How to read the Mbira score

First look at the picture below.

There are three types of keys for mbira: tenor, rhythm and bass.

The tenor plays the melody line,
The rhythm plays a high tone beat,
The bass plays low tone beats.

The tenor has 0-8 (sometimes have mbira with 0-9 keys),
Rhythm has 1-7 (sometimes have mbira with 1-8 keys),
The base has 1-7 keys (sometimes have mbira with 1-8 keys).

In the score, the tenor is R,
Rhythm is L,
The base is represented by a circle with an L.

In short, the key on the right side of Mbira is R, and the key on the left side of Mbira is L.

Look the score below, for example.

R and L are displayed in the first frame.

In the next box, 1 is displayed for R cells and 3 is displayed for L cells.
This means playing the tenor 1 key and the rhythm 3 key simultaneously.

In the next box, the R square is blank, and the L square is ③.
This means playing the bass 3.

In the next box, the R square is 1, and the L square is blank.
This means playing the tenor 1.

In this score,
Play tenor 1 key and rhythm 3 key simultaneously.

Play the bass 3.

play the tenor 1.

This is how to read Mbira scores.

The score is just a reference and is like a memorandum. If you rely too much on score, your progress will slow down. Because there is no unique rhythm and melody in the score. Don’t rely too much on score, and try to learn by ear(listening the sounds).