Articles tagged with: Chords

21 June 2019

Chords on the 17-Note Kalimba in C

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

And how to play melodies above them. This recipe works for any diatonic kalimba with alternating note layout

Chords on the 17-Note Kalimba in C

In an article I wrote earlier this month, I said that every non-traditional kalimba in the world owes its existence to Hugh Tracey. (Of course, they also owe their existence to the hundreds and thousands of people in Africa who pioneered and played the karimba, mbira and related instruments over the last 1000 years.) But most non-traditional kalimbas are copies of the Hugh Tracey kalimba's design and note arrangement.

That note arrangement makes it particularly easy to create melodies high up on the instrument, and simultaneously to produce good chords low down on the instrument that perfectly accompany that high melody. Would you like to learn more?

06 February 2019

Going Low: Chords with the 5th in the Bass

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This technique can get you a lower bass note to better support the music

Going Low: Chords with the 5th in the Bass

Making a chord is simple on a diatonic kalimba: Pick the note you want the chord to be based on - let's say C - and then play that note and the next two shorter tines on the same side of the kalimba. Those three tines will make a triad with the notes 1 - 3 - 5. Will it be major or minor, or even diminished? It depends on which key you are in and what note you started on - but it will always be a beautiful chord.

("Diatonic" means your kalimba plays only the notes Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do in some key [with no notes outside of the key], for at least an octave, likely more. Diatonic kalimbas include the Hugh Tracey Alto and Treble kalimbas, or the 10-Note and 17-Note Heart kalimbas.)

This post is about an important strategy to get you to low notes on your kalimba without fundamentally changing the harmony.

08 October 2018

Learn to Play the Elvis Presley hit "Love Me Tender" on Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Get Free Tablature, Learn from the Video

Learn to Play the Elvis Presley hit

A Kalimba Magic customer recently expressed the desire to play the eternally popular "Love Me Tender" on their 17-Note Kalimba in C, and the result is this blog post and free tablature for everyone to learn it. The 17-Note C Kalimba tablature is also usable with a 15-Note ALTO kalimba, and if you have Alto kalimba tablature, you can use it for your 17-Note in C - just be aware that the note names will be shifted by a 4th.

What's cool about this post is that we break the music down into three versions (on tablature AND on video!) - melody only, melody plus chords, and melody plus fully chromatic chords. This makes it so easy for you that it practically plays itself. Give it a look!

20 October 2018

The Making of A Celtic-D Karimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This is part of what "Available Only At Kalimba Magic" really means

The Making of A Celtic-D Karimba

When they get an order, most of the world's kalimba purveyors just pull an instrument off the shelf, pack it in a box, and put a label on it.

At Kalimba Magic, we do so much more. We fine-tune the instrument. We paint the tines for guidance. Sometimes we retune the instrument to a different tuning.

And sometimes we just take the whole thing apart, rearrange the kalimba, and rebuild it as a totally different beast.

That is how we make the Celtic D Kalimba, SaReGaMa karimbas, and a whole host of custom-tuned instruments.

Follow along as I work my magic to create a Celtic D:

24 November 2017

First Lesson on the Celtic D Karimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Two simple chords and a trick for using them together

First Lesson on the Celtic D Karimba

While the Celtic D Karimba is made for, and excels at, all sorts of jigs and reels and waltzes, I'm going to show you in this first lesson what it loves to do the most: a very simple two-chord progression.

You don't even need to know what a chord progression is  - you just follow the colors on the tines.

I suggest you mark the tines of these two chords with two contrasting colors of Sharpie markers. The marks help make playing the chords very simple and can easily be removed with an alcohol wipe. I use green and red in this case.

05 February 2019

Playing Sansula with Guitar

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

Exploring Chords With Sansula in Standard Tuning

Playing Sansula with Guitar

A main part of the philosophy of western musical instruments is to reproduce as many sonic possibilities as possible - hence the piano keyboard, with seven octaves of fully chromatic notes.

A main part of the philosophy of the kalimba is that it has exactly the notes it needs to create a particular scale or a particular song. Every note on a kalimba is important and useful. A particular kalimba's scale will span a particular "music space" which contains the musical possibilities of that scale. But there are way many "music spaces" and there are way many kalimba tunings. 

One of my favorite activities is to explore new kalimba tunings and their "music spaces" - ie, the different possibilities these tunings create.

However, in my rush to cover all of these exotic music spaces, sometimes I forget to cover the most basic tuning of an instrument. Here I go back and explore the Sansula's standard mystical and enchanting tuning, and show you how I accompany the Sansula with guitar.

18 July 2019

Learn to Play Along to these Easy Backing Tracks - C Major

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This is a great way to develop your playing and improvisation skills

When most people think of improvisation, they tend to think of just making things up and going wild. However, most compositions, and also the best improvisations, follow rules. Different rules will make different types of music.

The most important rule that I follow when I write music or improvise music is that I create a melody that follows an underlying chord progression. In this post, I supply recordings of four different chord progressions that you can play along to, I show you what kalimba notes are in each chord, and to top it off, I also provide a recording of my improvising on kalimba along with the backing track, to give you ideas of what you can do.

In other words, jam along!