The Thumb Piano is a generic name for several similar traditional instruments found throughout Africa and Asia such as the Mbira and Kalimba.
How to Play the Kalimba
The instrument consists of a resonating box (or sometimes just a wooden board) supporting a number of staggered metal tines. To play, it is held between the hands and the tines are plucked with the thumbs.
Those with a resonating box usually feature a sound hole, the musician can pluck a tine and move their hand back and forth over this hole to create a wah-wah or pulsing effect. We have included a live playable version of this in our instrument that you can control using your modulation wheel.
The Sampled Instrument
The instrument sampled for this collection has seven tines. We seven velocity layers for each tine in a fairly dry sounding environment. We also captured a selection of taps on the body of the instrument with thirteen dynamic layers. To add extra playability we have artificially increased the number of playable notes. This particular instrument was a bit old, battered, and slightly out of tune, we retained all of these wonderful imperfections in this library.
For something a little different we also included a feature to reverse all of the samples – easily accessed by a big button on the interface. You can read about this, and more, in the User Guide.