Hava Nagila & the Middle Eastern Tuning
Tablature for Alto and Treble

The Middle Eastern scale is very similar to the standard Hugh Tracey kalimba tunings - just change the D's into D#'s. On the Alto, I also change the low G to an F# so the 5th is in the bass, and on the Treble, I leave the top note as a D natural.

Hence, these retunings only require changing two or three notes, and you can actually accomplish this retuning in a minute or two, so it is possible to change over to this tuning in the middle of a performance if you know what you are doing. Even if you don't want to risk something like that in a life performance, this is an excellent tuning to experiment with in your own private time. It feels and sounds radically different from the standard tuning, but is an easy retune. This was the first alternative tuning I worked with back in 2001, and it could be your first alternative tuning too!

Alto MidEast Tuning
Alto Middle-Eastern Tuning

I play about 20 or 25 kalimba performances every December, probably as many as I do the whole rest of the year. In fact, Christmas music has, indeed, become my specialty. But I often like to spice up the familiar Christmas mix with Hava Nagila, as a small gesture of respect for any Jewish persons who may be in the room. This ends up being particularly synergistic since it is highly likely that the very first Christmas music - music that was played at the time that Jesus was born - was in a tuning similar to this!

Treble MidEast Tuning
Treble Middle-Eastern Tuning

I offer you the tablature for Hava Nagila for the Alto and Treble Middle Eastern tuned Hugh Tracey Kalimbas. I should note that the version I play in the above video has more notes and more artistic license, while the versions in the tablature are a bit easier.