Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Seek to Understand the Kalimba's Logic

The kalimba is an oddity. It is a thousand year old instrument with a rich African tradition, yet very few people who play kalimba are connected to traditional African music on the kalimba. Your kalimba is tuned in a specific way. In Africa, there are over a hundred ways to tune the kalimba, and each tuning is like an embedded teacher. So, even if you cannot find a teacher who will show you things, look to your kalimba to understand what is there, and your kalimba will teach you. Ask yourself: what is easy to do on this kalimba? The kalimba was designed to be simple, and those simple things will be the natural voice of your instrument and your kalimba teacher. Two very simple things to do on the kalimba are: - alternate left and right thumb strokes: L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R (don't worry about the notes, try this with just two notes, and then branch out as you gain understanding). - play several adjacent notes with the same thumb and see how the notes are layed out.