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Tuning a Thumb Piano

The Fooles Troupe 05 Dec 08 - 09:03 AM
Jack Campin 05 Dec 08 - 09:26 AM
s&r 05 Dec 08 - 12:40 PM
Andy Jackson 05 Dec 08 - 01:17 PM
Jack Blandiver 05 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM
Little Robyn 05 Dec 08 - 09:16 PM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Dec 08 - 01:25 AM
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Subject: Tuning a Thumb Piano
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 09:03 AM

OK I know that there are some of you experts on this...

I've always wanted one, but they have always been 'rustic', looking as if they fell out of the south end of a north headed donkey. So I found a really pretty one the other day.

It has 7 steel rods.

I don't really care about an absolute pitch.

I want to know how the relative tunings are set up, ie. what scale, how arranged, etc.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Tuning a Thumb Piano
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 09:26 AM

The usual arrangement has the scale going upwards on alternate sides of the centre, so you use your hands alternately like an English concertina.

They can use many different scales since they are found in cultures all across southern Africa, almost all of which use more than one scale and hardly any two of which use the same ones. Tune it to suit the kind of music you want to play.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a Thumb Piano
From: s&r
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 12:40 PM

Here's a video

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tuning a Thumb Piano
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 01:17 PM

Who started this, thats another half hour gone!!!!!!
But wow. Just follow the video link and you will stumble upon a thing called an Array Mbira. Look within, a whole new world.
I will admit it is not a sound I like but you have to admire the mastery of a new system. Also of course it follows Wheatstone's idea behind the English Connie which I am attempting to master.

Right can I get on with my new Kitchen now? ;-)

Andy


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Subject: RE: Tuning a Thumb Piano
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 03:12 PM

I tune mine to the Black Notes of my Hohner Melodica in honour of Rahsaan Roland Kirk - B L A C K - N U S S!


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Subject: RE: Tuning a Thumb Piano
From: Little Robyn
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 09:16 PM

Robin, about 40 years ago I found a Hugh Tracey Kalimba in a music shop in Melbourne (while we were over the ditch on holiday). (Did you see the stage show, "Wait a minum" when it came to this part of the world?)
There were 2 types/scales available, one starting with doh as the longest one, the other starting halfway up the scale. I chose the Alto that gave a 2 octave scale from G to G.
I think the other was Treble and I'm not sure if it started from C or D but was still in the key of G. Just read the booklet (still in mint condition) - the Treble has 17 keys from low B to top D.
So to tune yours, with only 7 notes, you probably want:
L to R: E,C,A,G,B,D,F#
Hold it in both hands, thumbs on top. Hit the longest key (G) with your right thumb, then the next (A) with the left thumb, B with the right, C with the left, D with the right, E with the left and F# with the right.
Or tune it to any scale you fancy but the idea is the same - the longest in the middle and sloping up each side to the highest notes, with the notes alternating from side to side.

Robyn


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Subject: RE: Tuning a Thumb Piano
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Dec 08 - 01:25 AM

The basic tuning I had guessed - but this is not really in any tuning as people have been 'fiddling around' in the shop...

Little Robyn - I sadly don't have 'the booklet' to which you refer. :-)

Sadly, I currently cannot watch Youtube usefully via dialup...

So for generic Western folk/pop I'll just tune it the obvious way that I had figured - but it doesn't hurt to ask... :-)... maybe I might go back and try to get another one or two - or would if it hadn't been the last one!

As I said, this was the first one at a reasonable price that looked any way decent.

Thanks guys!

Robin


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