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Timbales

A salsa drum set consisting of two tuneable drums that differ in pitch, two cow bells, cymbal(s) and possibly a woodblock. It is typically played with two sticks. The timables were developed in Cuba based on the tympani from Europe.

The two drums are made of metal and have tuneable skins stretched over the heads. The drums are mounted on a stand which also serves to attach cowbells, cymbals and perhaps other accesories. The drums are played with dowel-like sticks but may also be played by the bare left hand. Traditionally the low pitched drum is on the left side, but this may be reversed by artists that feel comfortable with the bongo drum placement. Modern playing style would include using the sides of the drum as well as on the drum heads, and use the attached cowbells and cymbals.

The timbables is a staple of percussion sections in mambo and salsa bands as well as Cuban danzon and charanga bands. The sound of the timbales is best exemplified by the famous artist Tito Puente as is in this song: El Timbalón.