26 April 2016

A Fantastic Instructional Download for the Sansula

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The C Major Sansula Tuning has always been beautiful - and now it is accessible!

Kalimba Magic sansulas are normally sold in the A Minor tuning, which produces music of an enchanting, mystical and melancholy nature. I created the C Major sansula tuning in 2011 in response to a customer’s request for a sansula in C.  I love this tuning; it is simply happy and positive, potentially majestic and even euphoric. I am often struck by how easy it is for the C Major sansula to produce music of great simplicity and beauty. If something gorgeous happens in the midst of my time spent with it, I take careful notes (whenever i come up for air!).

The C Major sansula book, a downloadable PDF, covers some of what this delightful instrument can do. With 48 pages and 32 original compositions and exercises written just for this tuning, this book gives you enough material to occupy you for many months as you improve your sansula skills. Included among these compositions are the two YouTube videos I have made with the C Major tuned sansula and the C Major tuned kalimbula.

 

The C Major Sansula Instructional Download will work for any of the sansulas (or the kalimbula), but to do that, you will have to negotiate the retuning of your sansula into C Major. This is not difficult to accomplish and you can do it on your own. (See link to discussion on retuning the sansula in Related Articles, below.) Sansulas in several tunings are also available at Kalimba Magic, including the C Major tuning (I think we may be the only people in the world to offer this tuning). We can also retune your existing sansula as part of our "Kalimba Doctor" services.

What's special about the C Major sansula tuning?

  • The root note C is the lowest note.  This makes it easy to return to the root note while playing, and it's more apt to sound great even if you're just wandering around on the instrument. Plus, because it's so comfortable for the thumb to keep coming back to playing the low note in prominent places in the music, it creates harmonic stability, and just sounds good. This reinforces you to do it again.
  • The C Major tuning has a 6-note scale - like the major pentatonic scale with the 4th (F) added.
  • Five of the nine tines need to be retuned by one, two, or three half steps, which is still a modest retuning.
  • The roots of the I, IV, and V chords (C, F, and G) are conveniently located in the middle of the kalimba.
  • Octave pairs D and E are located symmetrically on the instrument. 
  • Some lovely, simple melodies like to go up to the 3rd of the scale (E), which is the highest note, and that's good for the same reasons discussed in the first item on this list.
  • The instrument is missing the B, which is the 7th of C (the 7th is the leading tone which builds tension and helps bring the music home). As G, the V or dominant in C, is missing its 3rd, the power of the dominant is greatly reduced. However, the IV chord, or F, is strengthened. This gives the music a certain slant.
  • I find the C Major Sansula tuning to be uplifting, with a dose of triumph. A beautiful feeling! This all affects the type of music you play on this tuning.

Below is one of the more advanced lessons, "A Great Pattern", which is made from very simple left and right thumb patterns.  When the simple left and right patterns are combined, an unexpectedly rich melody and chord progression emerges.  The audio strip below the tablature contains the MP3 download for this lesson. Isn't kalimba music so cool?

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.

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