New Products from Kalimba Magic

Easter Hymns

Easter Hymns Available for Alto, Treble and Chromatic Kalimbas

We have just released collections of Easter Hymns for the Alto and Easter Hymns for the Treble Kalimba—and a Bb Treble release will follow soon. Each of these downloads is available for $10. The Easter Hymn Releases includes KTabS files and PDFs for both basic (B) and advanced (A) arrangements for the Hugh Tracey Alto Kalimba of the following 12 songs:

This release does not include the lyrics, only the music. The Basic and Advanced arrangements make this a great tool for beginners or advanced players, and will help beginning players move into advanced music more quickly.

You can read the Alto release notes.

There is a smaller release for the G-tuned Chromatic Kalimba which we offer for free.

student karimba tuning

The Student 8-Note Karimba

The first European to ever see an African kalimba was Father Dos Santos, a Portugese priest in what is now Mozambique. He observed Africans playing on an 8-note kalimba in 1586. And if you ask Andrew Tracey, he will tell you that he thinks he knows exactly what that kalimba looked like - like the lower row of tines on the African-tuned Karimba, also known as the mbira nyunga nyunga.

student karimba

Now, that most ancient of all kalimbas - perhaps the original kalimba - is available as the Student Karimba. If you have an 8-Note Catania kalimba, you can actually make this yourself by retuning the instrument - or you can get us to retune it for you. And we will include a pack of traditional karimba tunes arranged just for the 8-Note Student Karimba. You see, all of those tunes that Andrew Tracey got from Jega Tapera start with a basic part rooted entirely in the fundamental eight notes of the instrument - which are the same notes this instrument has.

This is a perfect instrument to get for the classroom, or to provide the opportunity for kids and beginning kalimba players to get a genuine African experience, rather than just an abstract one. As players advance, they can move over to the full 17-Note African-tuned karimba, and new variations of the songs they learned on the 8-Note Student Karimba will await them and build on the foundation of what they already learned.

The Student Karimba, tuned to A or C, and the Student Karimba Traditional Download, is available for $45 - a real deal!

The Hugh Tracey Chromatic Kalimba

New G Tuning Available for Chromatic Kalimbas

The Hugh Tracey Chromatic kalimba is a cool idea that Sharon Eaton had one day: put the piano's white notes on the front and put the black notes on the back. This is a bit tricky, and it takes a lot of time getting used to this note layout. Fortunately, most songs only require a few accidentals, and adding just one chromatic note in the right place can be very effective. These instruments ship to me from Africa in the original tuning that Sharon Eaton pioneered, with the front tines in the key of C and the back tines, the flats or sharps, effectively in the key of F# (pentatonic).

The Alto kalimba is by far the most popular of the kalimbas I sell, but it is in the key of G. This means that if you play the Alto and you know some songs on it, they won't quite work on the C-tuned chromatic kalimba. You have to rewrite the song to get it to work on the C-fronted chromatic kalimba.

However, I have a different way of tuning the chromatic kalimbas: tune the front to G, so that you can play it just like an Alto. This means there is an F# in the front instead of F natural (a simple modification) - but it also means that there is now an F natural on the back side, and that several tines on the back need to be rearranged - it takes me under 10 minutes. I am now writing music for this new and challenging kalimba. And we now offer, for free, a small download of G Chromatic Easter Hymns.

New G Chromatic Tuning
Tablature for the G tuning of the Chromatic Kalimba

If you would like this modification made to your C Chromatic Kalimba: I can do that for $10, plus $10 shipping.

If you want to purchase a chromatic kalimba: We can ship a chromatic kalimba in standard C setup ($140), or you can have the Sharon Eaton setup (with the back side tines shifted around so the "diminished" notes are right behind their front-side counterparts, leaving the kalimba in C ($145), or I can also do the Eaton setup and rearrange the chromatic to be in G (i.e., its front is just like an Alto kalimba, painted tines and all, and the back side has the tines shifted to lie right behind their "undiminished" counterparts) ($150).

Changing from C Chromatic to G Chromatic requires retuning two F to F# on the front, but the back side needs to be arranged significantly. The back "chromatic" notes - actually, with the G tuning, we would be better to call them "accidentals" - lie immediately behind the front-side notes that they are flats of. Or in the case of F, it will lie immediately behind the F#. Notice I'm not telling you how to take your kalimba apart to achieve this transformation? It is true - you must be careful if you undertake such an operation, as it is possible to hurt yourself on your kalimba! Be careful, and if you have any doubts, I can do this for you.

changing from C to G chromo

Since I am on this topic, I will reiterate my call to the Kalimba Community: Please contact us if you have created your own tuning or setup, or if you have made significant progress on the chromatic kalimba in any tuning, including the standard C tuning. I know that Nick Strippoli has done some very nice work with the C-tuned chromatic. Does anyone have any written music for the C-tuned Chromatic Kalimba?

The above figure illustrates the changing of a C Chromatic to a G Chromatic. The left side represents the front, and the right side represents the back - the top is the C tuning, the bottom is the G tuning. The black dots on the front tines indicate that a "flat" lies immediately underneath it on the back side.


3 Original Pieces for G minor Karimba
Now Transposed for the A minor Karimba

I wrote and released "Three Original Pieces for G minor Karimba" a few months back. However, some people have the A minor karimba, which is exactly the same as the G minor karimba, except that each note is tuned up a whole step. In other words, the same tablature works for either karimba. We "retuned" the karimba up to A minor in the KTabS program. So, if you have the A minor karimba, you can play along with KTabS playing THIS version:

Three Original Pieces for G minor Kalimba - transposed for A minor Karimba - is available for $5.


10 Traditional African Pieces for Karimba - in G major

And this is exactly the opposite problem - some people have tuned their A karimbas down to G, in large part so they can play karimba alongside the Alto or Treble kalimbas, which are in G too. If your karimba is in G, you can now play the KTabS files of these 10 traditional African karimba pieces transposed to G major tuning:

10 Traditional Pieces for Karimba is available for the G major karimba for $10.

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