10 December 2018

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

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

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

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?

About the Author

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway has been playing kalimba for over 30 years.  He invented his kalimba tablature in 2004, and has been writing books and instructional materials for kalimba ever since.  His business, Kalimba Magic, is based on the simple proposition that the kalimba is a real musical instrument capable of greatness.  Mark's kalimba books are a down payment on this proposition.