John Willmarth’s timpani solo And They’re Off was inspired by the Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY. The thematic material is derived from the iconic “Call to the Post” bugle call, typically heard 5 to 10 minutes before the start of a horse race.
This piece is a great vehicle to assist developing timpanists perfect their tuning of a major triad. As Willmarth advises, players should strive to create an exciting and energetic performance throughout. He recommends using an articulate mallet to provide clarity on denser rhythmic passages.
This solo can also be found in The Blue Book – Volume 3 along with over 40 other solos for snare drum, drum set, mallet keyboard, and timpani.