Timple

Name: Timple.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Tuning: G / C / E / A / D
Country: Canary Islands.
Region: West Africa & Atlantic Ocean.

Description: The timple is a five-stringed lute of the Canary Islands. In La Palma island and in the north of the island of Tenerife, many timple players omit the fifth [D] string. This approach in omitting the [D] is debated through out the Canary Islands. Those who advocate the use of the D string will keep it on.

Musicians who remove the D string state they are playing timple in the old-fashioned way, prior to the fifth string being introduced during the 19th or early 20th century. Timple players [timplistas] of note are Benito Cabrera from Lanzarote, José Antonio Ramos, Totoyo Millares, and Germán López from Gran Canaria and Pedro Izquierdo from Tenerife.

Tuning: The GCEAD tuning as used on the timple is very similar to the charango tuning GCEAE although the charango does date back much earlier. There is no direct contact between the two tunings despite them being similar at least by a difference from a single note on the bottom string. The four stringed version of this instrument is tuned to CEAD same as the first mentioned tuning although omitting the “G” string.

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