In This IssueWhat's New at Kalimba MagicThe Kalimba in Music TherapyThe Amadinda, a Traditional African MarimbaWonderful New Music on the 8-Note KalimbaInterview with Andrew Tracey, director emeritus of ILAMKalimba CommunityOur Visit to Grahamstown Hospice in Africa

New 8-Note Kalimba Music from Sharon Eaton

HT 8-Note Kalimba
The Hugh Tracey 8-Note kalimba (left) comes in the same shape as the African Musical Instruments trademark (on the corner of the box), which is modeled after a common shape for traditional kalimbas (shown right - this used to be an 8-note kalimba, but four of the tines were lost since it was brought back from Africa ca. 1950).

While the 8-Note kalimbas are a great place for children to start, it is also a great instrument for adults, even adults who have been playing kalimba for a few years.

Sharon Eaton, co-creator (along with husband/programmer Randy Eaton) of KTabS, the Kalimba Tablature Software for Windows computers, has just sent me two very nice advanced songs for the 8-Note kalimba, and I offer them here to you! By the way, the 8-Note kalimba is painted and laid out the same as the lower 8 notes of the Alto, so even if you don't have an 8-Note kalimba, download these files for your Alto kalimba—though these files are in C while your Alto is probably in G. However, these two songs are written for the F-Tuned 8-Note—to go from the regular C tuning to F, just bring the 7th, or B tine down to a B flat by pulling it out a bit and making it longer.

Gillian Welch is a song from my CD Between the Dark and the Light, and while it is difficult on the Bb Treble Kalimba, it is fairly simple on the 8-Note kalimba.

Download Sharon's tablature file for Gillian Welch.

If you don't have the KTabS program, you will also have to download the trial version of KTabS, or purchase the KTabS Reader for $5 or the full KTabS program for $30.

Says Sharon of this piece and the 8-Note kalimba:
Here's what I love about the 8-note kalimba-- it took me just minutes to memorize this arrangement. I could barely play the original [Gillian Welch song], and would not have dreamed of trying to commit it to memory. The 8-note allows me to feel what it is like to be a "real" kalimba player and just sit down and play cool songs.

Sharon, all things in time! You have only been playing kalimba for a few years—there is a lot of greatness left for you to find in the future. You are becoming the kalimba player that you dream of being.—Mark

Sharon also wrote this splended piece for the F-tuned 8-Note kalimba:

Download Sharon's tablature file for Wings On Wind.

Says Sharon: I used to create songs for the treble kalimba that were so hard to play that they just weren't fun. Now I'm going back and revisiting what I liked about those songs and recreating them for the 8-note kalimba. Here's one that seems hard because of all the 8th notes, but because it is the 8-note kalimba it is easily mastered, even for me. I can even play it with my eyes closed! I am still really amazed at what this little kalimba can do.

Sharon, the 8-Note kalimba is easy because the tines are larger and are well spaced out, as well as the obvious fact that there aren't as many of them as there are on the 17-note Treble. However, everything you are learning on the 8-Note can, in the future, be translated onto a more complicated kalimba. (After 20 years of loving the Alto Kalimba, I have finally graduated to loving the Treble, which used to be too small for me!) For now, I rejoice that you are finding freedom on this simple kalimba.

Kalimba Magic offers the Hugh Tracey 8-Note Kalimba as well as the Catania 8-Note Kalimba. You can use Steve Catania's numbers-based book (i.e., 3-2-1-2-3-3-3 = "Ma-ry had a lit-tle lamb") or the Kalimba Magic tablature-based book with either of these 8-Note kalimbas.

Click to go to Kalimba Magic

Top of page

To sign up to receive the monthly Kalimba Magic newsletter by email,
enter your email address below:
Newsletter Archives
Discover the world of kalimbas at
Shop for kalimbas and accessories at the Kalimba Shop