The marímbula, (also marímbola), is an African-derived folk instrument found across the Caribbean. Large enough for its player to sit on, this instrument consists of a large, resonating box with metal strips that are plucked to provide a simple bass accompaniment. Its affordability, ease of construction, and portability (it can be strapped to its player like a marching drum), made it adaptable to many styles of folk music, from the roving aguinaldo of the Christmas season to a street-corner plena.
Currently not on view
Object Name
thumb piano/marimbola
Date made
20th century
Physical Description
wood; metal (overall material)
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 45.5 cm x 67.5 cm x 19 cm; 17 15/16 in x 26 9/16 in x 7 1/2 in
Place Made
Puerto Rico
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Cultures & Communities
Puerto Rico
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Teodoro Vidal

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