26 April 2016

TIP: Exploring Sansula Tunings - p3 - The Sansula Book

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

This ground-breaking book inspired thousands

Kalimba Magic started making the first alternative sansula tunings many years ago, and we are the only people to have made instructional materials for the sansula and its alternative tunings. This series of tips is an overview of Kalimba Magic's sansula tunings and related instructional materials.

This is a good example of the music played easily on the sansula in standard A minor tuning - it is one of the lessons from the book "Playing the Sansula", which mostly covers the standard tuning.

The media player at the bottom of the article will play a sound recording of this music, when you click on it.

If you watched the video in Tip #2 of this series, you heard me referring to a "pivot" between the low E and the F.  This exemplifies a fundamental truth about this kalimba - if you play these two notes at the same time, it sounds harsh and dissonant.  But if you play E plus other notes, then shift to F and other notes, it will sound like you know exactly what you are doing.  The music in this tip is like that. 

Before you jump in and try to play this tablature you should first take your time to see what this music is like.  Look at the patterns the notes make. Notice the following:

  • There are no double rights or double lefts - it is strictly alternating right-left.
  • The rhythm is all the same, a steady "1 2 3 4 5 6".
  • Measures 1-2 (lower left) are repeated identically in measures 3-4 (upper left).
  • Measures 5-6 (lower right) are identical to measures 7-8.
  • Measures 1-4 are mostly played on the lower tines.
  • Measures 5-8 are mostly played on the upper tines.

This music follows another rule of thumb: play the lower tines for a while, then answer by playing the upper tines for a while; repeat as required.  This actually has the exact same result as "play low E plus other notes for a while, then play the F plus other notes for a while", because this lower-upper alternating playing technique prevents you from playing the low E and the F at the same time.

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.