01 August 2018
Free Tablature: SaReGaMa's Freygish Song
This will help you learn this challenging karimba solo
Do you know SaReGaMa's story? He received a Hugh Tracey Karimba as a gift, but it was out of tune, so he started inventing his own tunings. Every few weeks, he would change the notes on the karimba, until it played the kind of music he wanted to play just then. He would play the karimba in its new tuning for a few days and become comfortable with it. Then, he would record and videotape an improvisation on that new karimba tuning.
That is how we got SaReGaMa Lotus, Air, and Freygish tunings.
If you have a Freygish-tuned karimba, I have a treat for you!
I have one customer who has sent me a near-despondent email about twice a year asking if they will ever be able to learn how to play SaReGaMa's song (listen to it in the video below) on the Freygish Karimba. He even went so far as to write out the first several measures of the song in KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software) himself, but he got stuck and couldn't figure out the rest.
Little by little, I have been sitting down, listening carefully, going back again and again, figuring out the notes SaReGaMa was playing on his YouTube composition, then writing those notes into KTabS, and sending my incremental progress out in a little trail, like bread crumbs. But now, I have written out the notes for the first 3 minutes of this complex 5-minute song. I am not done, and it will probably be five or six hours more for me to finish - meaning, look for the full tablature for the Freygish karimba in a few months, probably after New Year's. However, as people are waiting to learn this piece, the partially completed tablature is being presented to the community of Freygish karimba players, with a promise for the rest to come, soon-ish. As soon-ish as possible.
The appearance of kalimba tablature may sometimes be surprising. This isn't true of every song, but many of the best songs will show up as beautiful and orderly geometrical patterns in the tablature. The tablature of SaReGaMa's Freygish song has some very nice patterns that look mysteriously pleasing.
Several features help you keep track of where you are and how to play the music. The changing tempo is indicated as numbers on the left side of the tab. The numbers to the right of the bar lines are sequential measure numbers. The time (of that spot) in the YouTube video is referenced by numbers on the right side of the tab.
If you have a Freygish-tuned karimba, just download the tablature PDF and get going. We also have made the KTabS file available (see the links at the bottom of the blog post).
If you have a karimba that is tuned in another way, you can actually put it into Freygish tuning (the tuning is specified in the footer of the tablature at the bottom of each page)... but you will be advised to take your karimba apart, rearrange the tines to match long tines to low notes and short tines to high notes, reassemble, and retune. As the process is a bit involved, you might prefer to use the Kalimba Doctor service, which will retune your kalimba for $10 plus return shipping.
If you really like Freygish music, you might want to consider getting a Freygish Karimba, downloading this challenging song, and purchasing the Freygish download, which has tons of great music. And of course, stay tuned! By the time you learn how to play the first 3 minutes of this music, I might even have the rest of the song figured out.
KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software) is the software that produces the kalimba tablature. We have not been talking about KTabS much, or giving away "raw" KTabS files in recent years, as KTabS had problems running on Windows 10 - but the solution to that problem is pretty simple. You can run the vintage KTabS program if you set it to run in "compatibility mode." So, yes, you will be able to get KTabS and "play" the tablature on your Windows 10 computer, with the free KTabS reader. Also, if you get the full KTabS program, you can also edit or add to the tablature (as well as create your own tablature) that I am presenting today. (See elsewhere in this newsletter for more about KTabS and running it in a Windows 10 computer.)
By the way, one recent happy customer who purchased a Freygish Karimba writes:
I thought that you’d like to know that the Freygish arrived safe and sound at my door this afternoon, and it has been plugged into my amp, making gorgeous music. It’s in good hands, Mark, and the only problem is I can’t stop playing and need to get to sleep already. The tuning of this Freygish is just what I wanted. I bought one of the Chinese Kalimbas before I discovered your site, and I like it very much, but would have preferred one of yours. I’m hoping that as I become more accomplished and relaxed that I will be delighted to purchase another one from you.