How to Play Kalimba? (1)

This post is mainly about some basic knowledge of playing kalimba.

Playing Skills

Hold the kalimba with both hands and play the keys with your thumbs. It is recommended to use your fingernails to pluck the keys instead of using the meat alone. The nail length is about 2mm. When actually playing, with a downward movement, the flesh of the fingertips will first touch the keys, and the sound of nails hitting the keys will not be too obvious. Of course, some people like to use meat to play the kalimba, and calluses will form on their fingertips over time. The intensity of playing the piano should not be too high, the appropriate intensity and angle can make the sound clean. In the early stage of playing, you will inevitably feel pain at your fingertips, and you will gradually find a way to play that suits you.

Dual Tone

Playing dual tone means that two thumbs play two different keys at the same time. The two tones may be adjacent or non-adjacent. If they are not adjacent, use both hands to play together. If adjacent, use portamento or play with both hands. The double tone appears very frequently in the performance spectrum.


You need to leave about 2mm nails to play portamento. It is difficult to play portamento without nails and it is painful. The direction of portamento is generally from the bass to the treble of the keyboard (the left thumb slides to the left and the right thumb slides to the right). Hold the keys with your fingernails, touch the keys with your fingertips and nails, and then slide across each key in turn to make a sound. When you start practicing portamento, don’t be too impatient. Slide over and play the keys in turn to make the portamento sound even, then slowly increase the speed to practice. When portamento is used, the angle between your fingernails and the keys should not be too large, otherwise it will produce more scratching noises without playing the keys. It takes time to practice portamento well.

Wua Sound

When playing, use your thumb to push the sound control back and forth in the front sound hole to produce a wua wua sound. If the thumb is inconvenient to play the wua sound when playing, use two middle fingers to flick the sound hole at the back to produce the wua effect. If you are proficient, you can cooperate forward and backward, and the wua effect will be more obvious.

If you have questions, please leave a comment.😁

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