Little Bits of Music – Playing Scales 6

An example of a song that uses the A Minor Scale

A Box Lotus and a Regular Lotus Karimba

This series of tips is about scales and how useful they are for the kalimba player.

Really, this song lives in the A minor scale. It breathes the air and drinks the water of A minor. It knows the curves and twists of A minor, and it follows them. It is founded on the land of A minor.

OK – I like to be dramatic.

Do you remember the song “Those Were the Days, My Friend”? That is an example of a song that lives and breathes in a minor scale.


(By the way, the tablature here is for a 17-Note Kalimba in C, but the concept and even the tablature is the same for many other types of kalimbas.)

The opening line of the song is “Once upon a time there was a tavern” – and that line is reproduced in this tablature. Most of the notes are adjacent to each other in the scale. The melody goes from A up to D, and then comes back down to A.

This is common in melodies, to go up a bit, and then to go down a bit. It is very useful to practice going up a small scale segment, and then to come down. There are many shapes you can make, going down and up, or down a bit and up more. Experiment!

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