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Timbales, the Tito Puente played
Sound of timbal

As Timbales , singular Timbal is called a Cuban (originally Creole ) drum few (usually made of copper or steel) without resonance head that are mounted on a stand, in which also one or more side-covered metal boilers Cowbells and other accessories such as Wood's and jamblocks attached. Sometimes a crash basin is part of it. Timbales belong to the percussion instruments , are single drums, have protruding metal frames in contrast to the bongos and, despite the similarity of names, are not closely related to the kettledrum ( French timbale) or the timbas .

The smaller and higher drums are called “Primero” or “Macho” ; it is on the right. The larger and deeper one is called "Segundo" or "Hembra" . The tonal distance between the drums is usually between a third and a fifth. The Timbalero plays while standing and beats the skin, but also the edges of the drum ( "Cascara" ) with two light drum sticks. This technique is called "Paila" . The timbales are often referred to as "pailas" in Cuba . According to the Cuban writer Felipe Pichardo Moya (1892–1957), “pailas” are vessels made of steel or copper in the shape of a “half orange” that were used in the cane sugar factories to collect the raw sugar juice.

Timbales have been an important part of Caribbean music since around the middle of the 20th century . B. in salsa combos. In addition, they are usually supplemented by two cow bells, a jam block and a basin. In Cuba, they are sometimes integrated into a drum kit by placing them to the left of the hi-hat .

The name “Timbales” is derived from the kettledrum , Spanish “Timbal” , from which it originally developed.

The book by Changuito (see literature) provides detailed, illustrated information on the history of the timbales and the various timbales rhythms (with notes and audio samples).

Well-known timbaleros

Arturo Sandoval at the Timbales (2010)


  • Changuito (Jose Luis Quintana): A Masters Approach to Timbales. Book + CD. Alfred Publishing, 1998.

See also

Web links

Commons : Timbales  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence