This is the tuning description for my kalimba, but I have no idea how to read it. I don’t know the difference between capital letters and lowercase nor the meaning of the apostrophes.

Tuning: a' c" c' a' A f' e' e" b'

  • 1
    including an image of the instrument might help Jun 2 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


The notes are named using Helmholtz pitch notation, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helmholtz_pitch_notation

The corresponding note names in scientific notation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_pitch_notation) are:

Helmholtz:  a' c" c' a' A  f' e' e" b'
Scientific: A4 C5 C4 A4 A2 F4 E4 E5 B4

However, I wonder if A (A2) is perhaps a mistake, and it should be a (A3) instead?

Edit: Looking at Meinl webpage it seems it might be KA9P-AB kalimba model. https://meinlpercussion.com/en/products/ka9p-ab-m8609.html

The actual scale is presented here:

and it is: a c' e' f' g' a' b' c" e" or: A3 C4 E4 F4 G4 A4 B4 C5 E5

  • two a's also seems unlikely Jun 3 at 2:52
  • @ElementsinSpace Not really. The prefab tunings of these things are often really redundant. They seem to be mostly intended for chords and pentatonic scales and the like. Not all though, and they are easy to retune if you want to play melodies.
    – EdvinW
    Jun 3 at 17:38
  • @EdvinW thanks for this comment. I don't know much about kalimba, I answered about what I know about notation, and what I could hear in the recording. Jun 3 at 20:46

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