Articles tagged with: KTabS

14 August 2019

Dots, Ties, and Triplets in Kalimba Tablature

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The notes of a song don't always stick to standard lengths. Here's how we indicate the unusual notes in tablature.

Dots, Ties, and Triplets in Kalimba Tablature

The standard types of notes last 1 beat, or 2 beats, or 4 beats... or going the other way, 1/2 beat, or 1/4 beat, or 1/8 beat. What if you want to play a note that lasts some other length, like three beats, or 3/4 of a beat?

There are two symbols in the standard notation system - dots and ties - that are used to modify the length of the basic note types to give you a note that lasts other lengths. In this post we elaborate on how longer composite notes are built with dots and ties, and how to play them.

21 June 2019

Mark's Rule of Thumb

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

OK - at the same time, play one note with your left thumb, and one with your right - and I'll show you how to make that sound great every time

Mark's Rule of Thumb

The kalimba is fundamentally a polyphonic instrument - meaning it plays multiple notes at the same time. It does have more limitations in its ability to play multiple notes than, say, piano or guitar. But those limitations on the kalimba also make it very easy to make some very pretty music  - for example, any two adjacent notes on one side will always harmonize. Three adjacent notes will always make some sort of triad, a sweet three-note chord.

But what about two notes on opposite sides of the kalimba? Will they sound good or bad when played simultaneously? It could go either way, but I have a very simple rule of thumb that will help you make sweet harmonies when playing notes or chords with both left and right thumbs.

21 June 2019

Chords on the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

And how to play melodies above them. This recipe works for any diatonic kalimba with alternating note layout

Chords on the 17-Note Kalimba in C


In an article I wrote earlier this month, I said that every non-traditional kalimba in the world owes its existence to Hugh Tracey. (Of course, they also owe their existence to the hundreds and thousands of people in Africa who pioneered and played the karimba, mbira and related instruments over the last 1000 years.) But most non-traditional kalimbas are copies of the Hugh Tracey kalimba's design and note arrangement.

That note arrangement makes it particularly easy to create melodies high up on the instrument, and simultaneously to produce good chords low down on the instrument that perfectly accompany that high melody. Would you like to learn more?

21 June 2019

Rests in Kalimba Tablature

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

What? Those squiggly lines are supposed to mean something?

Rests in Kalimba Tablature

There are going to be some really great kalimba players in the next 2-10 years. A lot of kids are getting into the kalimba, and some of them will study, and go off and work on kalimba on their own, and invent their own style, and then reappear on the world stage as master kalimba players. Cool! Go for it!

One budding young kalimba player has been avidly tearing up all of the instructional material we sell for the 17-Note kalimba in C... but when she didn't understand what those squiggly lines meant, we heard from her about it. Those squiggles are called "rests." Different rests come in different shapes, based on how long of a rest they indicate. And we explain all that here.

12 January 2019

Why Kalimba Tablature?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

And what about staff notation for a kalimba?

Why Kalimba Tablature?

Recently, Lilly wrote to Kalimba Magic:

"I am experienced with reading standard staff musical notation, and I don't really like the kalimba tablature, and I don't understand why you use it. Can I just read staff notation with my kalimba? Please give me the main advantage to using tablature to notate kalimba music."

Yes, Lilly, I think there are some really big advantages to using kalimba tablature rather than staff notation. Consider kalimba tablature to be my chosen way of expressing my 33 years of kalimba-playing experience to you. It is a doorway to my kalimba-playing thought process.

27 November 2018

Greensleeves and the Flexibility of Kalimba Tablature

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Using the universal language of tine painting, Your 15-Note Alto or 17-Note Kalimba in C can read 8-Note Tablature!

Greensleeves and the Flexibility of Kalimba Tablature

Two years ago, I made a video demonstration of my kalimba tablature (which I originally created in 2004 to facilitate learning and sharing music on kalimba), playing Greensleeves on the 8-Note kalimba. The illustration at the top of this article is from that video. Three of the kalimba's tines were painted red, and the three corresponding columns in the tablature were also colored red - the tablature is a replica of the kalimba, and each column represents a different tine.

What if you loved "Greensleeves" and wanted to play it on your 17-Note kalimba? Is it even possible to transfer music for one kalimba to a different one? Generally, you cannot play 17-Note kalimba music on an 8-Note kalimba; it just doesn't have all the notes you likely need. But you can generally do the opposite, which is to play 8-Note kalimba music on your 17-Note kalimba... if one crucial thing is true: that the 17-Note has tines painted in the same logical scheme. And this is possible even though the 17-Note is in C and the 8-Note is in D. Tine painting can make all things possible!

24 August 2018

KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software) Works in Windows 10!

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

You have to run it in compatibility mode

KTabS (Kalimba Tablature Software) Works in Windows 10!

Do you ever wonder how I create kalimba tablature? Those detailed, elongated maps of the kalimba with note symbols dancing on the tines? I use the Windows program KTabS - the Kalimba Tablature Software. This program changed my life, my productivity, and how the rest of the world learns and creates new kalimba music too!

KTabS is an old program, and for the last few years, the KTabS website indicated the program would not run on the most current Windows operating systems.

But the big news today: I heard from the creators and owners of KTabS, Randy and Sharon Eaton, that KTabS DOES run on computers running Windows 10 - you just have to run it in compatibility mode. Click through to learn how to do that... or to learn why you should have KTabS.

17 September 2016

Why Kalimba Tablature? Greensleeves!

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The tremendous assistance that kalimba tablature can provide in arranging and learning songs...plus a free CD or 25% coupon!

Why Kalimba Tablature?  Greensleeves!

I have a symbiotic relationship with kalimba tablature:  I work really hard to notate really wonderful music in tablature.  Through working on this tablature, I come to be able to play music that is more difficult and more polished than I would otherwise be able to perform.

I make kalimba tablature better, and kalimba tablature makes me better. 

To get your free Greensleeves tablature PDF, which will work for 8-Note, Alto, or Bb Treble kalimbas, click the image above.