotations regarding the instructive text, social and musical commentary, and proper names.



From the Translator's Postscript:

After beginning work on Boracchi's Manual I realized that a mere translation would not only be quite boring, but sometimes puzzling because it contains so much that deals not only with playing techniques, but also mid - 19th century Italian musical life and its protagonists. As a result, I began annotating the text and collecting supplementary material with the idea of bringing those times and Boracchi himself closer to the reader.

— Michael Quinn


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Manual for the Timpanist


« ... so relevant to todays studious Timpanist. Reading the Manual, not only do you learn about the traditions and innovations by Mr Boracchi regarding timpani playing, you also understand the world of opera and music during his time ... »

— Christopher Ridley, timpanist, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


« An interesting and educational work that comes straight from a timpani player who was active at the time when composers such as Beethoven or Verdi lived. It's interesting to read which challenges Boracchi faced with the timpani he used in 1839. The questions that come up when I play Verdi's opera's all of a sudden got their answers. »

— Bart Jansen, timpanist, Deutsche Oper, Berlin


« With the translation of the Boracchi Manual a new, clear, insight into the history of the timpani is opened to us. The Manual offers a remarkable picture of the development of the timpani and the timpanist's art in Italy in the 19th century. A treasure to read and study ... a superb translation and additional research ... »

— Nick Woud, timpanist, Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam


« For the first time, thanks to the translator's detailed comments and analysis, I was able to understand the tuning mechanism devised by Borracchi. Color pictures of actual instruments – never seen before – are also included and discussed. A must read for anyone interested in "historically informed performance", and a natural companion to the volume "The Timpani and Percussion Instruments in 19th-Century Italy. »

— Sylvain Bertrand, timpanist Les Siècles (François-Xavier Roth) and former timpanist of Les musiciens du Louvre (Marc Minkowski)

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