Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Shortening Note Duration on the Alto

Lisa asked: Do you have a way that you mute the tines while playing? I like the way they sustain through the spaces most of the time, but I'm noticing that sometimes the sound can become dissonant if two disagreeing notes meet up with each other a few seconds after I played the first one. Also, I'm learning the song "Bustu M'Tandari" and I'm finding that my playing sounds a little sloppy compared to yours because of this.

Lisa, you don't have a Karimba, do you? "Bustu Mtandari" is a traditional Karimba piece available in our 10 Traditional Karimba pieces Download - but I have also translated these pieces to the ALTO Kalimba, which is probably what you're working on.

I play "Bustu Mtandari" on the Karimba, but have never actually played it on the Alto, only translated the piece to Alto, making notes or alternatives where the playing is difficult. This piece is really easy on the Karimba, while the Alto's note layout makes it more difficult. But I sell about 20 times more Alto Kalimbas than Karimbas, so the Alto translation is a good thing. But I think the Alto resonates longer than the Karimba.

Here are some ways to modulate the Alto's sound: