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Harmoniums consist of banks of brass reeds (metal tongues which vibrate when air flows over them), a pumping apparatus, stops for drones and a keyboard.
The size of the harmonium is 21 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches or 55 x 27 x 29 cms. app.
Description of the Harmonium
Each harmonium has a bellows at the back that is pumped by one hand while the other hand plays the keyboard.
Inside they contain multiple chambers.
There are different banks of free reeds in each chamber.
The size and shape of each reed in the bank determines its pitch.
Engaging Stops directs the airflow to various chambers.
Each playing Key and each Drone controls the air through oneor multiple reeds within a chamber.
When engaged, Drones provide a continual harmony note and are played in unison with the keyboard.
Parts of the Harmonium
Stops (main) – Usually the top knobs on the front of the instrument.
These Stops control the airflow to the various banks of reeds.
Each chamber will have at least one stop, although there can be multiple stops for a chamber.
Multiple stops may simply allow more air to a chamber for a more powerful sound, or they may control special functions, such as tremolo.
Stops (drone) - The drone strops are usually the knobs on the bottom of the front of the instrument.
Drones control the airflow over fixed reeds that have no keys.
When engaged they provide a continual drone of a harmony note.
There are 4 stops and 3 drones in this harmonium.
Reeds - The reeds are a thin brass tongue set into the opening of a thicker brass base.
Each base is roughly 1/4 inch by 2 inches.
The thin tongue vibrates when air passes through the opening.
Small thin reeds have a higher pitch than wider longer thicker reeds.
Coupler - This relatively simple device physically connects, or couples, two keys.
The result is that playing one key engages two reeds simultaneously.
One key will play two reeds that are one octave apart.
The coupler may be engaged or disengaged by the user.
The harmonium is widely accepted in Indian music.
A popular usage is by followers of various Hindu and Sikh faiths, who use it in the devotional singing of prayers, called bhajan or kirtan.
There will be at least one harmonium in any mandir (Hindu temple) or gurdwara (Sikh temple) around the world.
The harmonium is also commonly accompanied by the tabla as well as a dholak.
It also plays an integral part in Qawwali music.
Almost all Qawwals use the harmonium as their sole musical accompaniment.
It has received international fame as the genre of Qawwali music has been popularized by renowned Pakistani musician such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
The harmonium has been extensively used in popular music. For example, The Beatles used it in many recordings, including "Doctor Robert", "The Inner Light", "We Can Work It Out", "Cry Baby Cry", "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", and "The Word".
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