Articles tagged with: Treble Kalimba

23 November 2018

How Should I Paint the Tines on My 17-Note Kalimba?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

And what books should I get for my 17-Note Kalimba?

How Should I Paint the Tines on My 17-Note Kalimba?

When Hugh Tracey started making his 17-Note Treble kalimbas in South Africa in 1954, the instruments had one out of every three tines painted, on each side of the kalimba. These Treble kalimbas ended up with five painted tines, in the key of G, with the low note being B.

Now, a new crop of 17-note kalimbas from China has surfaced under names such as Gecko, Donner, and Walter kalimbas. They are all in the key of C. So while looking exactly like the Treble Hugh Tracey kalimba, they are in a different key, which changes everything. These kalimbas come unpainted with decals for marking the tines, and the manufacturers recommend marking five tines - which is the exact Treble painting scheme. But this can be a problem and here is why:

Tine painting defines how a person learns to play a kalimba and tremendously eases the process of learning songs from kalimba tablature.  Hugh Tracey's Treble kalimba is in the key of G and has its own unique tine-painting layout. But you cannot use Treble instructional materials with your 17-note in C. In order for you to take advantage of the vast offering of Kalimba Magic books, instructional downloads and hundreds of songs that are applicable to the 17-note in C (including all downloads for the 10-note kalimba, 66 Songs for the 17-Note, plus the entire body of Alto kalimba literature) - the Treble's five-tine painting scheme will simply not work. 

By using the six-tine painting scheme outlined in this post, your 17-note becomes part of a world of song instruction, help, and community at your fingertips.

02 December 2018

The Big Four Kalimba Playoff: Silent Night

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Compare: 10-Note Heart, 17-Note Heart, Hugh Tracey Alto, and Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimbas

The Big Four Kalimba Playoff: Silent Night

I have just finished "Easy Christmas" ebooks for each of four of my best selling kalimbas. Part of every ebook is the sound recordings for each song. So, I have a great data set for comparing these four popular kalimbas, side by side.

28 November 2018

Easy Christmas Music for Treble Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

All your holiday favorites, arranged for the Hugh Tracey Treble in G

Easy Christmas Music for Treble Kalimba

This collection of Christmas favorites has been arranged specifically for the Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba in G. We started with a set of generic arrangements, but refined several of them so all the songs are comfortable and easy to play on the 17-Note Hugh Tracey Treble kalimba.

I have been playing Christmas Carols on the kalimba for 20 years. Not only is it a fine way to learn your kalimba, working on songs you already know. It is also a fantastic way to cultivate feelings of joy and gratitude during the lead-up to the holiday season. It is also a great way to share joy with other people in your life.

This 59-page PDF download with clickable links to MP3 files has tablature for 32 different versions of 28 different carols. This book has enough easy songs to have you playing carols right away, and it has enough complex songs to keep you learning and playing carols each holiday season for years!

26 November 2018

What Colors Are Available for Painting Kalimba Tines?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

a profusion of possible colors!

What Colors Are Available for Painting Kalimba Tines?

Come with me for a moment, to stand behind Hugh Tracey, circa 1952. For years before he began selling his kalimbas, Dr. Tracey worked at perfecting a new kalimba invention, creating over 100 prototypes, experimenting with various design features. When he finally settled on what worked and sounded best for his Treble kalimba, he had really accomplished a tremendous feat. Hugh Tracey kalimbas still look almost exactly as they did in 1954, when he started selling them to the world, and many kalimba makers across the globe copy the Hugh Tracey Treble design. Hugh Tracey's work is the standard by which modern kalimbas are judged.

One very significant change that Dr.Tracey made to traditional African instruments was to paint every third tine on his kalimba. Why? To help you find your way on its 17 otherwise indistinguishable tines.

Hugh Tracey kalimbas generally come with just RED or BLUE painted tines. But Kalimba Magic offers you LOTS MORE CHOICES...  including BLACK and _______.

15 October 2018

Why Are Some of the Tines Colored?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

The Top Five Reasons Why

Why Are Some of the Tines Colored?

My idea of kalimba playing perfection is being able to know exactly where every tine is on my kalimba without looking. To be able to leap across from one side to the other, or to be able to jump large intervals from a low tine to a high tine... perfectly! To be able to play amazingly, quickly, accurately, and crisply, all by feel and memory.

Ah, it's a lovely dream. But after playing for 32 years, I still like to rely on visual cues to help me keep my place and find my way on the kalimba.

This blog post describes five different ways in which painted tines can help you play better kalimba.

24 September 2018

Christmas Music Resources

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements, Tips

If you want to perform some Christmas songs on kalimba, start now!

Christmas Music Resources

Over the years, we have created a lot of books, instructional materials, videos, and articles about playing Christmas music on your kalimba.

For your pre-pre-Christmas consideration, I have collected it all in one place for you. If you want to spend money, we have plenty of books and CDs for you to take advantage of. If you don't want to spend money, we have created a lot of free resources, and they are all listed here.

12 August 2018

Enjoy This Vintage Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This one plays just as nicely as it did in... oh, 1968? Yes, Virginia, old kalimbas can be made new again!

Enjoy This Vintage Hugh Tracey Treble Kalimba

In the 1960s, the Hugh Tracey Treble kalimba was “the thing.” It was new, it was fun, it sounded great.

Hugh Tracey’s sons, Andrew and Paul, both learned to play and love the Treble kalimba. In fact, while Hugh was working on creating this hybrid instrument in Africa before anyone in the world was making commercial kalimbas, he sent Paul one of his first prototype kalimbas while Paul was at boarding school back in England. Hugh admonished Paul not to share this kalimba with anyone. It was top secret. And the kalimba that Paul received was constructed not of wood, but of aluminum! (Just like the aluminum cello of Albert Schweitzer.)

The entire boarding school knew that Paul had gotten a package from his father in Africa, and even the headmaster began to badger him: "SO, what did you get in that box from Africa?" And there sat 15-year-old Paul in his bedroom at night, quietly plucking his brand new, aluminum prototype kalimba’s tines, producing sweet and charming and exotic melodies and harmonies... and there wasn't a single person that he could share it with!

23 May 2018

Over the Rainbow

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Free Tablature for Alto, Treble, and Chromatic Kalimbas - and learn about the Secondary Dominant

Over the Rainbow

I never really understood the big deal about "The Wizard of Oz" when I was growing up. We had a black and white TV, and I remember in high school, a friend asked me "Hey, you know how when Dorothy lands in Oz, everything is suddenly in color?" I answered "No..." and suddenly realized part of why I had never gotten the movie! The music from this movie did not become a favorite part of my life as it did for so many.

But when you are a performing musician, it is not always about what pleases you most. In music, you also are playing for the audience. And I can tell you, no song succeeds in touching listeners' hearts quite like "Over the Rainbow" played on a tiny little music box (the kalimba).

29 April 2018

Did you buy an inexpensive Chinese-made 17-note kalimba in C? At a loss about finding a book to help you learn?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

OK - I can help you

Did you buy an inexpensive Chinese-made 17-note kalimba in C? At a loss about finding a book to help you learn?

Long before Kalimba Magic started writing books for the Hugh Tracey kalimba and touting the advantages of Hugh Tracey kalimbas, there was trouble afoot. A Pakistani company had started to make poor quality copies of the 17-note Hugh Tracey kalimbas. They cost about 30% of what the Hugh Tracey kalimbas sold for, but the company advertised that "tuning doesn't matter” – their instruments basically came untuned. So I really didn't have to worry all that much about the competition. Yes, people would still buy these cheap kalimbas, and they got more or less what they paid for.

Lately, however, a new 17-note Treble copy has sprung up from China. These instruments are a bit different, in large measure because they are well-tuned. Did you acquire a 17-note kalimba made in China, but cannot find any kind of instructional materials? Well, there is a ton of help for you, you just need to be aware of a difference in tuning that we will guide you into handling with ease.

18 June 2017

"Edelweiss" for G, B flat, and D Trebles

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

We provide free tablature, for all three Treble Kalimba setups, of both simple and advanced versions of the famous song

The song Edelweiss from "The Sound of Music" is a perfect little melody for the Treble kalimba. The first three notes of the song soar up beyond the root note to the 9th. You could play this song on an Alto, and you would have to do it in the lower octave of the instrument. You shouldn't, though, because it sounds so beautiful when played higher up, on the Treble. The standard G Treble and the Bb Treble both have a few notes above the top root note - in other words, these kalimbas were built for melodies like Edelweiss that go "over the top."

22 June 2017

Spotify Playlists with Cool Songs in G, B flat, and D

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Chill, Listen to the playlist that matches your kalimba key, and jam along!

Spotify Playlists with Cool Songs in G, B flat, and D

My life changed when I lost my record turntable 20 years ago - I basically stopped listening to music. For me, this turned out to be a good thing, because the music-generating radio station "KMRK" started broadcasting 24 hours a day inside my head. I am always creating new music, or recycling and recomposing Katy Perry.

But that isn't the point of this post. Rather, I have discovered Spotify (maybe late to the party, but better late than never!) And I have rediscovered my love of listening to recorded music (as opposed to the stuff that grows like weeds in my cerebral cortex).

I love to hit a big juicy playlist with a kalimba in my hands. The only trouble is, most of the songs in the playlist will not be in the same key as my kalimba. And so I am very familiar with the NEXT SONG button.

19 June 2017

Understanding G, B flat and D Treble Kalimbas

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Have you ever wanted to get clear on the differences between the various treble kalimbas?

Understanding G, B flat and D Treble Kalimbas

One of my best contributions to the kalimba world (in my humble opinion) is the concept of the Bb and D Treble kalimbas. These are alternative ways of structuring the standard G Treble to make it more like the Alto kalimba, but pitched higher. Making a Treble kalimba more like an Alto makes the Treble easier to play and simpler to understand. The Alto's note layout is more logical, and any song that you can play on the Alto can be played on the Bb or D Trebles, so any instructional resource for Alto can be used for these two Treble tunings, and there are more resources for Alto than for any other kalimba.     

 

24 June 2017

How the B flat Treble Kalimba Got Its Stripes

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

A "Just So" Story, with thanks to Rudyard Kipling

How the B flat Treble Kalimba Got Its Stripes

My very first kalimba was a Treble. I had actually just come from a friend's house who had an Alto, and we'd all played the Alto and loved it - but when I went to the drum shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts back in 1986, they only had the Treble, with the 3rd note of the scale in the lowest tine (and not the root note, as in Altos). I bought it, but somehow I never really bonded with the instrument. A few years later, I got an Alto kalimba, and it was like day and night! I understood the Alto, with the root note as the lowest tine, and its range of exactly two octaves. (That is, the lowest note was "Do" of "Do Re Mi", and the highest note was also "Do", two octaves up.) With the Alto kalimba now in hand, my Treble was set aside. It eventually went to live with a friend, while I developed my long love affair with the Alto kalimba.

19 June 2017

Repetitive Patterns: Creating Music with Kalimbas in Different Keys

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Playing unmatched kalimbas in succession can make beautiful and unusual music

Repetitive Patterns: Creating Music with Kalimbas in Different Keys

Why do people acquire kalimbas in different keys? To be able to support specific songs they or others sing, or to be able to play with other musicians with flexibility. Sometimes people buy a kalimba in some particular key just because they really love its sound.

But can you use kalimbas in different keys together? By creating a simple song that uses different-keyed kalimbas, not played together but in succession, yes you can! 

 

28 December 2016

Songs for the Karimba: Building a Karimba Song

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Learn this technique and write your own songs

Songs for the Karimba: Building a Karimba Song

The African-tuned karimba is a very interesting instrument.  Jega Tapera was a South African who played traditional music on a 13-note karimba, a historical folk instrument.  In the 1950s he was discovered by Andrew Tracey, who recognized his excellence, and Tapera subsequently began teaching at the Kwonangoma School in Rhodesia, where the 15-note version of the African-tuned karimba came into being in 1960 to further Tapera's music.  In 1980 the 17-note version was first made by Tracey's South African company, African Musical Instruments, which still sells Hugh Tracey kalimbas today.

Based on much scholarly research, Andrew Tracey put forth a very interesting theory that the karimba is very close to the "original mbira" in southern Africa, dating back over a thousand years, and that the traditional songs still played today on the karimba have roots that are equally ancient.

I find the karimba to be a great instrument, one that "speaks the African tongue."  It is easy for me to create my own African-sounding music just by following a few simple rules.  I'll share some of those with you here.

26 December 2016

Songs for the Treble Kalimba - "Silent Night"

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Free Tablature for "Silent Night" for the Treble Kalimba

Songs for the Treble Kalimba -

In my mind, most songs that you can play on the Treble kalimba are also possible to play on the Alto kalimba, and this offers great flexibility.  But there are some songs that are written for Alto that require its low notes and are just not possible on the Treble which by nature is in a higher range.  You could retune the Treble into a Bb Treble, and then it would behave just like an Alto with two extra notes.

But there is one (very famous) song that I don't think can be done properly on either the Alto kalimba or the Bb Treble kalimba - it requires the high notes of the Treble kalimba in standard G tuning, and that song is "Silent Night."

14 November 2016

What kalimba plays the songs on Top 40 Radio?

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

I've been jamming out on kalimba... playing along with Top 40 Radio!

What kalimba plays the songs on Top 40 Radio?

I was very disappointed on election night a couple weeks ago, as I am sure many of you were as well. Leading up to the election, I had taken to listening to more and more news and analysis, mostly on NPR and Democracy Now, and when I saw the writing on the wall, I decided I needed to take a huge break from the news. So now, when I drive somewhere, or when my clock radio wakes me up, I listen to a local Top 40 / variety radio station (92.9 FM if you are in Tucson).

To my surprise, and for the first time in my life, I love pop music! And I have been playing along with the radio on my kalimbas. I've been having a lot of fun, and I thought that it would be useful to many people if I shared the keys of these songs and what kalimbas will play in those keys.

 

04 November 2016

LimbaTrip in Japan

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Yohei Kisanuki plays some of the best Chromatic Kalimba in the world!

LimbaTrip in Japan

When Kalimba Magic gets an order for an instrument and we ship it out, we have no idea if this kalimba will sit in its box unused for years, or if it will become the recipient's new best friend, accompanying him or her on daily journeys and sharing beautiful music for years.  I hope the latter, of course.  It is always nice to see when someone does really well with their kalimbas.

I recently learned of the great kalimba artist Yohei Kisanuki through YouTube.  I was particularly impressed by his ease in playing the Treble Chromatic kalimba, and thought that this man may be the best chromatic player in the world.

I invite you to check out some of his kalimba videos, especially if you play chromatic.