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4/25/2014 Timbale Playing Basics 1/4
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Timbale Basics
Richie Gajate Garcia
In the eighteenth century, the
European timpani was used in
Cuba in the Orquesta Tipica. In the
nineteenth century a smaller
version of the timpani was
introduced and was given the
name timbale.
In the beginning, the timbale
consisted of only two drums on a
stand. In the 1930's the small
cowbell was added to the set up
for use in the more modern rhythm
sections of the time.
Today the timbale player in a typical
rhythm section utilizes larger timbale drums with more accessories attached such
as; LP Mambo Bell, LP Chacha Bell , LP Wood Block or LP Jam Block and a
cymbal on a stand.
The job of the timbale player in a Latin band is similar to that of
the drummer in a big band. He is responsible for setting up band
breaks and driving the band as a trap drummer would. The timbale
player plays various parts of the timbale. The Cascara or Paila
(shell) the large drum or Hembra, and the small drum or Macho.
In the musician's approach, the larger drum serves as a tom tom or
bass drum and the small drum serves as a snare drum. Most of the
riding is done on the Mambo or Chacha bells depending on the
rhythm that is being played. The cymbal is used more for punches
with the band or accompanying a brass or woodwind solo.
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The timbale player plays many different types of patterns and
these are all based on Son, Rumba or 6/8 Clave.
Following are a few examples of the Claves and the basic patterns.
Typical Cascara Patterns in 32 clave.
These patterns are generally played with one hand, while the
other hand might be playing a counter rhythm on the large timbale
or another bell pattern simultaneously.
There are many different patterns that are played on timbales
which come from the different styles such as Mambo, Mozambique,
Charanga, Danzon and Guajira to name a few.
Some of the great timbale players known today are Tito Puente,
Manny Oquendo, Monchito Monzon, Endel Dueno, Nicky Marrero
and Jose Luis Quintana (Changuito), to name just a few.
For further information. please refer to Richie Garcia's video,
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Adventures in Rhythm, Volume 2: CloseUp on Bongos and
Timbales, produced by Latin Percussion, Inc and distributed by
Warner Brothers.

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