18 May 2018
Free Blank Tablature for Ten Different Kalimbas
Click, Save, Print, and Fill in Your Own Notes
You may or may not know that I invented kalimba tablature in 2004. My first kalimba student would take in my personal instruction well, but then when he went home, he would forget what I had taught him and would not be able to practice it. When I put marks indicating notes on a paper representation of his 15-Note Alto kalimba, he did not need to remember, and could pick up his kalimba each day and practice.
What marks did I use? The standard symbols for notes used in western staff notation work for me. You can use whatever you want.
It turns out that the tablature concept is quite extensible, and can cover a wide variety of kalimbas. I offer you blank sheets of this tablature for several types of kalimba, all for free. Enjoy!
KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software) implements my kalimba tablature concept, but this program is not currently working on most modern computers. The people who created KTaBS plan to extend KTabS into the future, and we'll keep you posted as these plans develop.
Below are little samples of the tablature for several different types of kalimba, including 8, 9, 11, 15, and 17 note models. When you click on the little images, or on the "Download PDF" buttons, you will access the PDFs for the blank tablature. Save this on your computer and print it out. You can make your own marks on the blanks, so you can notate the music you create yourself, and come back to it tomorrow and keep working on the same song. If you are savvy with computer or graphics, you can probably import these PDFs into your favorite graphics program and drop in your own note symbols.
The blank tablature is like an extended map of a kalimba or karimba. The relative lengths of the tines in the footer (the bottom of the tablature) represent the tuning of each instrument and will look exactly like the kalimba that the tablature is made for. This means when you look at your kalimba and look at the tablature's footer, the tine lengths should match. This makes it easier to transfer a note from your kalimba to the tablature and vice versa.
There are several new brands of Chinese-made 17-Note kalimbas. The instruments are very similar. The tablature here displays six painted tines, and this is how the tablature appears in our three eBooks for the 17-Note kalimba.
If you choose to paint your tines the way April Yang does in her demonstrations with five painted tines, you can use the "Treble Kalimba Tablature" (see below).
The blue columns in the tablature represent the five painted tines on the Treble kalimba, and the thick black line represents a logical break between the left and right sides of the instrument. (This tine-painting scheme is what April Yang uses in her YouTube demonstrations of 17-Note in C with five painted tines and not the six painted tines that I use in my 17-Note materials.)
This tablature will not work for Bb or D Trebles, which have different tines painted.
I obviously did not supply tablature for every single kalimba. If your favorite kalimba was not included, feel free to contact me and make your request known.
If you have any doubts about the utility of kalimba tablature, or you don't quite understand how to use it, watch this video and see how the tablature on the left translates into music played on the kalimba on the right.