Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Kalimba Techniques
2: Glissando

Last week we learned that most kalimbas are set up so that adjacent tine pairs sound great played together. Most kalimbas are also tuned so that each adjacent tine triad will make a nice chord. But you will need to know a trick for playing all three notes at the same time, as your thumb nails will not be wide enough to play them simultaneously. That trick is called the glissando.

The glissando technique is used extensively on the harp and the piano. The player just drags his/her finger across several strings or keys. You can do the same thing on the kalimba.

Pick the longest tine of the three that you want to play, and touch that tine with the tip of your thumb nail. Drag your thumb nail across that tine and then over to touch the other tines you wish to play. The notes will not be at exactly the same time, but spread out in time. A glissando could have two, three, four, five, or even more notes in it!

Glissando on the Alto kalimba.

If YOU have a technique that you'd like to share, please send it in, and we may use it in this series of tips!