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Mark Holdaway

Hugh Tracey Kalimbas for Any Key – Oh, and Paint Colors

In another post I made today, I play “I Can See Clearly” on three different diatonic kalimbas. Why? The song is chromatic, requiring notes that aren’t on the first kalimba. Now, many kalimba players won’t need to venture beyond the key of C. But if you play kalimba long enough, you will not only come up against the limitations of that one key… you will also be looking for a way to transcend those limitations. One way is to have kalimbas in different keys. Covering all 12 keys on self-similar kalimbas. Alto Kalimba: F, F#, G, G#. Bb Treble: A, Bb, B, C. D Treble: Db, D, Eb, E. The

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Mark Holdaway

“A Middle Eastern” Tuning for the Moon-10 Kalimba

Several customers have been asking me for a Middle Eastern tuning for the Moon-10 Kalimba. The result is the “Morocco A” tuning, “A Middle Eastern” tuning, or the “Desert Moon”. And I must admit, the result is magical. Watch the video to check for yourself! “A Middle Eastern” or “A Morocco” Tuning for the Moon-10 The Scale This is a 6-note Middle Eastern scale (A=1, Bb=2-, C#=3, D=4, E=5, G=7-). (If you are not up on the notation: 1, 2, 3 are the “degrees of the major scale”. “3” is the major 3rd. “2-” is a flat 2nd, just a half step above the root note or “1”. “7-” is

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

What Notes Are on the “17-Note Kalimba in C”

One of my customers asks: “Inside the Treble Kalimba booklet, there’s a picture of the kalimba tines and the notes written out on a musical staff. Is there such a picture available for the 17 note kalimba in C?” The staff doesn’t indicate what clef this is, but it is obviously Treble Clef. How would you know? Well, the low note, C on the kalimba, shows up as “Middle C” on the staff notation, indicating this is indeed Treble Clef! I suppose I will need to insert this into my next edition of the 17-Note C books. But perhaps a more important question is: “Why don’t I write books in

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Mark Holdaway

Comparing Different 17-Note Kalimbas in C

We have comparative video and audio of the six models of 17-Note Kalimba in C that we sell at Kalimba Magic. Hugh Tracey Treble (tuned to C), Hugh Tracey Celeste Treble (in C), the Heart-17 and Bamboo-17 kalimbas, the Hokema B17, and the Magadi M17. In my mind, they are all good instruments. The Hugh Tracey Treble, made in South Africa, has a special place in my heart, because I spent so many years playing it. I think it has the best “wah wah” response, a good sound and a great feel when you play it. Note that the Treble kalimba usually comes in the key of G, so if

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Mark Holdaway

A Lesson in Improvisation – 17-Note Kalimba in C

This lesson is for a 17-Note Kalimba in C. To get the most out of this lesson, have such a kalimba in hand. A Lesson in Improvisation – Dm and F Watch How I “Improvised” Along With This Simple F / Dm Backing Track I put quotes around “improvised” above because there are a lot of elements that were not improvised. I show you how to set up a steady pattern with your left thumb… and then how to improvise with your right thumb. Of course, everything you do on kalimba really requires both thumbs, so sometimes the left thumb has to leave its job as “support” and join in

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Still More Grab Bag Kalimbas!

This is the fourth installment of the “Grab Bag.” Over the last 16 years, I have collected way too many kalimbas. Some were, at one point, to be my personal instruments. Some were experiments. Some were just used for a recording or video project. Some were leftover when we stopped carrying that model. And some had defects. Over the next few years, I will be selling off the part of my collection that I don’t personally play. Of course, I will be keeping all of the great many kalimbas that I do play (sorry). If you would like any of these kalimbas, contact me directly. Shipping: add $10 domestic, $19

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Mark Holdaway

What is the difference between Alto Kalimba, Treble Kalimba, 17-Note Kalimba in C?

For starters, the Alto is bigger and lower, the Treble is smaller, and the 17-Note Kalimbas in C are the same size as the Treble kalimba. In the beginning, there were many traditional types of kalimba, all over Africa. These inspired Hugh Tracey to create the Treble Kalimba, based on several design elements of various traditional instruments. In 1954, Hugh Tracey started selling the 17-Note Treble Kalimba commercially. These kalimbas set the standard for what a “kalimba” is – a modern version of the traditional African instrument. When I asked Hugh’s son, Paul Tracey about it in 2005, he told me that the larger, lower 15-Note Alto kalimba was an

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Lotus Tuning on the M17 and B17 Kalimbas

What is the Lotus tuning about? This exotic tuning has its own music. Its own musical landscape. You don’t try to learn your favorite song on this tuning. You give yourself over to the logic of the lotus tuning. You swim within the oceans this kalimba tuning provides to you for free. Well, not quite for free, because the retuning and setup process takes us about half an hour, and we do charge a small fee for that. But it is worth it – we are experts at rearranging kalimbas, and we will make sure your Lotus-tuned B17 or M17 kalimba is playing at the top of its game.  

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

Classical Alto Available as a Download

This collection of 20 well-known classical tunes transcribed for Alto Kalimba has been available as a book for 12 years. Now it is available as a PDF download. The original book did not come with any sound recordings via CD or download. This PDF download has live links to web resident sound files. Click on them, and your web browser will play the song for you to hear how it goes. Once you learn to play the song, you can even play along, Our classical alto ebook includes: New World Symphony (Version 1) Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (Version 1) New World Symphony (Version 2) Brahm’s Lullaby (Version 1) Brahm’s

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