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Thumb Piano, kalimba, mbira Rosewood

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                                     Thumb Piano, kalimba, or mbira.

Condition: New
Brand: Quality 1 Trader Ltd 
Instrument: Thumb Piano 
Sub-Type: Acoustic
Thumb Piano, Large Rosewood, 5" x 7", 17 steel keys and two vibrato holes on the back. The thumb piano originates in Africa. It is also known as the mbira or likembe. The metal keys are mounted on a wooden box that acts as the resonating chamber. To play, rest the thumb piano 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. Specific tuning of a thumb piano is only an issue when two instruments are played together; then they should generally agree in tuning. Otherwise, the tuning is subjective and should only be pleasing to the player. The 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 length, and therefore their pitch.
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  • Thumb Piano


Thumb Piano is an African instrument and related to the Kalimba. It was considered in olden times that the Thumb Piano was to project its sound into the heavens and was even thought to draw sown feelings to the earth. Few of them were evil spirits so the people would stop playing the music until the spirits had deceased from the area. The piano is made of rosewood; the sound board is made of spruce, and comes in assorted tunings. On the back it has two holes that vibrate and the fingers change the sound by moving them to and from the holes.Many times, Piano is played solo and tuning is not significant as playing with a different musician. If playing with another musician then you may want to take note of the tuning. The lower keys have a lower pitch while the shorter keys have a higher pitch. All the keys can be tuned by adjusting the metal piece inward or outward. The low keys are located toward the center of the instrument and the short keys are locates on the outside of the instrument. The Thumb Piano has a very melodious sound, and is a well made instrument. It is sometimes used as a backup for other instruments or lyrics. Each note of the thumb piano is a separate idiophone, and in orchestra terms it is in the bar family. Current distinction of the instrument may have more than the traditional 15 tines, with as many as four chromatic octaves, which makes playing more intricate music possible. They may have hollow resonating chambers for amplified volume, and procedures for readily tuning the tines to various scales (tines are the medal keys that are needed to play the instrument). While the keys on the thumb piano are dissimilar from the piano or guitar, their array is quite perceptive, and is thought to be an instrument rapidly learned.




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Review by John
Wow. (Posted on 4/6/13)

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