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!

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.

Christmas Carols for Alto and Treble Kalimbas

Christmas Carols for Alto and Treble Kalimbas

Beginners and old pros alike can use this book to experience the joys of playing Christmas music on the kalimba. Our revolutionary new tablature makes playing kalimba songs easy! The arrangements in this book are more basic than those in the advanced book. About 75% of this book is arranged for Alto and 25% is arranged for Treble. CD included.

Purchase

Advanced Christmas Carols for the Alto Kalimba

Advanced Christmas Carols for the Alto Kalimba

This book of 20 arrangements of advanced Christmas carols for the Alto kalimba is great for the person who has been seriously playing kalimba for a year or more. These are very similar to the arrangements that I myself play at holiday performances each year.

Purchase

Advanced Christmas Carols for the Treble Kalimba

Advanced Christmas Carols for the Treble Kalimba

This book of 20 arrangements of advanced Christmas Carols for the Treble Kalimba is great for the person who has been seriously playing kalimba for a year or more. These arrangements are very similar to what I play on kalimba at my holiday performances each year.

Purchase

Download: Advanced Christmas Carols for the Alto Kalimba

Download: Advanced Christmas Carols for the Alto Kalimba

Advanced arrangements of 20 Christmas Carols for the Hugh Tracey Alto kalimba - downloadable tablature in PDF and KTabS format. MP3s included. These are the same arrangements as in the advanced books.

Purchase

Download: Advanced Christmas Carols for the Bb Treble Kalimba

Download: Advanced Christmas Carols for the Bb Treble Kalimba

Downloadable tablature in PDF and KTabS format for advanced arrangements of 20 Christmas Carols for the Hugh Tracey Bb Treble kalimba. MP3s included. By the way, I first worked out the carol arrangements on a Bb Treble; and the Bb Treble is the instrument I usually play these carols on now. The advanced Alto and advanced Treble arrangements are derived from these original ones - that is, this is The Source!

Purchase

Videos of Christmas Songs on Kalimba

Videos of Christmas Songs on Kalimba

"Let it Snow" on Bb Treble, "Greensleeves" on 8-Note kalimba, "Carol of the Bells" on Alto kalimba, "1950s Christmas Medley" on Bb Treble, "Winter Wonderland" on Alto and Bb Treble, "Kalimba Christmas Medley I" on Bb Treble, "Kalimba Christmas Medley II" on Bb Treble.

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Free Tab for the Chromatic Kalimba:

Free Tab for the Chromatic Kalimba: "Carol of the Bells"

"Carol of the Bells" is a beloved holiday song that can best be performed in an approximate manner on the Alto kalimba, but you really need the Chromatic kalimba to get the song just right. In fact, "Carol of the Bells" is a great song for easing yourself into the Chromatic kalimba.

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Free Tab for the Alto Kalimba -

Free Tab for the Alto Kalimba - "Carol of the Bells"

"Carol of the Bells" is not only a beautiful song that is great to learn on the kalimba, it is also a strategic stronghold of kalimba technique. The basic music consists of two different parts played at the same time, which in this case is not that hard.

In the tablature image to the left: the first four measures of the tablature show a slow descending bass line, the next four measures show the ostinato melody (an ostinato is a part that keeps doing the same thing, while other parts - the bass line in this case - change around the ostinato), and the next eight measures put together an expanded bass line and the ostinato melody.

Learn this technique when you are ready for the next step up.

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Free Tab for the 8-Note Kalimba -

Free Tab for the 8-Note Kalimba - "Away in a Manger"

Almost every 8-Note kalimba is tuned to the C major scale, playing from low to high: "Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do." In addition to being useful for many songs in C, you can attain a "new and different instrument" by simply retuning a single note down by a half step. By tuning the 7th note, B, down to B flat - the kalimba is thrown into the key of F with a fundamentally different note layout, and a whole world of different songs can be played on the instrument in this tuning. "Away in a Manger" is one such song.

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Free Tab for the Freygish Karimba -

Free Tab for the Freygish Karimba - "Coventry Carol"

This old Christmas carol and the Freygish-tuned karimba were made for each other - both are in the exotic-sounding harmonic minor scale. This and many other great songs are part of the Freygish Download, and you can get the tablature for "Coventry Carol" free in this article.

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Easy Tab for the Alto Kalimba -

Easy Tab for the Alto Kalimba - "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"

Christmas carols are the perfect place to start learning tablature because you already know how the music sounds. You can probably sing a number of carols without thinking. This knowledge really helps a lot when you are first exploring reading the new kalimba map. This arrangement is from our book "Christmas Carols for the Alto and Treble Kalimba" - see the link at the end of the article.

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66 Songs for the 17-Note Kalimba in C - includes Christmas Songs

66 Songs for the 17-Note Kalimba in C - includes Christmas Songs

The 66 songs in the download were taken from various Kalimba Magic collections and modified for use with the 17-Note "Treble" Kalimba in the key of C, which is sold under a great many brand names at this time - Donner and Gecko, among others. The collections that went into this download include: African American Spirituals, traditional African karimba tunes, Christmas carols, classical pieces, folk and pop music, Americana and patriotic, and some children's songs.

The video that accompanies this blog post plays the song "Deck the Halls" on the 17-Note kalimba in C.

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Quilted Bags for Kalimbas - Perfect for Christmas

Quilted Bags for Kalimbas - Perfect for Christmas

I just received a box from South Africa with 40 beautiful, handcrafted, padded and quilted kalimba bags. I find many of these solidly constructed bags very attractive... and I certainly own enough kalimbas to utilize all of the bags (a sad state of affairs that brings me much joy). And I suspect there are several of these kalimba bags, artfully created by Louise Sloman-Fuller, that you would be interested in owning as well.

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Experiencing Gratitude - Walking, Kalimba, and Christmas Carols

Experiencing Gratitude - Walking, Kalimba, and Christmas Carols

The "Christmas Kalimba Medley" came to me in 2002 over the course of a thirty minute lunch break from my (former) astronomy day job. The medley has blessed many, and continues to be a blessing to me. In order to bring it back to life for this year's performances, nowadays I take my Bb Treble kalimba out with me each morning and play the medley from start to finish. My 1.7 mile walk permits two complete playings of the medley.

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Mark Holdaway's Christmas Kalimba

Mark Holdaway's Christmas Kalimba

This CD, a collection of Christmas carols performed by Mark Holdaway on the kalimba is enchanting, beautiful and peaceful. 10 tracks, including Simple Gifts, Carol of the Bells, St. Basil's Hymn, Silent Night, and the legendary Kalimba Christmas Medley, which contains all the beautiful carols that filled Christmas with meaning when you were young.

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Free Tab for the Treble Kalimba -

Free Tab for the Treble Kalimba - "Silent Night"

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 this song really requires the high notes of the Treble kalimba in standard G tuning. This is surely one of the most beautiful Christmas songs you can play on the Treble.

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About the Author

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway has been playing kalimba for over 30 years.  He invented his kalimba tablature in 2004, and has been writing books and instructional materials for kalimba ever since.  His business, Kalimba Magic, is based on the simple proposition that the kalimba is a real musical instrument capable of greatness.  Mark's kalimba books are a down payment on this proposition.

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