The tiple, Puerto Rico's smallest string instrument, shows great regional variations in how it is strung and tuned. It and its jumbo version, the bordonúa, were often played to accompany religious songs. While the melodic cuatro has been embraced as a popular symbol of puertorriqueñidad (Puerto Ricanness), the tiple nearly disappeared in the 20th century.
Description (Spanish)
El tiple es el instrumento de cuerdas más pequeño de Puerto Rico, observándose un gran número de variaciones regionales respecto al modo en que se encorda y afina. El tiple y su versión gigante, el bordonúa, se tocaban a menudo para acompañar temas religiosos. Mientras que el cuatro melódico fue adoptado como símbolo popular de la puertorriqueñidad, el tiple prácticamente ha desaparecido en el siglo XX.
Currently not on view
Date made
late 19th-early 20th century
Place Made
Puerto Rico
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
bone (overall material)
overall: 52.1 cm x 11.7 cm x 6.8 cm; 20 1/2 in x 4 5/8 in x 2 11/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Teodoro Vidal
Puerto Rico
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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