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Native to Central Africa, the Sanza (or "kalimba" or "thumb piano") is a melodic instrument much played by story ...
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Native to Central Africa, the Sanza (or "kalimba" or "thumb piano") is a melodic instrument much played by story tellers and musicians fond of entrancing sounds.
Thumb pianos exist in various forms, using different scales and modes for their key-tuning, different materials (metal, wood...) for their construction.
Usually, a sanza player holds his/her instrument with both hands, plucking the keys (metal or wooden blades) with the tip of his/her thumbs. Some models are laid down, though.
There are several types of sanzas : a "soundbox sanza" has a large opening on the upper board and two smaller soundholes on its lower part, in order to produce a distinctive "wah wah" modulation effect (see present model), while other types have their key rack fixed to a solid soundboard, or to a tight piece of animal skin (Sanzula)
This particular model is handmade in Germany (Hokema), with an impeccable pentatonic tuning (A - C - D - E - G - A - C - D - E), nice mahogany finishing, powerful sound and a large modulation range. The tips of its keys are bent down to give better playing comfort. The keys are pretty close to each other and allow great playing velocity.
NB: Tuning is adjustable by re-positioning the blades (keys) forwards or backwards.