How to make your own Kalimba Arrangement?

Own Kalimba Arrangement
Own Kalimba Arrangement

You might be searching your favorite song over the internet, but somehow can’t find the tabs for it? Then you think maybe you can arrange yourself? But again, you don’t know how to do your own Kalimba arrangement of that song you really like to play.

As you may know, some people with music background or with some good ears for the music can arrange a song or piece without using any other tool. We’ll it is not the case for everyone, specially those beginners for music. So here we are giving you some help that can make your own music arrangement in some easy steps. It is not 100% that you did the arrangement yourself, rather than transposing those existing arrangement from other instruments. But you can claim it when you do some additional technical stuff on it that will make it unique. Without further a do, let us start.

Transposing Piano Keys

Thumb Piano

Kalimba wouldn’t be called a thumb piano if it doesn’t resemble anything for it. Though it is not really created just to be a copy of a piano, it has its own uniqueness. But we will tackle their similarities since it is what we need here.

Piano Keys and Kalimba Tines

International standard C Major Kalimba tuned consist of 2 full octaves and another 3 notes on the next octave. Which these octaves can be directly plotted against the octaves of piano keys. So it means, when you press the C4 in piano key and C4 in Kalimba tines they would sound the same. Take note that we are taking about single key in piano here not the chords (multiple keys) that we will tackle later. Let us also tackle the white keys only as the black keys (accidental) are a little more advance, but we will discuss them as well a little.

Piano Keys and Thumb Piano Keys
Piano Keys and Thumb Piano Keys

The image above will give you guide on what is the equivalent of piano keys to kalimba keys. You can use this as pattern to transpose the piano arrangement to kalimba arrangement.

Where to get existing Piano Arrangement?

There are a lot of YouTube tutorials video for piano which you can copy the melody. Below is the example of keys played in the video wherein you need to copy them. The right side (blueish) is the melody of the songs which is the one you really need. Take note where did the note comes, if its after the C4 or C5 since it would be different octave already. Then the left side (violet)is the accompaniment or rhythm, which you can take note of some part that you can mixed with the melody. It is either by plucking both keys or sliding (glissando) them as a chord, which will give more life to the arrangement.

Piano Keys by Phianonize
Piano Keys by PHianonize

Accidentals or Black Keys

If you find some black keys being used in the video, it is either you skip and look for another one or you can retune your Kalimba and you can follow this guide : How to Tune Your Kalimba?

Transposing Piano Sheet

Now we have done transposing directly from a piano music video by using the same keys and adding some rhythm of our own, let us go one step higher. There are a lot more songs written in music sheet than the videos we can find. These sheets can be converted as well for Kalimba. Though it is much harder than from getting in the videos.

Music Sheet

If you are not a music person or no knowledge at all and saw a music sheet, you might feel overwhelmed. But we will try to make it easier as we can be. Now, you need to find a music sheet online, there are free sheets just google them. Make sure that you will be using a C Major music sheets, this are sheets without any accidentals (# or b) throughout the sheet.

On Different Scale

If you see that the sheet is on another scale, you need to transpose them first, normally sites have an automatic transposing of sheet. Or you can  transpose them manually using a scale chart as you can see below. But you can also play it without transposing, but you need to retune your Kalimba tines to that scale to be able to play it. But its quite tedious to do.

Scale Chart
Scale Chart from DevianArt

Music Notes and Kalimba Keys

Now that you have the music sheet you will arrangement, let us convert the notes one by one. Below is the chart that you will be using to convert from notes to Kalimba Key notation. Just follow them throughout the music sheet, make sure you are taking the melody part which is in the treble clef. The Bass Clef can help you if you can to add the rhythm t your arrangement, some music sheet already showing the chords above the treble clef which is more easier.

Treble Clef Notes to Kalimba
Treble Clef Notes to Kalimba


Doing arrangements is not easy, but when you get used to it, it will just be a memory muscle. But if you can’t do it yourself, you ask some persons you know or you can here Request Kalimba Tabs.

Please leave a comment on your own experience in doing your own arrangement. If there are part which is not clear in our guide, kindly comment down below so we can help you. For the meantime, you can browse our Kalimba repository here. (Kalimba Tabs)