Are there any timpanists on this forum? I'm reviewing the timpani part for a piece I'm working on, and I'm having doubts about whether it's either impossible to perform, or requires too many retunings or too many drums, etc.. I googled around for more information on timpani writing, and the general advice I got was to minimize the number of distinct pitches, and allow plenty of time for retuning.
What remains unclear to me, though, is how fast a modern instrument equipped with tuning pedals can be tuned to a different pitch? At a tempo of, say, 115 bpm in 6/8 time, how practical is it to retune from say C (below middle C) down to B flat in the span of 2-3 bars? What can be done in a frequently-modulating passage where there are very few common pitches that might be usable as a tuning?