This is one magical tuning
The Hokema B11 Kalimba – also called the “Melody Kalimba” – has a lot of untapped potential. In its standard G major tuning, it does a lot of nice music. But so many other exotic tunings are also possible, and the exotic tunings have not really been explored at all – until now. Today we are looking at the exotic B11 tuning that I call “The Wizard.”
An exotic tuning can take a kalimba to a new and magical place, transforming the music it plays and the experience you have with it.
At Kalimba Magic laboratories, we took all the B11 tunings we could think of and played them all – and then selected the five best tunings. For the next five months, we will present a new exotic B11 tuning, including a recording or video and a short instructional download for each one.
I used to call the B11 Wizard tuning the “A minor Hitzaskiar” tuning. It is a Persian-sounding minor scale, similar to the harmonic minor, but with a raised 4th. But it seems so magical, like a wizard waving his or her wand over a little magical music box in a Harry Potter movie, that I had to change its name to the right one – the Wizard!
The new Wizard B11 ebook has a very gentle and measured approach, helping you to learn patterns and chords and encouraging you to create your own compositions from these bits and pieces.
Harmonically, this kalimba’s “main crank” turns from F7, to E, and back to its home chord of Am. (If you can’t imagine this, listen to the short recording that plays automatically with this blog post – it concludes with F7 – E – Am, repeated three times to seal the magic spell.) The harmonies that a kalimba can make determine the sorts of melodies it can make. The F7, in this context, is known as a “German augmented 6th” chord in classical music theory, and resolves to E, the dominant chord. E in turn, ultimately resolves to Am, the tonic.
The augmented 6th chord is the main ingredient of the mysterious feel for this kalimba tuning.
The instructional download goes over how to make little melodies and riffs that live within the main chords of this kalimba’s scale. Page 12 from the download (reproduced above) demonstrates this for the E chord. The download also shows you how to connect the chords through melodic riffs.
This instruction should give you the tools you need to weave together your own rich and haunting melodies within the framework of the B11 Wizard tuning – we give you the Lego blocks, and you get to create whatever archaic archways and crescendo-ing castles you want.
The Wizard tuning is reminiscent of the Freygish tuning – a straight harmonic minor without the augmented 6th possibilities. The B11 (with its 11 notes) doesn’t have as many notes as the Freygish Karimba’s 17 tines, and the lower octave is sparsely populated, making the B11 Wizard less capable than the Freygish Karimba, but also easier to navigate and less intimidating.
You have several options for enjoying The Wizard B11 tuning: you could retune your own B11in standard tuning and then purchase the Wizard’s beautiful 36-page instructional download and learn a host of easy spells for your B11 to cast. Or you could send your B11 kalimba in standard tuning to the Kalimba Doctor, and we’ll retune it for you and send it back. Or you could purchase a new B11 or B11 Elektra kalimba in the Wizard exotic tuning, and we’ll include the instructional download as a gift.
Be on the lookout for the other exotic B11 tunings soon. We’ll write a blog post and a little instructional download for each one, culminating in a grand book containing all of the exotic B11 tunings. Even if you can’t afford to take a trip around the world and through time and fantasy, you can certainly take the trip the B11 Exotics have to offer.