18 December 2015

Free Tablature - Learn "Carol of the Bells"

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Free PDF and KTabS Tablature for Alto, Treble, B flat Treble, and Chromatic Kalimbas

Free Tablature - Learn
Carol_Alto_P1R.jpg

"Carol of the Bells" is not only a beautiful song that is great to learn on the kalimba, it is also a strategic stronghold of kalimba technique. The basic music consists of two different parts played at the same time, which in this case is not that hard. If you can learn this song, you will be entering the marvelous world of playing two voices of music at the same time on kalimba. Not up for heavy lifting? Please enjoy the video of me performing "Carol of the Bells" on the Alto Kalimba.

"Carol of the Bells" sounds pretty fancy and can bring credibility to your playing. We make it easy for you to learn the two parts at once - we are giving away the tablature for the Alto Kalimba, the Treble Kalimba, the Bb Treble Kalimba, and the Chromatic Kalimba - see below for links. The very best thing about learning this song: the technique of playing two different parts at once is very powerful and doing the work to learn it can definitely help make you a better kalimba player.

Kalimba Lesson

Please refer to the the first page of the Alto tablature above.

The first part, shown in abbreviated form in measures 1-4, is the bass line. This part is actually easy. Familiarize yourself with it so you can play those first four measures with your eyes closed.

The second part, shown in measures 5-8, is a four note melody phrase that repeats over and over. This also is not difficult, but do familiarize yourself with it thoroughly.

Now comes the hard part. Measures 9-12 show what happens when we put the bass line together with the four note melody. The bass notes always come on the first beat of the measure, but sometimes are played by the left thumb and sometimes by the right thumb. You will have to go back and forth between doing a left thumb glissando that hits both the bass note and the first melody note, and playing the melody on the left and the bass note on the right side. An excellent exercise.

Free Downloads for Various Kalimbas

If you are not familiar with KTabS, see the note below.

Carol of the Bells - ALTO - PDF
Carol of the Bells - ALTO - KTabS

Carol of the Bells - TREBLE - PDF
Carol of the Bells - TREBLE - KTabS

Carol of the Bells - Bb TREBLE - PDF
Carol of the Bells - Bb TREBLE - KTabS

Carol of the Bells - Chromatic - PDF
Carol of the Bells - Chromatic - KTabS

This song is not in any of the Kalimba Christmas Carols books that I have written. If you do well with this piece, you are a good candidate for the Advanced Alto Carols Book or the Advanced Treble Carols Book or the Advanced Bb Treble Carols Download.

On the other hand, if this carol is too difficult for you, you might want to start with the easier book Christmas Carols for the Alto and Treble Kalimba.

KTabS, the Kalimba Tablature Software

KTabS, the Kalimba Tablature Software

KTabS is a great program for Windows computers that renders and animates Kalimba Tablature. KTabS is not a part of Kalimba Magic; it is independently owned by Sharon and Randy Eaton, who have provided me with a wonderful tool for creating kalimba music, and I do everything I can to support and promote KTabS.

You can download the KTabS Reader for free. It will play all of the KTabS files that we give away on the Kalimba Magic Website. What "play" means in KTabS is actually several things: you load the song into the KTabS Reader, and a map of your kalimba tines appears, along with notes indicating which tines you should play. When you click on the "play" button, KTabS highlights the notes and tines that need to be played. You will also hear those notes being played on your computer's speakers. The tablature becomes animated! This is an incredibly powerful way to learn kalimba music.

If you want to do more with KTabS - for example, modify a song, change the tempo, insert repeats, or even write your own music (and plenty of other great features) - then you need the full KTabS program for $30 from the KTabS Store.

Learn more about KTabS

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 (2)

  • KarenVaage

    KarenVaage

    15 January 2019 at 00:18 |
    Can I play this with a 1unote Kalimba in “ C” tuning too.

    reply

    • Mark

      Mark

      15 January 2019 at 13:19 |
      YES - if the 17 Note kalimba in C is painted with the 6-tine system is "reads" Alto tablature - you ignore the note names, but your thumbs go to the exact same tines.

      reply

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