Native to Central Africa, the Calimba (or "kalimba" or "thumb piano") is a melodic instrument much played by story tellers and musicians fond of entrancing sounds.
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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 have to be laid down on a flat surface, like this particular model.
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, while other types have their key-rack fixed to a solid soundboard (see present model), or to a tight piece of animal skin (Sanzula)
This model is made by one of the greatest sanza builder, Hugh Tracey.
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.