I have stepped by a YouTube video showing Vienna Philharmonic, under John Williams, playing theme from “Jurassic Park”.

In 1:44 minute of this video the drummer is doing something with a valve placed next to drums:

enter image description here

Can you explain this? What kind of drum is this? And why he is using a valve at all / like that?

  • 2
    Please add a description of the video content so that your question remains useful even if the link dies.
    – Aaron
    Jan 24, 2021 at 8:32
  • @Aaron Done! :>
    – trejder
    Jan 24, 2021 at 17:53
  • 1
    Not quite what I meant. Should the link go dead, we'll need a description of what you're asking about -- that is, the drum and how it's being used. Perhaps you could take a screenshot from the video and embed the photo. The image will be preserved by SE, so won't go dead.
    – Aaron
    Jan 24, 2021 at 18:07
  • @Aaron Hope that now this looks better.
    – trejder
    Jan 29, 2021 at 10:15
  • 1
    Yes, that's perfect. Now your question will be perfectly clear even if the video eventually becomes unavailable.
    – Aaron
    Jan 29, 2021 at 14:52

3 Answers 3


It's a kettledrum, aka timpanum.The handles are for changing the tension on the head, which changes the pitch of the drum. There is also a pedal which can be operated by foot, to go from one tuned pitch to another. Valves are what they're not - there's no gas or liquid passing, only tension produced by a screwing motion.

  • 3
    The timpani used by the Vienna Philharmonic don't have pedals, they are tuned by hand with those handles.
    – PiedPiper
    Jan 23, 2021 at 21:03

Timpani, and those handles change the tuning.


It can be considered a dial with a solid rod mechanism that fine-tunes a kettle drum. Normally the player will set their pedal (lever) to the correct position before a piece and fine-tune while playing.

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