This website is dedicated to mbira (lamellophone) music and
its wonderful diversity of instruments, tunings and traditional repertoire.
Foremost a tool for study, it may also help non-players gain insight into musical structure and playing practices.
My long-term goal is to create a learning platform, community and knowledge base where anyone with a (soon ubiquitous)
cheap smartphone can join, get started with the instruments, connect with others, and contribute to.
With an interface which children in primary school can understand.
In doing so, I hope to raise awareness and understanding of the music and its culture,
of the infinite inventiveness of the players and their ancestors,
and perhaps contribute a little to maintaining its diversity.
What can I do here today?
Create mbira transcriptions using a tabular editor and audition them,
with audio loops synthesized from the transcription and instrument samples.
As a registered user you can access all public content,
maintain a personal archive of pieces, and work with them in interesting ways:
The computer playback allows immediate proof-listening and exploration of variations,
tunings, and beat relations of a piece.
You can adjust the tempo to generate rehearsal playback if no playing partners or recording equipment are around.
The score editor offers some musically meaningful operations,
like rotating a part to a new starting point,
or shifting the beat relation of its components.
You can easily isolate single parts of a piece.
A score can be displayed in the background of another,
to transcribe variations and highlight just the differences.
Is it for free?
There are no ads.
It is first of all a labor of love.
If you want to use any of its functionality or content commercially, please contact me.
How about my data - is it safe? Is there a lock-in?
By default, all your data is private. You can individually share pieces with other users.
The server and its database are regularly backed up, the platform is continuously evolving since 2014.
I intend this knowledge base to persist for generations to come, and will take care of its maintenance.
Most likely at some point it will become part of a bigger organization or database.
Currently there is no way to bulk-export data (a feature on the roadmap, but no popular demand so far).
You can directly copy and paste single scores from and to spreadsheets or
other software. If you want to back up pieces to access them without internet, simply saving the web pages does the
What's coming next?
Here's a roadmap of what I'd like to add next:
More types of mbira, foremost Mbira dzaVaNdau.
A visual editor to edit pieces step by step on a picture of the instrument, without memorizing notations.
A mobile phone app featuring the visual editor.
Retuning of sampled instruments, to experiment with different intervals.
A fast and more user friendly tabular editor.
More playback options to make a better rehearsal tool.
On-site community features to enable conversation among users, even on single pieces.
Jocelyn Mory and Zack Moon for their research on Matepe/Hera/Madhebhe and Karimba music
(see yelloweaver.com) and
their great work on adding sound samples and transcriptions of these instruments to the website.