About this site

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:

Is it for free?

Yes. This website can be used free of charge for any non-commercial purpose, under these Terms of Use. 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 job.

What's coming next?

Here's a roadmap of what I'd like to add next:


I would like to offer my special thanks to

About the author

My name is Stefan Franke and I live in Berlin, Germany. I would be glad to hear your comments, questions or ideas. Please don't hesitate to post to the Facebook User Group, or to write an email to mail@sympathetic-resonances.org.