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 (ĕm-bîr′ə, əm-)
A musical instrument consisting of a hollow gourd or wooden resonator and a number of usually metal strips that vibrate when plucked. Also called kalimba.

[Of Bantu origin; akin to Shona m-bìrà.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Instruments) an African musical instrument consisting of tuned metal strips attached to a resonating box, which are plucked with the thumbs. Also called: thumb piano
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


A traditional Zimbabwean musical style originating with the Shona people and named for the mbira hand piano which is the style’s primary instrument.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
References in periodicals archive ?
The band's name is taken from the African thumb piano featured on each of the classic funk-soul group's albums.
This has a sound that resembles an African thumb piano but the appearance of a harmonium or pump organ.
And our brief glimpse at the stageshow with the camp's Rory the Tiger mascot and friends on stage suggested it was much more popular with the kids than the African thumb piano session.
Too bad Saarinen didn't dance but instead wandered the stage playing viola de gamba, African thumb piano, and guitar, while five dancers in tattered costumes seemed to stagger endlessly behind a scrim.
This last gives him the ability to play counter melodies in both left and right hands which sometimes sound remarkably like the bubbling tunes of the African thumb piano.
Mango took to the stage with just her African thumb piano, or kalimba, for company and gently eased into My Lung.
He is a composer and singer, as well as playing piano and keyboards, the African thumb piano (known as a sanza) and even a pygmy flute.
On it, Cervantes plays a Humphrey-crafted African thumb piano. But instead of the poly-melodic stylings mbira masters are known for, he plucks away at it like a kid sitting at a toy piano, contributing to the song's dream-like tone.
It's not always easy to be sure which is which, although Yussef assures me that really is an African thumb piano that gives a distinctive percussive texture on Prelude 2 Dreams.
Although Crandell put out his first record in 1980, he's sort of being discovered now that he has substituted the African thumb piano for the guitar.
`Once I learned how to tune it, I was hooked," Crandell said, gently stroking the metal keys of his African thumb piano, the sacred instrument of Zimbabwe.

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