11 January 2016

TIP: Stopping the tines

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in Tips

Usually when you pluck a tine, it sustains for about 5 seconds - but you can put a stop to that!

TIP: Stopping the tines

One of the charms of the kalimba is how the tines ring clearly and slowly fade away.  You cannot control exactly how long the tone will last, it has its own natural decay, like plucking a strong on a harp.  Playing kalimba is a bit like playing piano with the damper open.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Sometimes you want a note to be staccato - ie, played very short.  Why?  Sometimes the music just calls for a short or abrupt note.  Sometimes you need to get a note out of the air because you are about to play some new notes that won't harmonize with the old note.  And sometimes you just want people to WAKE UP, and a short loud note is one way to acocmplish that.

Any tines that you pluck with your thumb nails can also be damped with your thumb pads.  Lay the flat thumb flesh on the tine quickly and it will stop sounding.  The video below has a prime example of damping the tines.

 

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.

Comments (3)

  • Fran6co

    Fran6co

    07 September 2016 at 06:07 |
    I have a question concerning "replaying" a tine that is still sustaining.
    When hitting it while still in sustain, it creates a buzz as it stops on your thumbnail that's getting ready to pluck it a second time.
    Is there a tip to avoid this buzzing while double-playing a tine ?
    Thank you :-)

    reply

  • Mark

    Mark

    07 September 2016 at 16:23 |
    I drag my thumb flesh lightly over the tine before flicking the nail off the tip. This technique will avoid the "bug zapper ZZZT" sound you get when you touch a vibrating tine with your nail. This technique will result in some irritation of the thumb, but over a few weeks you will develop a little callus about where the thumb flesh meets the nail.

    reply

    • Fran6co

      Fran6co

      19 September 2016 at 10:03 |
      Thanks Mark :-)

      reply

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