Monthly Archives: October 2013

Relaxation and Meditation

Relaxation and Meditation Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

This special kalimba is made to be played for relaxing and meditating. This is the only instrument my Grandmother plays, and she plays it everyday! The tuning is unique, it has 8 notes spread across a wide range to play deep, low, medium, and high pitched notes.

Here is a recording of me playing something nice on this wonderful kalimba. The pattern starts very slowly introducing all the notes, then builds up before settling down again. This recording may sound best using headphones or through stereo sound system.


FYI: I didn’t tune the nyKalimba in this recording to exactly A=440, so don’t be thrown off if you have perfect pitch, or use a tuner while listening. The pitches given in the image below are a guide only, I actually like to tune closer to A=444, and starting with a well-tempered tuning I adjust the intervals to suit the unique harmonics that ring out from kalimba tines.

notes on staff large

Certain combinations of these notes combine in a very special way to create “extra” notes. These extra notes are truly sparkling and beautiful. Listening for them is one of the things that makes the experience of playing this nyKalimba so relaxing and meditative. Its sound may be compared to very mellow wind chimes.

Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

Introducing the Ambira Classic Pro

The Ambira Classic Pro is a new kind of kalimba/mbira that offers players some of the best features of modern kalimbas and traditional mbiras all in one instrument.

mbira nyKalimba

“Caleb Kalimba” ©Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

With typical kalimbas you must alternate between left and right thumbs to play a scale. This system is great for its own reasons, one of them being that it is simple to play harmonies because all the notes in a chord are already next to each other. With the Ambira, you can still play harmonies very easily, yet the notes are arranged in scale order, which makes it delightfully intuitive to play. Many people are able to relate more with the nyKalimba than they can with other kinds of kalimbas.

mbira nyKalimba tuning

“Ambira Classic Pro” © Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

Non-musicians will appreciate the intuitive feel of this instrument. Musicians will also appreciate the intuitive note arrangement, and also the wide range of dynamics you can achieve by adjusting the force used to pluck the keys. It is perfect for relaxing and letting the music flow, and also for playing your favorite songs.

You can see from the pictures that the hardware used to secure the keys to the soundboard are concealed inside the tensioning tube, which creates an exceptionally clean and natural appearance.

mbira nyKalimba concealed tensionsing hardware

Ambira Classic Pro using concealed tensioning hardware © Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

The body is shaped and sanded by hand to allow the wood grain to flow smoothly all around the instrument. This makes it extremely comfortable to hold and beautiful to look at. The rhombus shape of the body imparts a classic yet modern quality to the appearance of the instrument. The wood is finished with shellac to bring out the natural beauty of the maple and to help protect the wood.

mbira nyKalimba

Ambira Classic Pro © Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

The Ambira Classic Pro comes standard with buzzers, allowing the spirit of the traditional African mbiras to come through. It is easy to mute the buzzing with your pinky, for effect, or if you wish it is simple to tighten the screw holding the buzzers which will stop them from vibrating until you choose to loosen the screw again.

mbira nyKalimba, rear

Ambira Classic Pro, rear, © Copyright 2013 Caleb Schepart

What Makes NY Kalimba’s Instruments Unique?

WHAT MAKES NY KALIMBA’S INSTRUMENTS UNIQUE

  1. I have designed a hardware-concealing tension system. It is probably easier to understand by looking at a picture, but I will describe it here anyway as plainly as possible. I cut the tube to size and drill holes in it. I drill holes straight through the body of the kalimba, and put screws going through the body and into the holes I drilled in the metal tube. I hide nuts inside the tube, the screws meet up with the nuts and can be tightened to make the tube hold the keys securely in place.

    Hardware concealed in tensioning tube

    Hardware concealed in tensioning tube

  2. Most of my kalimbas have bodies that are shaped like a slanted rectangle. This shape is called a rhombus, and my rhomboid shaped kalimbas are a simple yet refreshing variation on the more common rectangular or trapezoidal shaped kalimbas that are typical of most kalimbas.

    example of "nyKalimba" rhomboid shaped body

    example of a rhomboid shaped body

  3. I have developed a couple of unique tuning systems and key arrangements that offer special benefits for kalimba players. The most significant is the one used in my Ambiras, and the other is used in the kalimba for relaxation and meditation.