History of the Harmonium

Unlike the instruments previously taught or investigated in Indian music, the harmonium is one of the most commonly used instruments that is not of Indian origin. The harmonium was a European organ that was used in churches during the Middle Ages. The harmonium then resembled a piano in appearance. There were numerous keys, a chair to sit in, and a foot pump for the air. The musician could then play the harmonium with both hands. European music, which is largely harmonic through the use of chords, necessitates this. A chord is formed when three or more notes are played at the same time.

When the British arrived in India in the 18th century, they brought harmoniums with them. Although the foot pedal was kept, a hand-pumped variant was developed. When the harmonium was introduced to North Indian artists, they immediately fell in love with it for a variety of reasons. When the hand-pumped version was released, no foot pedals were required. Sitting on the floor required discipline and practise for an Indian musician. As a result, this floor organ format functioned wonderfully. Second, the harmonium blended very nicely with the flow of the voice. Third, it was far simpler to learn than sarangi. Sarangi is a bowed instrument that was traditionally used to accompany vocalists. It was, however, quite tough to play.

It was, however, quite tough to play. Even though one hand was required to pump air, this was not a problem because Indian music lacks chords. Because Indian music is predominantly melodic, only one hand was required to pump and one hand was required to play the melody.

Despite its European origins, the instrument has achieved great success in Indian musical settings. The harmonium has been employed in practically all genres of music in India, with the exception of South Indian music.

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