Use the coupon code Chromatic40 to save 40% on all four of our chromatic kalimba models. Code good through Oct 31 2023.
Let’s celebrate the four different types of Hugh Tracey Chromatic Kalimbas we have been selling. These have the chromatic notes on the back side, played by the fingers. The diatonic notes are on the front side, and you play these with your thumbs. We have four models:
(solid body -or- box body) X (Treble -or- Alto).
The board-mounted kalimbas are also called “celeste” models. So, expanding the products: we have the box-mounted treble chromatic kalimba, the board-mounted treble chromatic kalimba, the box mounted alto chromatic, and the board-mounted alto chromatic. “Treble” also means “17-Note” on the front. By the way, the Treble Kalimba (not the chromatic version) is the model from which all other 17-Note kalimbas were copied. The “Alto” models are lower pitched.
All chromatic kalimba models come with electronic pickups. Treble kalimbas have the 17-Note / 4mm tines, Alto kalimbas have the wider 15-Note / 5mm tines. The Alto is larger and plays a low note of G below middle C. The Treble is smaller (even though it has more tines), and has a low note of middle C.
Understanding the Chromatic Kalimba With Notes in the Back
Sharon Eaton describes and demonstrates how the Chromatic Kalimba works.
Oh – Why Would You Want a Chromatic Kalimba?
Most kalimbas are diatonic – they only have the notes in the major scale – “Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do”… and extensions going higher up or lower down on that scale. Some kalimbas are tuned to even more restrictive scales, like the pentatonic kalimbas (“Do Re Mi — So La — Do”, for example).
The diatonic kalimba can play a great many songs, but without the chromatic notes – the “black notes” on the piano – there are a great many songs (“The Entertainer”, “Over the Rainbow”, “When I’m 64”) that you cannot play.
The chromatic kalimba gives you all the notes over a two octave range, permitting you to play a great many more songs.
The chromatic kalimba will play most easily when playing in its natural key – that is, the key of the front side notes. Then you will sometimes use the back side notes, but not often.
However, a different use of the chromatic kalimba is to play in any key. If the front side plays in C, you can play in C# by using all the back side notes and a few front side. Or you can play in the key of D by using the F# and C# tines from the back side, and avoiding the F and C natural tines on the front side.
So, if you feel a bit limited on your diatonic kalimba, perhaps it is time to invest in the next step of the journey?
Are There Books for the Chromatic Kalimba?
This is one of the books I have intended to write for 10 years, but I have never accomplished it. But the answer to this question is not exactly “no” either.
For starters, if you just use the front side notes, it is a diatonic kalimba, and there are books to help you with that easy part.
Treble Chromatic Kalimbas use “17-Note Kalimba in C” Resources.
The front side of the Alto Chromatic Kalimba in G can be learned with the “Alto Kalimba” Resources.
If your Alto Chromatic is in the key of C (still with a low note of G) – there is a download for the “C-Tuned Alto” that works for your front tines. Note that this a a ZIP file – don’t attempt to download it to your phone, but you should be able to navigate this download on your computer, as Windows can see inside the ZIP file as if they were a folder.
And here is some more info about the Chromatic Kalimbas.
Kalimba Magic Closing in Spring 2024.
I will be retiring in spring 2024. At this time, Kalimba Magic does not have a buyer, so I am liquidating my stock of kalimbas and books.
Each week, I will be offering a different kalimba at a steep discount. If I don’t run out of that kalimba, I will have to come around later and offer an even steeper discount. But if I run out of a certain kalimba, I am out of that kalimba, and I won’t be getting any more of them. Sorry.
So, I invite you to purchase the kalimba of your dreams now, before they are gone, and before I am done with my business. Or, I invite you to sit around and wait for the deals to get even better somewhere down the line.
Kalimba Magic – Since 2005
When I started Kalimba Magic in 2005, I never expected it would end. I was just living my joy, and sharing it with the world. Writing books to show the world how to play, and writing blogs and making videos. Giving lessons and presentations on the kalimba, karimba, and mbira. It was all a blast.
But things change. I cannot persist in the current business climate, dominated by inexpensive Chinese-made kalimbas and cut-throat competition in which my books and website have been pirated to benefit others.
I’m on my way out. I am closing my doors in 4-6 months. We will continue hosting and selling instructional kalimba downloads. We may partner with other kalimba sellers. But we will be done with shipping.
This is a shame, because Kalimba Magic offers a great many unique kalimba styles and tunings, and most of them have high quality instructional materials. For over a decade, Kalimba Magic dominated the kalimba ecosystem online. But at this point, I cannot keep up.
It has been a privilege, and usually, a joy, to serve the Kalimba Community. It isn’t quite time for “over and out” – but I’m getting there.
Blessings, and Thank You!
Mark Holdaway // Kalimba Magic // Tucson AZ // October 21 2023