What is a Kalimba and how do I play it?
The kalimba is an African musical instrument that dates back over a thousand years. It is made from a wooden plank whose shape and length vary according to the type of instrument. The Kalimba is often accompanied by a series of tongues which are attached to the board and vibrate when the tongues are pressed together. This type of instrument is highly prized for its ability to produce rich, deep sounds.
The Kalimba is constantly adopted in many cultures and has spread throughout the world. African groups across the globe use the kalimba to accompany song and dance, contributing to its source and spiritual significance. The Kalimba is also an instrument widely used in psychiatry by therapists, as vocalizations are made through deep sounds.
Learn to play the Kalimba
Before starting to play the Kalimba, it's important to understand the meaning and interpretation of the instrument. Much of the music produced with the Kalimba is improvised, which implies a balance between intuition and technique.
Start by finding a kalimba that suits your fingers and your level of musical expertise. The Kalimba is available in a variety of sizes and shapes. The standard size is between 8 and 10 inches long. The number of rods can vary between 8 and 20, depending on the type of Kalimba you choose to play.
Once you've got your Kalimba, you can start learning to play it. You'll need to "set" your metal rods (which involves adjusting the tension of the rods), which change the scale of the instrument. For this, you'll need a plastic or wooden rod. Set the rods so that those forming the scale of your instrument sound clear and harmonious.
Once you've set up the Kalimba and placed your rods, you can nail them in place and start playing! Each rod produces a different note or the octave of another. Experiment with the different sounds and try to create melodies or melodic lines. Once you've got an idea of how your Kalimba sounds, you can start putting different techniques to music!
The kalimba plays an important role in the blending of cultures. Jazz and blues melodies, Western and Eastern hymns, and even contemporary pieces can be played on the kalimba. That's why it's considered one of the most versatile of all instruments.
What's more, the style of the instrument itself, the lively sound and the subtle rhythm make the Kalimba an attractive and unique instrument. That's why the Kalimba is now appreciated by music lovers the world over.
The Kalimba is a highly versatile musical instrument. It can be played to produce rich, deep and varied melodies, from traditional African songs to contemporary melodies. Learning to play the Kalimba is simple and can provide hours of enjoyment, inspiration and artistic expression. There's a lot to discover about the culture and sound of the Kalimba, so if you're interested, start exploring and learning!