17-note 5" x 7" Thumb Piano
The thumb piano originates in Africa. It is also known as the kalimba, or mbira.
17 steel keys and two vibrato holes on the back.
The metal keys are mounted on a wooden box that acts as the resonating chamber.
To play, rest the Kalimba on the fingers of both hands and hold it between your palms.
Cover the vibrato holes with your fingers.
Then pluck the keys with your thumbs.
As you play you can un-cover and cover the vibrato holes as you like.
Many different tunings are acceptable, according to personal preference.
Similar tuning is only an issue when two instruments are played together; then they should generally agree in tuning. Longer keys have lower pitches and shorter keys have higher pitches. The keys can be adjusted by tapping them in or out to adjust their pitch.
Kalimba Use In Pop Culture:
A Kalimba is used in songs by artists such as Genesis, Earth, Wind & Fire, John Mayer, Vampire Weekend, Jo Mango, King Crimson & Laura Barrett
A Kalimba is playing in the opening theme from Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful of Secrets"
A Kalimba was used by James Horner in the soundtrack of Aliens, specifically in the cue "The Complex".
A Kalimba was used by Danny Elfman on the soundtrack of Edward Scissorhands, specifically during the first 9 bars of "Mob."
Please Note: Kalimbas are a traditional African musical instrument that have various tuning systems and will need to be tuned to your preference upon first usage.
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