15 November 2018

"Forgiveness" - A Song for You To Learn on Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Free Tablature for Alto Kalimba and 17-Note Kalimba in C

I write this blog post as a gift to the five people who have asked for the tablature.

I made a video of this song a few months ago to demo the 17-Note Heart Kalimba in C, but I wrote the song about 15 years ago. Originally, it was called "Chorale," and I wrote it originally on piano, as a love song for my sweetie, Deb.

The first 16 measures were included in my first kalimba book "Kalimba Fundamentals for the Alto Kalimba" under the name "Chorale." A longer version was included in the "Advanced Alto Download."

Are you wondering why I call this song "Forgiveness" now, and not "Chorale"?


Here is why. I've done a lot of things in the last three years that I am not particularly proud of. I left Deb, my wife of 10 years, and it was very painful for both of us.

While Deb and I are not moving toward getting married again, we have both come a long way toward having a workable friendship. There is caring and gentleness and a love that is growing again between us. A lot of work has gone toward repairing hurts from the past.

And so, this song too has been reborn with the name "Forgiveness." By the way, this arrangement is superior to the earlier published versions, and exactly tracks the video you are likely listening to right now. And the BEST part? This one is FREE, at least for the Alto and the 17-Note Kalimba in C:

Forgiveness 17C
Click to download PDF tablature for 17-Note Kalimba in C.

I have always liked red paint on the tines of the (17 note) Treble, Bb treble, and now, the 17-Note Heart Kalimbas in C. And I have always preferred blue paint on the Alto kalimbas.

Forgiveness Alto
Click to download PDF tablature for the Alto Kalimba.

The song "Forgiveness" uses a lot of chords. A chord is two or more notes played at the same time, and you can see four different four-note chords in measure 2 of the tab above. At least in these four chords, one note is played by one thumb, and three notes are played by the other thumb. Those three notes will be played with the glissando technique, in which you touch the lowest of the three notes with your thumb nail, and then slide the nail over the three tines to be played. Having a bit of extra length to your thumb nail helps a lot with this move. (I prefer about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch of thumb nail beyond the thumb flesh.)


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.

Comments (7)

  • Gaye Engeman

    Gaye Engeman

    22 November 2018 at 23:07 |
    You are such a nice person. I know because you sent me the correct music for my Tracey Hughes just as a kind gesture. I really thank you. I am at the moment practicing the chords in twinkle,twinkle little star. I love my Kalimba so much. I am looking forward in receiving my Christmas book and CD. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I love listening to you playing forgiveness. I hope one day I can play like you. ?Gayle Engeman


    • Karen Vaage

      Karen Vaage

      26 January 2019 at 00:00 |
      I agree completely Gaye Engman he is one of the nicest people. And I hope one day to play like him or close.


      • Sharon


        30 January 2019 at 21:27 |
        I totally agree. I was so pleasantly surprised at how quickly he responded, and also talked ot me on the phone regarding my order. I called for a simple request before he mailed out my order and he picked up right away and was glad to help.


  • Chrissie


    01 December 2018 at 13:29 |
    I had never heard of a kalimba until I saw an ad on my computer about 2-3 weeks ago, and thought how wonderful that something so simple looking might be used to create such beautiful sound. The ad had a 'buy one get six' title, and when I opened it, of course it wasn't as stated, but I did order two; one for myself and one for my husband.

    He had a stroke nearly 22 years ago, can't work and has pretty much given up on living after more but smaller strokes this summer have left him partially blind in both eyes, and then falling and getting a concussion leaving him unable to do much without assistance. I thought if I got them, perhaps even just strumming them might lift his spirits...and getting 2 at the same time, I could learn and encourage him. Well, the company was worse than I thought, only sent us one, but it seems OK...and I turned to YouTube to try to find out what more we could do with it, since the 'playbook' had all of 2 songs in it. So, for what I payed for 'supposedly' two Kalimbas, I can get another elsewhere, and when I can save up the funds, I likely will, but in the meantime, wanting to learn, I came across your YouTube of this song.

    As I have had anger towards the person or persons who cheated us on the Kalimba, as I've been angry at people who have left our lives because of MY service dog, This song has meaning for me. I know you put it up with this title because of personal pain, but it also is a blessing to we who are hearing it. Forgiveness. Forgive to live...thanks for the reminder today. Blessings to you. December 1, 2018. Thank you!


    • Mark


      01 December 2018 at 18:28 |
      Oh Chrissie - bless you!
      For your husband - I would recommend the 10-Note Heart Kalimba - the tines are larger, wider, and easier to pluck individual tines... and the tuning is compatible with the 17 Note kalimbas. ((Or, if you already have the 10-Note, you might want to get the 17-Note for yourself, as there is more music it can do -- such as THIS SONG. You are welcome. -Mark


  • Deb McCary

    Deb McCary

    02 December 2018 at 13:51 |
    Mark you play this instrument beautifully. I somehow got sucked into buying 17 key kalimbas for my grand daughters (7&8 yrs old) thru Facebook. The kalimbas are fine and they came with the note stickers but I need a book that my littles can follow to learn to play. Can you please help me?


  • Shelley Mount Sargur

    Shelley Mount Sargur

    16 December 2018 at 12:59 |
    lovely song! Thank you for sharing Mark.


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