Definition and background:
The plural form of the French term for timpani.Also [Eng.] kettledrum; [Fr.] timbale; [Fr.] timbales; [Ger.] Pauke; [Ger.] Pauken; [It.] timpani; [It.] timpano; [It.] timballo; [It.] tympani; [Sp.] timbal or [Sp.] atabal.A Cuban percussion instrument consisting of a pair of single head, shallow drums tuned to different pitches, and performed with two sticks. These drums are essential to Latin American popular music.
Timbales have their origin in Latin music. They are steel drums played with drumsticks. The famous Latin drummer Tito Puento popularized the timbale drums as the headliner for his band. Drumset players also use timbale drums to enhance their sound.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary