A Review of the One-Handed Kalimba

Right-handed kalimba

In March at the Mid Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Meeting, I worked a table across from Kaitlin, who had lost a hand in an accident as a child. As she has lived most of her life with only one hand, she is quite adept at living a normal life. She reviewed our one-handed kalimba for us and compared it with the regular 8-note kalimba:

"I really liked the standard 8-Note kalimba, because I liked the way the notes and the melodies just made themselves. I didn't need to have any previous musical ability or talent, and I could just sit and play with it and it made wonderful sounds and the notes played themselves together - it was great.

"But with previous musical experience, I liked the kalimba set up for the right hand: it was more familiar to me because it was like a keyboard. It was also easier to play with one hand because the tines decreased in length from left to right - with the standard kalimba, the long tines are in the middle, and I would have to move my hand forward or backward to hit some of the tines - I guess I could get used to that.

"I really like them both. I like the sounds; I like the fact that anybody can do it; there aren't a lot of things with options for people with one hand, so I really enjoyed that. The kalimba is very adaptable."

If you have use of only one hand, I invite you to try a one handed kalimba - set up ergonomically with the notes increasing in pitch to the right for right handed people, or with the notes increasing in pitch to the left for people with the use of their left hand. The Catania 8-Note Book is a numbers-based book and will work with left-handed, right-handed, or standard 8-Note kalimbas tuned to one octave of the major scale. And if you need more help, I am happy to work with you.

And if you have any question about whether you can make real music on a one-sided 8-Note kalimba, I invite you to watch this video to get an idea of just what you can do:

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