An online platform for documenting, exploring, and learning mbira music.
Edit, play back, and watch mbira scores right in your web browser:
Analytic mbira notation7/2020 A powerful and expressive tool for analyzing and composing mbira pieces, and transforming their harmonic and rhythmic structure.
Learn more (click on the "Analytic" tab) »
Cosmas Magaya / John Kunaka tuning7/2020 In memory of late mbira master Cosmas Magaya, the sound of his mbira, recorded in Feb. 2020, is now the new default for mbira dzavadzimu playback.
Animated Mbira6/2020 Animated visualization of mbira dzavadzimu and matepe scores.
Interviews and recorded tunings2/2020 Meetings with Fradreck Mujuru, Jacob Mafuleni, Forward Kwenda, Tute Chigamba, Chaka Chawasarira, Silika Gomo, Rinos Mukuwurirwa, Newton Gwara, Cosmas Magaya, Leonard Chiyanike, Anthony Zonke, Chief Goronga, John Karima, Albert Chimedza, Kenneth Kabaya in Zimbabwe to discuss the SR project, mbira and tuning diversity, and preservation issues.
Currently, 34 sampled tunings of 5 types of mbira are available.
Explore the wonderful diversity of historical and contemporary scales, and use them for tuning your own instruments.
In 2017, we started a project at the International Library of African Music (ILAM) to make the great variety of mbiras and tunings in the Tracey Instrument Collection, as well as Andrew Tracey's extensive personal archive of transcriptions audible and accessible to the world.
This site also hosts transcriptions from a number of academic publications, e.g. by Andrew Tracey and Paul Berliner, making those more approachable to non-players.
Your personal library
Sign up to access all public content, and to start a personal archive of transcriptions. It is, and will always be, free of charge.
Everything you create is private, unless you decide to individually share it with other users.
As of today, about 300 registered users have created more than 750 transcriptions (80+ being public).
Learning & Inspiration
Use the public material as a starting point for learning traditional repertoire.
You can use the computer-generated playback for rehearsal at any tempo, and to practice the intricate interlocking between multiple parts.
As a seasoned player, get inspiration from tools to transpose and transform pieces, create variations, or compose new ones. You may also translate scores across instrument types.
Mission & Values
This project wants to contribute to the preservation (and expansion) of diversity of mbira music, with a special focus on marginalized traditional instrument types.
It does so by employing digital technology to make knowledge as accessible as possible, and to connect people. Approaching cultural heritage sensitively and sensibly, it maintains a long-term perspective - considering the next generations of players as well as the economic basis of culture bearers who teach this knowledge in the present.