Not sure which Harmonium is right for you? We hope the following information may help you choose the right Harmonium to suit your need.
What is an Indian Harmonium?
The Harmonium is a wind instrument. Bellows are used to push air through banks of reeds to produce sounds. Air passes through reeds as keys are depressed to produce specific notes. It is played with one hand depressing the keys, and the other operating the bellows.
Are there different types of harmoniums for different uses?
Yes, like most musical instruments, there are different models from simple harmoniums to more feature rich models for professionals that include key changers, couplers, multiple banks of reeds and bellows. There are full-featured models designed for the studio, as well as lighter, less full-featured “Traveler” and “Yoga” Harmoniums designed for portability. What are Harmoniums used for in Indian Music? As a “harmony” instrument, Harmoniums are mainly used in Indian music to accompany voice. In this situation, the harmonium is used to maintain key, pitch, and timing. Indian Harmoniums are not normally used to accompany other instruments in the traditional music of India.
What do you look for in a quality Harmonium?
Like Sitars, Tablas, and other handcrafted instruments from India, the quality of a Harmonium will largly depend on the maker, the quality of the woods used, the quality of the reeds. For instance, a better quality Harmonium will have better bellows, capable of releasing air through the instrument at a constant level, producing more consistent pitch. What is the difference between a Simple and a Deluxe Harmonium A simple, or standard Harmomium will usually have 42 keys, 3 ½ Octives, 5-9 Stops, and a single Bellow. More “deluxe” or “professional” Harmoniums may offer a number of additional features such as a Scale Changer, a Coupler, Multifold (2-3) Bellows, Multiple Banks of Reeds, and additional decorations.
What are Stops?
The 4 or 5 knobs in the front of a Harmonium are Stops. The Harmonium is played with Stops pulled out, and are used to control the flow of air going through the instrument. The more Stops that are pulled, the more the air flow. The more air needed, the more pumping of the bellows that is required.
What are Drone Stops?
Some Harmoniums have Drone-Stops to control air flow to one reed that is called a drone. There are no keys needed to activate the drone. They drone continually as long as the Stop is pulled and the air flows. Drones are independent of the Reed-banks.
What are Reed Boards?
There are wooden plates/boards with holes inside the Harmonium, called the Reed Boards. A bank of reeds are mounted on each board with reeds in graduating sizes; the larger the reed the lower the tone The keys are fitted over the holes, with reeds on the other side. When a key is depressed, air passes through a hole in the reed board, and through a reed.
What is a “Coupler” Harmonium?
A Coupler is an added feature that allows you to play a key or sets of keys in two octaves at the same time, with a single stroke. When the coupler is engaged, 2 reeds, one octave apart on the same reed board, are engaged when play when one key is depressed. With the coupler engaged, it sounds like more than one harmonium playing.
What is a Scale Changer Harmonium?
These harmonium have a knob under the keyboard on the front that slides left to right. It physically slides the reed-bank to the left or right and repositions it under the keys. In this way a player can play the same keys and get a different range of notes.
What is a Yoga Harmonium?
Harmoniums designed for Yoga practice are smaller and lighter, which makes them more portable. Therefore, they are simple in features, have fewer keys, and come tuning to specific pitch ranges. Where a standard Harmonium may have 42 keys, a Yoga Harmonium may have only 26 keys.