Bending Bach’s Basslines – latest news

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I was delighted that one of the chorales from the book was used for the recent Principal Timpani audition for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam.

Nick Woud – Principal Timpani, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

“Adrian’s Bach basslines are a welcome addition to the timpani repertoire. I find them excellent for exam and audition performances, both for showing pedal virtuosity as well as for other instrumentalists to judge the musical potential of the candidate.”


Bending Bach’s Basslines is now available from these dealers in the UK, Europe and USA/Canada


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Royal College of Music Festival of Percussion 2016

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I was very excited to present a class on my book “Bending Bach’s Basslines” at the Royal College of Music Festival of Percussion on 10 July 2016.  The event was headlined by Dave Weckl, and other aritsts included Ian Thomas, Paul Clarvis, Maraca2, Genevieve Wilkins, the BBC Symphony Orchestra percussion section and the RCM Big Band, who presented a Buddy Rich tribute with Dave Weckl and Guy Barker.



Bending Bach’s Basslines photos and quotes


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Tom Greenleaves – Principal Timpani, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

“Bending Bach’s Basslines is a book I’d very much like to recommend to all timpanists. It fills – quite fabulously – a gap in our literature that I’d never consciously realised even existed. Of all the many tutors and collections of studies I know (both in English and in German), I honestly don’t feel any comes close to guiding and helping timpanists to develop their ears and so many facets of their technique in such a mercilessly musical way. Very methodical and well-paced, Adrian’s approach encompasses aspects of making music with other instruments – most fundamentally with the human voice – that go far beyond the scope of any other tutor I know. It’s benefitting me, no question!”

The photos above are of the Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche in Leipzig.


Håkon Kartveit – Principal Timpani, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

“I was happy to hear about the release of Adrian Bending’s new book, and even happier when I got to play through it.  Bending Bach’s Basslines fills a much-needed gap – as Richard Dawkins once put it – in the timpani literature.  The book is extremely well-crafted and offers professionals and students alike an unprecedented tool to further develop their tuning.  The different levels of difficulty give everyone, from the beginner student to the seasoned professional, a chance to play along.  It’s fantastic to witness Adrian provide a new angle to timpani tuning practice – a musical and challenging angle.  A gap we did not know existed has thus been filled, and with it comes the promise of a better and more structured approach to timpani tuning.  With compliments to Adrian, I warmly recommend this volume to every aspiring and established professional out there.”



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Tom Pritchard – National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

“An easily accessible book that offers young players such as myself great advice on key areas of Timpani playing, whilst also getting the chance to play along to the beautiful music of Bach.”  NYO Easter Course, 2016



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Matthew Dickinson – Percussion Teacher, Junior Royal Academy of Music

“In Bending Bach’s Basslines, Adrian has managed to hit upon a formula for successfully developing a student’s technique and musicianship while also introducing them to a wealth of music not before associated with the timpani. What’s more, this book works equally well for the young school pupil and the experienced music college student. No budding timpanist should be without it!”



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Donna-Maria Landowski

“This is a great book to get students to understand the role timpani play in the orchestra. The exercises provide a musical framework to pedal, sing bass-lines and harmony, as well as really listen to how a particular note sits within the chord. I have enjoyed just playing through it myself, and there is great playing and singing on the cd that accompanies the book.”



David Corkhill – Principal Timpani, English Chamber Orchestra; former Principal Percussion, Philhamornia; Timpani teacher, Guildhall School of Music and Drama

“Any sensible addition to timpani technique material is most welcome, but what’s really interesting to me is that through this book students will be alerted to the magnificent musical creation of Bach’s cantatas. Through his wide experience of the style Adrian Bending has given us a valuable learning resource for musician timpanists.”



Matt Hardy – Principal Timpani, Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Percussion Teacher, Wells Cathedral School

What a superb book! Bending Bach’s Basslines is a very exciting and rare addition to the percussion literature.  What Adrian has produced is a first for me: a collection of fabulously musical exercises that not only test your ears but force you to think simultaneously about every other facet of timpani technique.  On top of this, you get to play along to the beautiful music of Bach (and a few surprises!)  The book is filled to the brim with anecdotes, advice and tips, and it has already uncovered many holes in my own playing!

At Wells we have used Bending Bach’s Basslines with junior school pupils to experienced students playing in the National Youth Orchestra, National Children’s Orchestra and music college entrants.  Most importantly, they love it!!  Adrian has managed to produce a single book that covers every possible area of timpani study, introducing students to some wonderful music, presented in a straightforward and manageable way.  A must-have for any timpanist, at any level.

Antoine Siguré – Principal Timpani, Philharmonia Orchestra

“I have been looking for a fun and constructive way to practice intonation on the timpani for ages! And there it is: Adrian Bending came up with an incredibly resourceful method, based on Bach’s choral works (but not only… there are a few other surprises inside!), combined with little anecdotes, tips and tricks. Some of them are priceless! A must have, both for students and professional musicians!”


The Schnellar’s have landed!

I’m very excited to have acquired a set of three Schnellar timpani by Wolfgang Schuster.  There is lots of information about the history of Hans Schnellar and his timpani on Schuster’s website  My first major appearance playing these drums was for Dvorak’s New World Symphony with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment March 2015.  And recent appearances included performances of Bruckner’s 6th Symphony with Sir Simon Rattle in April 2016.

Other makers of Schnellar timpani include;

Wiener Pauken Werkstatt

Anton Mittermayr



Bending Bach’s Basslines launches at RCM

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New timpani for Scottish Chamber Orchestra

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra have taken delivery of four Henry Potter refurbished timpani.

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Edinburgh University Instrument Museum

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Pete Woods and I recently visited Edinburgh University Instrument Museum.  They have an enormous collection, including some weird and wonderful timpani and percussion instruments, the like of which we had never seen before.  We are very grateful to the Curator, Dr Jenny Nex, for showing us around.  Both drums below were made by George Potter, we estimate at the end of the 1800s.  We suspect that their tuning mechanisms, although beautifully engineered and manufactured, actually weren’t that succesful due to the difficulty of spreading the tension evenly all the way around the drum.  Hence these types of designs fell out of fashion quite quickly.

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Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, directed by Joshua Bell

Sir Neville Marriner’s 90th Birthday Concert, Royal Festival Hall, April 2014.

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