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Blog
Mark Holdaway

“How do I hold the tablature to read it?” Plus: Get Free Stuff for Being Smart!

An unnamed customer asks:  “Am I right that I have to turn all of your books sideways to read the tablature?” Well… if I had intended you to read it that way, I probably would have printed the books that way! No, no no… the tablature runs UP the page, not left to right across the page as standard staff notation. OK… why does the tablature run up the page? I suppose the answer is that I had the courage to buck the trend of western civilization and western music notation. I struggled with this for months. In 2004 when I invented kalimba tablature, I resisted making this decision. Playing

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

A New 10-Note Kalimba in C

Get your Kalimba Magic 10-Note Kalimba today! The 10-Note Kalimba is a great instrument to start on, if you are a child or an adult who is not ready to fly on a 17-Note Kalimba. The big thing to remember is that these are the same 10 notes as the lower, central 10-Notes of the 17-Note Kalimba – meaning anything you learn to play on this kalimba can be played immediately on the 17-Note Kalimba. Playing “Mwana Aboyi Mama” on the 10-Note Kalimba. These are very sweet kalimbas, with soft, wide tines, modestly spaced, that are easy on young thumbs and beginners of all ages. Key of C. With 10

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

New eBook: Intro to 10-Note Kalimba in C

This is a 32-page PDF ebook with live links to the sound files, instruction on special techniques. Very colorful! Also, with links to other resources for this 10-Note Kalimba. Instead of writing about what this ebook is about, I thought I would just show you some of the pages from the book. First, this is the tuning and kalimba setup that this ebook works for: Here is one of the more advanced songs in this book – which is also the song in the video I made to promote this book: And here is that same song, on video: A New 10-Note Kalimba in C How to Play 10-Note Kalimbas

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Blog
Mark Holdaway

“I Can See Clearly” or “How to Make Flats and Sharps on the Kalimba”

In order to play songs with accidentals or modulations on the diatonic Kalimba, you need extra notes. Here, I pick them up off of three different Kalimbas in different Tunings. “I Can See Clearly” by Johnny Nash. Yes, yes, I could have played this on a Hugh Tracey Chromatic Kalimba. But instead, I take the easy way out, using three diatonic kalimbas instead. Diatonic Scale, Diatonic Kalimba If you don’t know the word “diatonic”, learn it! It describes a kalimba that has only notes from some major scale: “Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do…” It could have 8 notes, 10, or 17 notes… but the notes are all

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Blog
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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Blog
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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Blog
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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Blog
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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