Thumb piano and Thumb drum

Thumb piano (left) purchased in Guadeloupe, Basse-Terre, 1999

Thumb drum (right) purchased in New York City, 1994

From Graciela's Notes

This thumb piano (left) perhaps has another name in the country where I bought it but the salesperson was not able to give me the name. This one is a bit different from the other ones as it has a gourd bottom and a wooden front. It has 10 thin metal tongues that are tuned to be able to play a two-note chord. The instrument is played by using both thumbs at the same time. Nice little instrument. It was purchased in Basse-Terre on the island of Guadaloupe during a Caribbean Cruise in December 1999

The thumbdrum (right) is an ancient folk percussion instrument that originated in Africa and spread throughout the world. It is known by several names, the most common being sansa, kalimba and thumb piano. The resonator on which this particular thumbdrum is built is an acoustically selected hard shell gourd. The tines, or keys, are tempered spring steel, hand cut and rounded. A special non-loosening nut in the bridge makes for easy retuning. This one has accurate tunings in -Pentatonic and Diatonic. To play you pluck the steel tines with the thumbs to create a pleasing, marimba-like sound. This one was made in the United States and I bought it in an African Shop in New York in 1994.

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