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 remote learning infrastructure,
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 a user interface which primary school children can understand.
In doing so, I hope to raise awareness and understanding of mbira musics and their culture,
of the infinite inventiveness of the players and their ancestors,
and contribute to maintaining mbira 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 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 for rehearsal.
A score can be displayed in the background of another,
to transcribe variations and highlight just the differences.
Use groups to create communities of interest around a shared set of pieces.
Is it for free?
Yes. This website is free of charge to use for personal learning purposes,
There are no ads.
It is first of all a labor of love.
You are free to use the site as part of your teaching business, namely for hosting transcriptions.
Features like groups are designed to support this.
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.
At some point it may become part of a bigger organization sharing the same goals.
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 transcriptions 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:
Community features for interaction between registered users.
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.
More types of mbira.
Other types of [tonal percussive] instruments.
Retuning of sampled instruments, to experiment with different intervals.
More playback options to make a better rehearsal tool.
Collaborators, contributors, and advisors
The Sympathetic Resonances project is greatly indebted to
Dr. Jocelyn Mory and Zack Moon for their research on Matepe/Hera/Madhebhe and Karimba music
(see yelloweaver.com and Jocelyn's open access
dissertation), as well as
our great collaboration when adding sound samples and transcriptions of these instruments to the website.
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 SymRes forum (registered users only),
or to write an email to email@example.com.