Classical KPack

These 20 songs are available from the KTabS Store in both Treble and Alto formats. The songs are listed here in order of playing difficulty, easiest (1 thumb) to hardest (10 thumbs). While the first few pieces are suitable for beginners, the majority of music in the KPack requires some advanced kalimba techniques.

If you would like to read up on kalimba technique, you can start by reading the introduction to Mark Holdaway's book, Treble Fundamentals Book, which will help with glissandos (even if you own an Alto). If you still need more help, you may want to purchase either the Treble Fundamentals Book or the, both of which are available from the KalimbaMagic website.

Click on a song title to hear an mp3 sample of KTabS playing the music. The sound you hear in the sample may not be the default sound that your KTabS program plays, but with the latest version of KTabS you can change the midi playback instrument.

1. New World Symphony (Version 1)

Difficulty: 1 Thumb
The "Going Home" theme from Dvorak's New World Symphony is both beautiful and simple. It is presented here in a melody-only format.

2. Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (Version 1)

Difficulty: 1 Thumb
This classic Beethoven melody is written without harmonies, making it a great piece for beginners.

3. New World Symphony (Version 2)

Difficulty: 2 Thumbs
This version of Dvorak's "Going Home" theme has nice harmonies, but the music moves slowly, so it is still very easy to play.

4. Brahm's Lullaby (Version 1)

Difficulty: 2 Thumbs
We kept it simple with a few pretty chords to make this lullaby as soothing to play as to listen to.

5. Brahm's Lullaby (Version 2)

Difficulty: 3 Thumbs
More beautiful chords make this version as pretty as can be. The Alto Version has one tricky chord at the end-- you can either: 1) start on the low G with your right thumb, then do a slow glissando through the G-B-D on the left, and finish the glissando with your right thumb on the high G; or 2) use your right index finger to pluck the high G.

6. Gymnopedia

Difficulty: 3 Thumbs for Alto version, 4 Thumbs for Treble version
This is the best known of the Gymnopedies written by Erik Satie in Paris in 1888. It is an elegantly beautiful, slow piece with simple harmonies which evoke a dream-like quality. The Treble version requires retuning to the key of D (by raising the three C tines half a step to C#.) Both versions require some good left-right cooperation-- in measures 6 and 8, the left thumb goes over to the right side, and in measure 9, the right thumb goes over to the left side. This pattern is repeated throughout the piece.

7. Minuet in G

Difficulty: 4 Thumbs
A lively Bach tune that is a delight to play. This is the theme which was cast into 4/4 time in the 1970s as "Bach ala Rock". As the minuet is a dance in 3/4 time, we return the rhythm to its rightful time. But would Bach be rolling over at the idea of an African kalimba playing this piece of his music? We rather think he would be tickled.

8. March

Difficulty: 4 Thumbs
An upbeat excerpt from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker March. You can substitute two notes for the triplet if it is too fast for you.

9. Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (Version 2)

Difficulty: 4 Thumbs
In this version, we add harmonies, mostly on the first beat of each measure, but there is some counterpoint (a counter melody) as well.

10. Bridal Chorus

Difficulty: 4 Thumbs
An organ isn't the only instrument well-suited for church. See how beautiful a kalimba can sound playing this famous piece.

11. Theme from Masterpiece Theatre

Difficulty: 5 Thumbs
Also known as "Rondeau", this famous piece is written for the kalimba with lots of fanfare and a trill at the end.

12. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Difficulty: 6 Thumbs
A lovely arrangement of this Bach classic.

13. Wachet Auf (Sleeper Awake)

Difficulty: 6 Thumbs
The name may not be familiar, but perhaps you will still recognize this Bach tune. A shortened version of his chorale, it has a slow pace and soothing melody that can be repeated over and over again.

14. Jupiter Hymn

Difficulty: 6 Thumbs
This piece tracks the beautiful folk melody in the middle of Gustav Holst's "Jupiter, Bringer of Joviality". Also known as the Jupiter Chorale, Holst described the emotion of this section as "the more ceremonial type of rejoicing associated with religious or national festivities." The melody keeps building in a stately way both in pitch and in intensity, reaching upwards towards glory.

15. Promenade

Difficulty: 6 Thumbs
This excerpt from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at and Exhibition" shows off the interesting chords a kalimba can make. The tricky notes in the last measure can be played by doing a slow glissando so your right thumb can start the chord and end it, too. Or, use your right index finger to play the high note on the right side.

16. Jupiter Celebration

Difficulty: 7 Thumbs
This is one of several excited celebratory melodies from Gustav Holst's Jupiter, from The Planets Suite. A simple melody is presented in the first 8 measures, and then each variation embellishes it with different harmonies, first building, and then simplifying.

17. Hallelujah

Difficulty: 8 Thumbs
This joyous excerpt from Handel's "Messiah" is a challenge to play, but when you master it you will be singing "Hallelujah!" Try playing the 16th notes with an up-down or down-up stroke of the thumb. Like double-tonguing on a horn, this is a tricky technique to master, but it greatly expands the music available to you. An alternative to the double sixteenths is to replace them with a single eighth note, which will sound like "Ha-lu-jah".

18. Water Music

Difficulty: 8 Thumbs
This is the first half of one of the most recognized movements of Handel's "Water Music". Stately and regal, it sounds very British and very royal. Your tempo will likely be limited by the sixteenth note run in measure 24, though sliding your thumb nail between adjacent notes can help you play this phrase more quickly.

19. Pachelbel's Canon

Difficulty: 10 Thumbs
Pachelbel's Canon is one of the most popular pieces of baroque music. This piece of music starts out with a very simple bass part, and increasingly complicated harmonies and melodies and counter melodies are laid densely upon the simple and repetitive chord structure defined by the initial bass part. The kalimba lives up to the challenge of this music fairly well, at some places reproducing three of the parts at once, but mostly the kalimba arrangement merely hints at parts of the melody lines as they float by. Yet, this is the most complex of the pieces we present in this Classical KPack. The Treble version requires retuning to the key of D (by raising the three C tines half a step to C#.)

20. William Tell Overture

Difficulty: 10 Thumbs
Super hard to play on the kalimba, and super fun to listen to in KTabS. Tune your kalimba to the key of C by turning the "F#s" into "Fs". Try playing the 16th notes with an up-down or down-up stroke of the thumb, and slide your thumb across adjacent notes to help keep things moving along.

To play the Classical files you will need to:

1) Register on our site

2) Download the KTabS Reader for FREE


2) Download a free 15 day trial of the full KTabS software, which will also let you create your own kalimba music (only $30 to purchase later)

3) Purchase the Classical files from our KTabS Store

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