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Notations: Mbira dzavadzimu
Notations: Mbira dzavadzimu (with extra keys)
Notations: Mbila dzamadeza
Notations: Mbila dzamadeza (bass on right)
Notations: Matepe / Madhebhe / Hera
Notations: Nyonganyonga / Malimba
Notations: 15-key Karimba 'Nyunga Nyunga'
Notations: Mbira dzaVaNdau
Makers & Players in Rural Mozambique
Learn Mbira dzaVaNdau
- How to sample mbiras
- How to slice up recordings (using Reaper)
- How to slice up recordings (using Audacity)
About this website
History / Changelog
Layout - Muchatera Mujuru's Mbira (TIC 125)
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Alternative names of the piece.
Type of Piece
Adapted to the Mbira
Unknown / Other
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Recording / Video
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Details about the source. Who were former sources of the piece? When and were was it obtained by them?
A fascinating bit of mbira history... According to Andrew Tracey's remarks in ILAM's metadata files, it's "... the old type of mhira huru which was played at the Dambatsoko cult centre, near St. Bede's school, S of Rusape. Made by Chaminuka medium Muchatera Mujuru in about 1950, copied from an ancient mbira in his possession, which was said to have been played at Chitungwiza at the time of Pasipamire." "[...] lowest three notes in a different order and not clear if they are tuned to overtone or fundamental, 3 extra keys for left index, sim. to Carl Mauch’s 1870 diagram." "[...] Even Muchatera himself did not really play the three now obsolete L index keys, I remember him just waving his finger over them." Capturing this mbira's tuning was quite tricky: Many keys, though still firmly in place, would just produce sharp metallic noises. So to hear their tone you either had to pluck them very gently, or push them against the bridge with the other hand - which, as I only noticed later, slightly changed the pitch. Fortunately I had recorded almost all keys with the first method, too, sometimes a dozen times or more. After bringing up the levels of each slice in the audio editor and tweaking their onsets, it now sounds quite natural. But I think this one-of-a-kind instrument justifies the effort, and I even added a dedicated animation graphics, so it's now really a virtual mbira. The three left index keys mirror the three right thumb keys: 2" 1" 3. Unfortunately, there seems to be no information how these keys were played. They are also different from the ancient mbira on Carl Mauch's diagram that Tracey mentions, which also has three additional outer keys extending the lower rank. These may [partly] or may not have been played with the index finger; however, Mauch's pitches are also different: 7 6 3. Only the 3 key (doubling the lowest right thumb key) is the same on Mujuru's and Mauch's, as well as on some Gandanga mbiras (whose LI extra key was added by Sekuru Gora, according to Tute Chigamba). So there seems to be quite a demand to have this pitch available for the left hand... It's hard to resist speculating about the use of the left index keys, so let me share a few thoughts. If we look at other mbira types that use the left index finger, there are two predominant ways. On the njari (and as I've recently learned, occasionally even on the mbira dzaVaNdau), the index finger usually plucks together with the thumb. Often in octaves (while adding no harmonic information, this may continue melodic lines in the middle register), and often the double notes on both sides immediately follow each other. On the matepe, the left index finger often plays a contrasting pattern, although individual players (Saini Madera) also play the njari way. If thumb and index keys are to be played together, they must not be too far apart. Maybe that's a reason for the unusual arrangement of the bass keys (3 1 4 instead of 4 3 1) so that the 3's can be played together?
Comments. E.g. Meaning of the piece's name, according to the source?
Mbira dzavadzimu (with extra keys)
Mbila dzamadeza (bass on right)
Matepe / Madhebhe / Hera
Nyonganyonga / Malimba
15-key Karimba 'Nyunga Nyunga'
Which type of instrument is this piece for?
Notation used in the tables below
---- Other Notations
Pitch --> Position
Pitch --> Pitch+Octaves
---- Other Instruments
Pitch --> Mbira dzavadzimu: Pitch (B2, becomes B1)
Pitch --> Mbira dzavadzimu: Pitch (B2, becomes B2)
Pitch --> Mbira dzavadzimu: Pitch (B2, remains B2,)
Shift Down 1
Shift Down 2
Shift Down 3
Shift Up 1
Shift Up 2
Shift Up 3
Cycle Down 1
Cycle Down 2
Cycle Down 3
Cycle Up 1
Cycle Up 2
Cycle Up 3
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