As a kalimba player who has collected many different types of musical instruments over the years, I have been curious about the current kalimba apps that are available on the smartphone and have even contemplated whether to build my own app for the kalimba at some point. This is why I decided to download all of the free kalimba apps currently on the App Store to share with you which ones are the best kalimba apps. But also, I am going to share some some paid ones too.
Rating is 8/10
The first app I downloaded is called Keylimba which is a virtual kalimba app that lets you play the instrument and uses pre-recorded sounds. After playing the virtual instrument for a little while I found that there was a slight delay after pressing each note. This obviously is not the case when you play the real instrument.
Playing the virtual kalimba compared to holding a rectangular kalimba or round thumb piano was very different. When I opened the app, it automatically switched the display to landscape mode. There are many options in the settings such as a a record button that allows you to play and record your session and afterwards it will replay.
It uses midi to remember your key sequences, if a kalimba player wanted to play it could be useful and considering that the app has had more than 10,000,000 total downloads and is rated 4.7. This is with no doubt one of the most popular kalimba apps ever made, it’s just a shame that it lacks in functionality and is such a simple app.
It is great for anyone who doesn’t have a kalimba but wants one as you can experiment and learn how the instrument works. It is great fun playing with the app but it cannot replace a real instrument. The app doesn’t show you the basics of kalimba which means that you have to figure everything out for yourself. If you don’t know how to play the kalimba, you may find the app confusing.
The app is slightly unstable, You can customise the look of the kalimba and change the colour. There is an emoji face that reacts to when you play. The app has haptic feedback which means that when you interact with the notes, it will cause the phone to slightly vibrate. You can use the app to tune your kalimba
The app has a paywall which unlocks other instrument sounds but whether it is worth it or not is debated especially considering how basic it is. The software developer described the app as cute and lightweight interface, adjustable 8-21 key range, built-in looper to record and playback sound, and customisable key markings and background colours.
Rating is 8/10
Tuner pitched is one of the best kalimba tuning apps. This app is great for any kalimba player who wants to tune their musical instrument. Sometimes the kalimba tines get knocked or can come loose causing the instrument to go out of tune. The app connects to your phones microphone so that you can pluck the note on your kalimba then it advises which way you need to move the tine to get it to the right note. Due to the sensitivity of the microphone, you will need to play your kalimba in a quiet room so that it doesn’t pick up on background noise as this will interfere with you tuning your instrument.
To use this app you must have a kalimba and have basic knowledge of how to use and tune a kalimba. Tuning your kalimba can be frustrating and difficult if you don’t know how to and so for this reason, we offer a budget Kalimba tuning service where you can send your instrument to us, we will tune it and send it back.
Smart Kalimba: Kalimba Tuning
Rating is 6/10
This is another simple app that is similar to the keylimba app, you can play the virtual instrument and tune your kalimba. This app lacks functionality.
Rating is 7/10
After opening for the first time you are given the option to learn kalimba, play songs or practice the kalimba. There are multiple ads at the bottom of the screen including an advert by the company who developed the app prompting you to pay £4.99 for the premium version of the app before you have even had a chance to do anything on it. The premium version promises to unlock all songs, remove ads, unlock all reverbs, unlock all colours, provide free updates and give you unlimited access. It states; this is a special offer and that app used to be £36.42, which is a complete lie and is unreasonable.
The app can be used in portrait mode or landscape but looks weird and squished when on portrait as all of the elements are centred and minified. Real kalimba is based on a virtual kalimba, it is a simple app that can be useful for anyone who want to learn the kalimba however it is more like a game.
In the settings you can add sound effects like reverb, change the language, change the tuning of your kalimba, customise the kalimbas appearance, kalimba volume, and amount of tines from 8 tines to 17 keys. It supports haptics which can be useful to give people a realistic feel to help them enjoy playing the kalimba in the app.
In the submenu there are three types of modes; practice mode features the virtual kalimba which is an open mode allowing you to play as much as you want and you even have the option to record your own kalimba songs and save the recording to use outside of the app. This is useful if you want to create your own kalimba songs but has does have many limitations. Recording the audio and the video would revolutionise the app but unfortunately that is not a feature that is available.
Songs mode gives you a song to learn and is displayed in a game; to play the game, the notes scroll down the screen and you have to press each note before it reaches the bottom line. After playing the notes and for finishing the song you can earn points that can be used to customise the colour of the wood. If you want you can get more points by purchasing them in the app. The notes sound like a real kalimba but there is an advert after each song which is very annoying.
The third mode is tabs mode, this one gives you a basic knowledge of learning to play the kalimba. When selecting this mode, it shows a couple of songs and after you click on one of them it shows you the notation so that you can play the song on your physical kalimba. This is a very basic feature and to select specific songs you will either have to pay for the premium version or play an advert video, this feature is terrible in comparison to the free kalimba tabs on our website.
The conclusion is that the virtual learning app allows a person to learn the basics but does not give you a structured way of learning and you are left to explore for yourself without much guidance. For anyone who understands how the kalimba works; they will understand the app but not need the app. For a beginner, the app will be a bit confusing to use as nothing is explained. If you wanted to play the kalimba on an app you might find this fun but if you are interested in learning to play the kalimba, you should get a physical instrument.
Rating is 9/10
The Kalimbeo app gives you a good overview to learn to play instrument as it provides tabs that have letter and number notes. Upon opening the app, there are four sections. The first section is called latest and shows you the latest tabs that they have added to the app.
Other sections include; easy tabs, normal tabs and hard tabs. I like this feature because it separates kalimba players with different abilities making it more suitable for anyone to enjoy, learn to play and have a good overall experience. Overall the app is straightforward, provides free kalimba song tabs that can be played with a real kalimba or in the app. I didn't come across many ads which was surprising but these may have been added to the app by now. You also have the option to save the tabs which are added to the saved tabs section so that you can refer back to them later. In the settings you are able to change the layout from dark mode to light mode. This is the overall winner, the only way that it could be improved is by adding a tuner for physical instruments.
Rating is 7/10
The kalimba connect app is full of adverts that automatically play which is very annoying. It has a virtual kalimba that is similar to other kalimba apps but it gives you a daily challenge which can motivate you to learn the instrument. For each challenge it gives a rating to the user. In the main menu, you can select songs based on specific categories, these include; popular, trending, newest, Christmas, Immortal Songs, and film.
Some songs you can play immediately but others you have to watch the advert to unlock the song. After you have unlocked many songs you can play the app offline. The benefit to this is that when connected to the Internet, there are more ads than when you are not using it with internet. The daily challenge is not available if playing offline. The app is primarily about the free play mode which features the virtual kalimba. You can also use the app to record your audio session. In a sub menu called my songs, you can see the recent songs that you have played and also any songs that you liked.
Rating is 8/10
This is a useful app for every kalimba lover that has plenty of features and is great for beginners. Fun layout interface that is bright and features a panda. In the settings section there is account, language, screen rotation lock, a feature that allows you to release your finger to play the note, for the songs you can change the play speed, play mode, instruments, how long you want to sustain the sound as well as interface customisation options including background colour, label type, label style, and keys colour.
The app has a huge list of songs that you can play and uses number and letter notation. You can create an account and sign in to access more content with the option to login with your Facebook ID. The default language is English but there are more than 20 languages so that people around the world can play and understand the content.
In the song section you can adjust the playing speed which makes the song play slower of faster. The play section has three modes, these are autoplay, free and practice mode. Auto Play has a virtual hand that helps you by giving a demonstration of how to play every song and how to use the virtual kalimba.
There are different instruments such as piano, xylophone, organ, and more. There are 24 background colours for the virtual kalimba layout which allows you fully customise your playing experience. The emoticon is by default a graphical cartoon panda bear but can also be changed to many different cartoon animal characters. This feature is not necessary but it helps make the app fun whilst assisting you as an in app partner that can help you learn to play.
Rating is 5/10
Pocket kalimba is a basic app that gives you a virtual kalimba with letter and number notation. The basic features like tuning the in app kalimba is there, the instrument can be slightly altered from 17 notes to 12 notes with other customisations such as changing from the scale of G minor to the scale of C major. This app lacks many features but is useful for helping a beginner learn the basics.
Up next: Popular Kalimba Brands