Stuck on How a Song in an eBook Should Sound? Listen to it!

All songs in our downloads and books come with sound files, and here’s exactly how to access them

This is the “sound icon” from our ebooks. When you click on the sound icon in an ebook, you will hear a recording of that song.


This morning, as I was playing kalimba and walking along the Tanque Verde wash, I answered a call from a customer who had bought the “44 Beginner Songs” ebook for the 17-Note Kalimba in C. She was so excited about progressing with the kalimba, her first musical success ever! She could read the tablature… but she said she didn’t play any of the songs that she wasn’t already very familiar with.

I quizzed her: “You do know that the ebook comes with sound files for each song, right?”

She did know that they were available, but didn’t know how to access them. And I realized that if she didn’t know how to get the sound files, there are very likely other people who need help. That help is here!

If you’re skilled at reading tablature, you can figure out songs you have never heard, and you will be able to play them just by following the instructions on the tablature. But what if you are not yet that skilled at playing from tablature? Or what if you just want to hear how that song should sound? After all, there is a lot of musical subtlety that is not notated in the kalimba tablature.

We have just what you need. A good part of the time I spend making educational books goes into recording songs so the reader can hear me play them. If you can hear how it is supposed to sound as you follow along with the tablature, this can help you a great deal in learning to play. As you get good, you can even play along with my recordings.

Some people aren’t getting those sound recordings. If you are one of those people, read on.

Books with CDs

I have been writing kalimba books since 2005. The first 15 books I wrote all came with a CD inserted in a jacket pasted to the inside cover of the book. The CD featured me playing the songs and exercises from the book.

CDs have long been a thing of the past. So Kalimba Magic has evolved.

Books with MP3 File Access

After CDs came several hard copy books with no CD. The hard copy version of “44 Beginner Songs,” “Playing the Lotus Kalimba,” and “About 30 Traditional African Karimba Songs” are all examples. If your hard copy kalimba book has no CD, it will have a URL, advertised in the front of the book, that you can type into your computer’s web browser. Once you are on that page, you can download the MP3 files for each of the songs or exercises in the book.

Old Style Zip Files

A few of our 50+ instructional kalimba downloads are still in the old ZIP format. If your download is in this format, it probably has MP3 files alongside the PDF files. Of course, take advantage of those.

“New style” PDF eBooks

Since 2016, I’ve been creating the “new style” PDF ebooks. These are typically full-length (40-100 pages) downloadable PDF files, displaying color images and graphics alongside the explanatory text and music tablature, and have live links scattered throughout. And there are also sound icons!

SoundIcon 1

Our “sound icon” is a black eighth note with three green sound waves radiating out from each side of it. If you click on sound icons in the ebooks, the PDF file will request that your web browser download and play the MP3 file. You will probably be requested to verify if is a trusted site. If you click “yes,” you will be served up the sound file in your web browser, and then you can hear exactly how the song is supposed to go.

I should warn you a bit here. When I record songs, sometimes I get carried away, and I add a few notes that weren’t in the original tablature. Or, as I repeat the segment of music over and over, I drift into new (and sometimes wonderful) variations. Just be aware of that in case you are trying to hear exactly what the tablature says… So, in the spirit of the creativity that manifests sometimes in the recordings, let the tablature be a teaching aid to you, a guidepost to help you on your quest to play amazing kalimba music. Internalize the music suggested by the tablature, and then let the music well up from within, and let your kalimba playing shine.

Oh – and pick up a few of our many kalimba ebooks to help you on your way to becoming the best kalimba player you can be.

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