Timbales

The shells are referred to as cáscara (the Spanish word for shell) which is also the name of a rhythmic pattern common in salsa music that is played on the shells of the timbales to keep time. The heads are light and tuned fairly high for their size. Timbales is also the French word for timpani, thus the French refer to Afro-Cuban timbales as timbales latines. In fact, timbales were invented in the early 20th century as a more portable replacement for the standard timpani used in Afro-Cuban orchestras. Skilled players strike the heads, rims, and shells in rapid succession to produce lively latin rhythms; likewise, it is common for a timbalero to do so during purchase. Like many other drums, music shops may be understandably reluctant to let a browsing customer play the shells of timbales they have for sale.

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