The thumb piano, or mbira is a percussion instrument. The earlier mbira could have been made entirely of wood or bamboo. Mbira consists of a row of metal strips, used as key, attached to an open-ended wooden gourd or hollow resonator.Click to see full answer. Also, what type of instrument is a mbira?The mbira is an instrument from the African continent. It is sometimes called the ‘thumb piano’ because it is played with the thumbs and one finger. The mbira is made of 22 to 28 metal keys attached to a hardwood soundboard called the gwariva, usually placed inside a large gourd to amplify the sound.One may also ask, how do you play an instrument in mbira? Playing the mbira Grow out your nails on the 3 mbira playing thumbs/finger – you want to touch each key with both your nail and about 1 cm (0.4 inch) of your thumb/finger. Your left thumb plays all of the double row of keys. Your right thumb plays ONLY the farthest left (longest) 3 keys in the single row. People also ask, is a mbira a Chordophone? Mbira. Mbira, also called mbila sansa, kilembe, likembe, timbrh, or thumb piano, plucked idiophone (instrument whose sounding parts are resonant solids belonging to the body of the instrument itself)—or more specifically, a lamellaphone—that is unique to Africa and widely distributed throughout the continent.Is a kalimba a percussion instrument?The Sound of the African Thumb Piano (kalimba) The African thumb piano, or kalimba (also called by other names) is an unusual percussion instrument consisting of a number of thin metal blades (keys) mounted on a soundbox or soundboard.