Some trivial styles of kalimba music and how to play them

The kalimba is a traditional African instrument consisting of a hollow wooden board and suspended metal strips. These strips vibrate and produce a rather melodious sound. Although often associated with folk music, the kalimba can be used to play a wide variety of musical styles.


Jazz is one of the most popular styles for kalimba playing. It offers many possibilities for improvisation, as the kalimba lends itself very well to the style's particular melodic texture. By using longer notes, pauses and rhythmic changes, you can achieve some very interesting sounds. Since the kalimba has a very melodious, easy-to-remember sound, you can play a wide variety of melodies and create complex impros with it. Traditional jazz rhythms, such as swing or bossa nova, can also be played with a kalimba.


The kalimba is a very useful tool for playing pop music. Thanks to its ups and downs, it can add depth and appeal to a song. Its melodic nature lends itself well to pop songs, as it can add an interesting extra melody, resulting in richer songs. If you want to play pop music with a kalimba, try to find a steady tempo and follow it while improvising melodic lines or pauses. You can also try more complex riffs, which can give a song a unique and interesting sound.


Folk music is one of the most traditional and appropriate styles to play with a kalimba. This kind of music benefits greatly from the texture and sound that the kalimba can offer. By playing melodic riffs, note sequences and scales with a "simpler" structure and melodic progression, you can easily create catchy folk pieces. You can also add more complex lines to folk pieces to give depth to this traditional style.


The classical style can also be played on the kalimba. Classical melodies are very light and therefore perfect for the kalimba. Complex melodies and harmonic variations are very easy to play with a kalimba and produce a richer sound. By adding slower movements and variations to the melody, you can create even more interesting classical pieces.

Rock / Metal

While the kalimba may seem incompatible with rock and metal, it can in fact be a very interesting tool for this kind of music. Rock and metal pieces can be played while retaining the melodic characteristics and unique sound of the kalimba, and thanks to tribal riffs and melodic leads, you can create very interesting rock and metal pieces. Try playing with cymbals and distortion for unique sounds.

In a nutshell

The kalimba is a very versatile instrument that lends itself to many musical styles. If you're new to the kalimba, try a few of the styles mentioned above to get you started. Start by learning the basics and trying to play simple melodies. Once you've got the basics down, you can start experimenting more and playing more varied styles. So what are you waiting for, grab your kalimba and start playing!