Playing well Together: 10-Note and 17-Note Heart Kalimbas

A great pair of kalimbas for a beginner and an experienced player. Sweet video, too!

You Can Get a 10-Note / 17-Note Kalimba Pair

Yes, I have been making the point about the 10-Note and the 17-Note kalimbas for months: the lower notes (the 10 inner tines) on the 17-Note kalimba in C are an exact match to the notes of the 10-Note kalimba in C. One consequence: if playing on 17 notes is too hard, hide 7 of those tines and just play it as if it were a 10-Note, using the 10-Note downloads. Another consequence: if you get the 10-Note and do well with it, you can then buy the 17-Note kalimba and everything you learned on the 10-Note is immediately transferable to the 17-Note.

But today I am making a different point: if you are a mother, father, grandmother or grandfather, and you want to get a bigger kalimba for yourself and a simpler kalimba (which could be played together with yours) for your child or grandchild, I think the 10-Note and 17-Note kalimbas will make a great team for you and your special kalimba partner.


Well, well, well. And now, in this video (click below to hear it), I have actually turned the tables. The song is “Butterfly Tree” written by my bandmate Heidi Wilson. Anyway, that is me, Mark the kalimba master, playing the smaller, simpler 10-Note kalimba, and that is relative kalimba novice and kalimba tuner/packer Mike Ankomeus (also my bandmate) playing the 17-Note kalimba. 

You might have expected the master playing the larger kalimba. But not today. You see, the melody of “Butterfly Tree” is actually easier to play than the 10-Note accompaniment part. Mike knows that melody well because he plays it on trumpet in the band. So, novice and master switched places, and now master supports the novice.

I shouldn’t make promises concerning release dates for new downloads, as I have occasionally been remarkably wrong in the past. (The Chromatic Kalimba book I promised 3 years ago is still just a handful of sticky notes.) BUT it’s my intention to create a progressive instructional download with 20 duets arranged for both the 10-Note and the 17-Note kalimba, in early 2019. 

Until that book comes out, remember that you can use any of the 10-Note instructional materials for the 10 inner, lower notes of the 17-Note kalimba. This will get both players started on their journeys well in advance of the 10-Note/17-Note Duets release date. “Butterfly Tree,” the song we play for you in the video here, isn’t on our initial list of 20 duets, but it sure is a perfect song to help promote the 10-Note + 17-Note concept, isn’t it?

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