The timple is without a doubt, the most representative musical element in the Canary Islands, where its presence its essential in the folkloric celebrations of the archipelago. It is a stringed instrument, very similar to a guitar, but smaller, with forty centimetres approximately, made by wood and nylon. Normally, it has five strings, although you can find timples with four, six and even twelve. With a high and loud sound, it is traditionally played strumming with the right hand.

It has three different parts:

  • Box: Here it is the mouth, the harmonious cover and the lower door.
  • Neck or arm: In this area it is the frets and the fingerboard
  • Pegbox: In this part you can see the pegs and the small box. 


Its origin: 

The origin of the timple is due to the mix of different cultures which took place in the islands after the conquest, among them, the portuguese, spanish and african culture. During the XVI century, many slaves from Africa came to the islands, so their presence could be the inspiration for its creation. However, the main sources say that the first reference of the timple is situated in the european Renaissance and, above all, the influence of the baroque lute. It had a great popularity and tradition in the oriental islands, and later on in the occidental area. 

The first timples were made in the XIX century, known as “tiple” or “camelillo”, due to the its dented back cover, which remind us of a hump of a camel hump. This quality makes the difference between the timple and other similar instruments, as it offers a higher resonance.

The Timple House Museum:

The first timple builders lived in Lanzarote. It is just in this island, exactly in the Villa of Teguise, where is situated the Timple House Museum, managed by Benito Cabrera, one of the most famous and renowned timple players.

In this cultural area you can see a wide collection of timples, its construction process, recreating a traditional workshop, and discover in depth the folklore in the island. Also, it offers a great program of activities like concerts, courses and talks in a place with a great architectural interest, the Spínola’s Palace.  

The timple today:

At present, the timple is still quite popular in many pilgrimages through the “parrandas”, (folkloric groups in the Canary Islands), in which this instrument complemented the music. However, in the last years the timple has gained prominence as instrument by itself, due to new generations of timple players, being used in different musical styles to perform baroque, contemporary music, jazz or pop. All of them make the timple is still alive, being the musical icon par excellence of the Canary Islands. 




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