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Google Doodle Celebrates Zimbabwe’s Thumb Piano


Google is celebrating Zimbabwe’s culture with a Google Doodle game that lets you play the country’s national instrument the mbira, which is also known as a thumb piano

The interactive doodle is divided into four chapters and follows a girl as she learns about the mbira after she first hears it being played by a man under a tree.

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The doodle explains that the Mbira is an ancient instrument of Zimbabwe’s Shona people.

The girl then sees a mbira being made – it has between 22 and 28 metal keys with bottle tops, shells or beads on the soundboard that vibrate to make a buzzing sound when played.

As she grows older the girl learns how to play the mbira using a large calabash gourd that amplifies the sound.

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In the last chapter you see her as a grown woman going on stage to perform with a big band – showing how the mbira remains an important sound in modern Zimbabwe.

During the game, you also can learn how to play the following tunes: Nhemamusasa, Bangiza, Taireva, Chemutengure.

The Google Doodle team went to Zimbabwe before putting together their game.

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Watch this clip to find out more about their trip:


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