KTabS on the Mac
Running KTabS using CrossOver Mac by Béla Foltin

Kalimba Tablature
Tablature for Montoonal

I am brand new to the kalimba and karimba world and have a lot to learn. Fortunately, Mark at Kalimba Magic provides an enormous amount of multimedia teaching materials, including transcriptions of many songs into his KTabS tablature format. You can get KTabS at HERE.

KTabS, or Kalimba Tablature Software, is the means by which people create kalimba tablature PDFs such as the one shown to the right. If you have the free KTabS reader installed, you can get your computer to play the song like a player piano. You see the notes on the screen, and as they are highlighted, you hear the notes played. You can also play along with KTabS while it plays - a great way to learn.

The problem for Mac users, however, is that KTabS is available only for the Windows OS. Luckily, there is a very nice solution to this for much less money and trouble than installing Windows itself on your Mac. For several years I have been using a marvelous, ingenious and powerful software both on my iMac (2009) and MacBookPro (2010) that runs many Windows programs, without the Windows OS being resident: CrossOver Mac by Codeweavers. All you need to know about how to download the free trial version and install on your mac is found on their website. Of course, before you download the trial, check system requirements.

While you are on the site, you may notice the list of programs supported by Codeweaver on CrossOver Mac, and you will see that KTabS is not listed. But that doesn't mean KTabS can't run on CrossOver Mac - it does mean that KTabS on CrossOver Mac is not supported by Codeweaver. Nevertheless, I have had good success with KTabS on CrossOver Mac.

I installed both the trial version of KTabS and the KTabS Reader on both of my Macs. They seem to work perfectly, so far. One of the nice things about the Reader is that you simply have to click on a file with the "ktb" extension; the reader will be loaded, the file opened and played. Once the Reader is open, you can open and close files as you would in any Mac or Windows program. My next project is to fully test the main KTabS program by creating tablature for a song - but just by having the KTabS reader gives me access to the full power of all the tablature available online.

The best way to start your primary install of KTabS is by looking at this tutorial on Codeweaver's web site. My advice is to be patient in the installation, especially at the very end, after you clicked on "Install". You can watch the progress of loading all the components. Remember that the program is analyzing the Windows ".exe" file and is gathering the pieces of code that are needed to run it. It then puts all of that (including Darwine) into a bottle (a virtual Windows environment). Once installed, follow the instructions in the tutorial on how to run KTabS from the bottle. Crossover Mac will open the bottle and will pour the wine for you, i.e. load KTabS. (I love Mac humor!)

Just follow the instructions in the popup windows. There is a tutorial for creating a "Launcher" for KTabS. I use "Launchpad," which is the easiest way to open the KTabS programs. Remember that KTabS has to be loaded in a virtual environment each time you use it. It disappears when you close it; hence, it does not use space and system resources.

I am not in any way affiliated with Codeweavers, but highly recommend CrossOver Mac as a painless solution for running KTabS on your mac. If you are interested in learning about other solutions to running Windows on the Mac, look at these comparisons.


What is KTabS?

KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software) is a Windows program that is a super effective tool for learning and composing music on the kalimba. The full program is currently $30. You can get the KTabS Reader, an abbreviated version of KTabS that only plays existing KTabS music files (doesn't allow most edits or creating new files), for FREE. To download either version, go to the KTabS store.

KTabS also runs inside of Darwine, a virtual Windows operating system that can run on the Mac or under Linux - meaning that, if you know what you are doing, you can run KTabS on the Mac or under Linux.

There is a growing library of tunes and exercises available in KTabS, much of it for free. Many of the Kalimba Magic Tips over the years include free KTabS files, and you can purchase the KTabS files for the exercises and songs from the Kalimba Magic books for $5 from the KTabS website. Kalimba Magic also offers music downloads consisting of KTabS files and PDFs of the tablature.

If you are just getting started with KTabS, check out the KTabS Notebook, which provides an extensive Getting Started with KTabS section. You might also want to check out the KTabS FAQs.

The KTabS Notebook Archives