A drum made of a bowl-shaped shell over which parchment is stretched. This drum has a definite pitch that can be adjusted by adjusting the tension of the parchment. The modern orchestral timpani are kettledrums.Also [Eng.] kettledrum; [Fr.] timbale; [Fr.] timbales; [Ger.] Pauke; [Ger.] Pauken; [It.] timpani; [It.] timballo; [It.] timpano; [It.] tympani; [Sp.] timbal or [Sp.] atabal.drum used in orchestra, made of brass or copper vessel with a calfskin head. Kettledrums generally come in pairs, and are tuned in fifths