Using Our 17-Note Materials for 21-Note Kaimbas

Hey, did you get a 21-Note Kalimba, only to discover that there aren’t any books for it?

The 21-Note Kalimba Tuning is typically just like the 17-Note Kalimba… with four extra notes in the middle, below the low C = 1.

People often think that this kalimba is in the key of F. However, to be in F, you would want to have Bb (B flat) notes, instead of B. So, what are those low F, G, A, and B tines doing right in the middle? Well, they are mainly used for harmony, chords, and accompaniment… all relatively advanced concepts. F is the 4 of the key of C, and G is the 5 of the key of C. These are very useful chords in the key of C (F = IV, G = V). But, when you are starting out, you will probably want to COMPLETELY IGNORE those low notes. They don’t sound that good anyway, as they are too low to resonate well with the kalimba.

Here is a tip to help ignore them: put a piece of tape on them, or a sticky note that is cut to just cover up those four notes. Or even shift them over a bit so they are all touching in the middle. This will remind you to not play them.

One good thing: the folks who make the 21-Note Kalimbas recommend you paint the lowest tine. That is exactly how I would do it, because then the upper 17 tines are painted just the way I paint them… which means the 21-Note Kalimba, painted thusly, will work with the extensive library of materials I have created for the 17-Note Kalimba.


Resources For the 17-Note Kalimba in C

What About the 21-Note Kalimba?

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