Harmonium
Overview
A harmonium is a free-standing keyboard instrument
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

 similar to a reed organ
Reed organ
A reed organ, also called a parlor organ, pump organ, cabinet organ, cottage organ, is an organ that generates its sounds using free metal reeds...

. Sound is produced by air being blown through sets of free reeds
Free reed aerophone
A free reed aerophone is a musical instrument where sound is produced as air flows past a vibrating reed in a frame. Air pressure is typically generated by breath or with a bellows.- Operation :...

, resulting in a sound similar to that of an accordion
Accordion
The accordion is a box-shaped musical instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist....

. The air is usually supplied by bellows
Bellows
A bellows is a device for delivering pressurized air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location.Basically, a bellows is a deformable container which has an outlet nozzle. When the volume of the bellows is decreased, the air escapes through the outlet...

 operated by the foot, hand, or knees.

In North America, the most common pedal-pumped free-reed keyboard instrument is known as the "American reed organ", (or "parlor organ", "pump organ", "cabinet organ", "cottage organ", etc.) and along with the earlier melodeon
Melodeon (organ)
A melodeon is a type of 19th century reed organ with a foot-operated vacuum bellows, and a piano keyboard. It differs from the related harmonium, which uses a pressure bellows. Melodeons were manufactured in the United States sometime after 1812 until the Civil War era...

, is operated by a suction bellows where air is sucked through the reeds to produce the sound.
Encyclopedia
A harmonium is a free-standing keyboard instrument
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

 similar to a reed organ
Reed organ
A reed organ, also called a parlor organ, pump organ, cabinet organ, cottage organ, is an organ that generates its sounds using free metal reeds...

. Sound is produced by air being blown through sets of free reeds
Free reed aerophone
A free reed aerophone is a musical instrument where sound is produced as air flows past a vibrating reed in a frame. Air pressure is typically generated by breath or with a bellows.- Operation :...

, resulting in a sound similar to that of an accordion
Accordion
The accordion is a box-shaped musical instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist....

. The air is usually supplied by bellows
Bellows
A bellows is a device for delivering pressurized air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location.Basically, a bellows is a deformable container which has an outlet nozzle. When the volume of the bellows is decreased, the air escapes through the outlet...

 operated by the foot, hand, or knees.

In North America, the most common pedal-pumped free-reed keyboard instrument is known as the "American reed organ", (or "parlor organ", "pump organ", "cabinet organ", "cottage organ", etc.) and along with the earlier melodeon
Melodeon (organ)
A melodeon is a type of 19th century reed organ with a foot-operated vacuum bellows, and a piano keyboard. It differs from the related harmonium, which uses a pressure bellows. Melodeons were manufactured in the United States sometime after 1812 until the Civil War era...

, is operated by a suction bellows where air is sucked through the reeds to produce the sound. A reed organ with a pressure bellows that pushes the air through the reeds is referred to as a "harmonium".

In much of Europe, the term harmonium is used to describe all pedal-pumped keyboard free-reed instruments, making no distinction whether it has a pressure or suction bellows
Bellows
A bellows is a device for delivering pressurized air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location.Basically, a bellows is a deformable container which has an outlet nozzle. When the volume of the bellows is decreased, the air escapes through the outlet...

.

In India, the term generally refers to a hand-pumped instrument.

History

Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein (1723–1795), professor of physiology at Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, was credited with the first free-reed instrument to be made in the Western world, after winning the annual prize in 1780 from the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg. The harmonium's design incorporates free reeds and derives from the earlier regal. A harmonium-like instrument was exhibited by Gabriel Joseph Grenié (1756–1837) in 1810. He called it an orgue expressif (expressive organ), because his instrument was capable of greater expression, as well as of producing a crescendo
Crescendo
-In music:*Crescendo, a passage of music during which the volume gradually increases, see Dynamics * Crescendo , a Liverpool-based electronic pop band* "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue", one of Duke Ellington's longer-form compositions...

 and diminuendo. Alexandre Debain improved Grenié's instrument and gave it the name harmonium when he patented his version in 1840. There was concurrent development of similar instruments. A mechanic who had worked in the factory of Alexandre in Paris emigrated to the United States and conceived the idea of a suction bellows, instead of the ordinary bellows which forced the air outward through the reeds. The firm of Mason & Hamlin, of Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, in 1860 made their instruments with the suction bellows, and this method of construction soon superseded all others in America.

Harmoniums reached the height of their popularity in the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were especially popular in small churches and chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s where a pipe organ
Pipe organ
The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each organ pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass...

 would be too large or too expensive. Harmoniums generally weigh less than similar sized piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

s and are not as easily damaged in transport, thus they were also popular throughout the colonies of the European powers in this period not only because it was easier to ship the instrument out to where it was needed, but it was also easier to transport overland in areas where good-quality roads and railways may have been non-existent. An added attraction of the harmonium in tropical regions was that the instrument held its tune regardless of heat and humidity, unlike the piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

. This "export" market was sufficiently lucrative for manufacturers to produce harmoniums with cases impregnated with chemicals to prevent woodworm
Woodworm
A woodworm is not a specific species. It is the larval stage of certain woodboring beetles including:*Ambrosia beetles *Bark borer beetle / Waney edge borer *Common furniture beetle...

 and other damaging organisms found in the tropics.

At the peak of the instruments' Western popularity around 1900, a wide variety of styles of harmoniums were being produced. These ranged from simple models with plain cases and only four or five stops
Organ stop
An organ stop is a component of a pipe organ that admits pressurized air to a set of organ pipes. Its name comes from the fact that stops can be used selectively by the organist; some can be "on" , while others can be "off" .The term can also refer...

 (if any at all), up to large instruments with ornate cases, up to a dozen stops and other mechanisms such as couplers. Expensive harmoniums were often built to resemble pipe organ
Pipe organ
The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each organ pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass...

s, with ranks of fake pipes attached to the top of the instrument. Small numbers of harmoniums were built with two manuals (keyboards). Some were even built with pedal keyboards, which required the use of an assistant to run the bellows or, for some of the later models, an electrical pump. These larger instruments were mainly intended for home use, such as allowing organist
Organist
An organist is a musician who plays any type of organ. An organist may play solo organ works, play with an ensemble or orchestra, or accompany one or more singers or instrumental soloists...

s to practise on an instrument on the scale of a pipe organ, but without the physical size or volume of such an instrument. For missionaries, chaplains in the armed forces, travelling evangelists, and the like, reed organs that folded up into a container the size of a very large suitcase or small trunk were made; these had a short keyboard and few stops, but they were more than adequate for keeping hymn singers more or less on pitch.

The invention of the electronic organ
Electronic organ
An electronic organ is an electronic keyboard instrument which was derived from the harmonium, pipe organ and theatre organ. Originally, it was designed to imitate the sound of pipe organs, theatre organs, band sounds, or orchestral sounds....

 in the mid-1930s spelled the end of the harmonium's success in the West (although its popularity as a household instrument declined in the 1920s as musical tastes changed). The Hammond organ
Hammond organ
The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 and manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company. While the Hammond organ was originally sold to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ, in the 1960s and 1970s it became a standard keyboard...

 could imitate the tonal quality and range of a pipe organ whilst retaining the compact dimensions and cost-effectiveness of the harmonium whilst reducing maintenance needs and allowing a greater number of stops
Organ stop
An organ stop is a component of a pipe organ that admits pressurized air to a set of organ pipes. Its name comes from the fact that stops can be used selectively by the organist; some can be "on" , while others can be "off" .The term can also refer...

 and other features. By this time, harmoniums had reached high levels of mechanical complexity, not only through the need to provide instruments with a greater tonal range, but also due to patent laws (especially in North America). It was common for manufacturers to patent the action mechanism used on their instruments, thus requiring any new manufacturer to develop their own version; as the number of manufacturers grew, this led to some instruments having hugely complex arrays of levers, cranks, rods and shafts, which made replacement with an electronic instrument even more attractive.

The last mass-producer of harmoniums in the West was the Estey company, which ceased manufacture in the mid-1950s. As the existing stock of instruments aged and spare parts became hard to find, more and more were either scrapped or sold. It was not uncommon for harmoniums to be "modernised" by having electric blowers fitted, often very unsympathetically. The majority of Western harmoniums today are in the hands of enthusiasts, though the instrument remains popular in South Asia.

The South Asian harmonium has undergone changes, however, from the Western prototype. South Asian music is based on melody, rather than harmony, which makes two-handed playing unnecessary, and South Asian musicians are used to sitting cross-legged on the ground or kneeling to play, rather than on a chair or bench. Hence, the substructure has been removed, and the bellows moved to the back of the instrument, where they are operated with one hand while the other plays the keyboard. Drone stops for a bagpipe-like effect have also been added.

Construction

Harmoniums consist of banks of brass reeds (metal tongues that vibrate when air flows over them), a pumping apparatus, stops for drones (some models feature a stop that causes a form of vibrato), and a keyboard. The harmonium's timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

, despite its similarity to the accordion's, is actually produced in a critically different way. Instead of the bellows causing a direct flow of air over the reeds, an external feeder bellows inflates an internal reservoir bellows inside the harmonium from which air escapes to vibrate the reeds. This design is similar to bagpipes, as it allows the harmonium to create a continuously sustained sound. (Some better-class harmoniums of the 19th and early 20th centuries incorporated an "expression stop" that bypassed the reservoir, allowing a skilled player to regulate the strength of the air flow directly from the pedal-operated bellows and so to achieve a certain amount of direct control over dynamics.) If a harmonium has two sets of reeds, it is possible that the second set of reeds (either tuned unison or an octave lower) can be activated by a stop, which means each key pressed will play two reeds. Professional harmoniums feature a third set of reeds, either tuned an octave higher or in unison to the middle reed. This overall makes the sound fuller. In addition, many harmoniums feature an octave coupler, a mechanical linkage that opens a valve for a note an octave above or below the note being played, and a scale changing mechanism, which allows one to play in various keys while fingering the keys of one scale.

Harmoniums are made with one, two, three or, occasionally, six sets of reeds. Classical instrumentalists usually use one-reed harmoniums, while a musician who plays for a qawaali (Islamic devotional singing) usually uses a three-reed harmonium.

India and Pakistan

During the mid-19th century, missionaries brought French-made hand-pumped harmoniums to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The instrument quickly became popular there: it was portable, reliable and easy to learn. It has remained popular to the present day, and the harmonium remains an important instrument in many genres of Indian music
Music of India
The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and developed over several eras. It remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as...

. It is commonly found in Indian homes. Though derived from the designs developed in France, the harmonium was developed further in India in unique ways, such as the addition of drone stops and a scale-changing mechanism.

In Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, Dwarkanath Ghose of the Dwarkin company modified the imported harmony flute and developed the hand-held harmonium, which has subsequently become an integral part of the Indian music scenario. Dwijendranath Tagore
Dwijendranath Tagore
See Tagore for disambiguationDwijendranath Tagore was an Indian poet, song composer, philosopher, mathematician, and a pioneer in Bengali shorthand and musical notations.-Formative years:...

 is credited with having used the imported instrument in 1860 in his private theatre, but it was probably a pedal-pumped instrument that was cumbersome or possibly some variation of the reed organ. Initially it aroused curiosity, but gradually people started playing it, and Ghose took the initiative to modify it. It was in response to the Indian needs that the hand-held harmonium was introduced. All Indian musical instruments are played with the musician sitting on the floor or on a stage, behind the instrument or holding it in his hands. In that era, Indian homes did not use tables and chairs. Also, Western music being harmonically based, both a player's hands were needed to play the chords, thus assigning the bellows to the feet was the best solution; Indian music, being melodically based, only one hand was necessary to play the melody, and the other hand was free for the bellows.

The harmonium was widely accepted in Indian music, particularly Parsi and Marathi stage music, in the late 19th century. By the early 20th century, however, in the context of nationalist movements that sought to depict India as utterly separate from the West, the harmonium came to be portrayed as an unwanted foreigner. Technical concerns with the harmonium included its inability to produce meend
Meend
In Hindustani music, meend refers to a glide from one note to another. It is an essential performance practice, and is used often in vocal and instrumental music. On the veena, sitar, and other plucked stringed instruments, it is usually done by pushing the strings across the frets to vary their...

 (slides between notes) and the fact that, once tuned, it cannot be adjusted in the course of performance. The former prevents it from articulating the subtle inflections (such as andolan, gentle oscillation) so crucial to many ragas; the latter prevents it from articulating the subtle differences in intonational color between a given svara in two different ragas. For these reasons, it was banned from All-India Radio from 1940 to 1971. (Indeed, a ban still stands on harmonium solos.) On the other hand, many of the harmonium's qualities suited it very well for the newly reformed classical music of the early 20th century: it is easy for amateurs to learn; it supports group singing and large voice classes; it provides a template for standardized raga grammar; it is loud enough to provide a drone in a concert hall. For these reasons, it has become the instrument of choice for accompanying most North Indian classical vocal genres, though it is still despised due to its foreign origin by some connoisseurs of Indian music, who prefer the sarangi
Sarangi
The Sārangī is a bowed, short-necked string instrument of India which is originated from Rajasthani folk instruments. It plays an important role in India's Hindustani classical music tradition...

 as an accompanying instrument for khyal
Khyal
Khyal is the modern genre of classical singing in North India. Its name comes from an Arabic word meaning "imagination". It is thought to have developed out of the qawwali singing style. It appeared more recently than dhrupad, is a more free and flexible form, and it provides greater scope for...

 singing.

A popular usage is by followers of the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 and Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

 faiths, who use it to accompany their devotional songs (bhajan
Bhajan
A Bhajan is any type of Indian devotional song. It has no fixed form: it may be as simple as a mantra or kirtan or as sophisticated as the dhrupad or kriti with music based on classical ragas and talas. It is normally lyrical, expressing love for the Divine...

 or kirtan
Kirtan
Kirtan or Kirtana is call-and-response chanting or "responsory" performed in India's devotional traditions. A person performing kirtan is known as a kirtankar. Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, tablas, the two-headed...

). There is at least one harmonium in any mandir (Hindu temple) or gurdwara
Gurdwara
A Gurdwara , meaning the Gateway to the Guru, is the place of worship for Sikhs, the followers of Sikhism. A Gurdwara can be identified from a distance by tall flagpoles bearing the Nishan Sahib ....

 (Sikh temple) around the world.

The harmonium is commonly accompanied by the tabla
Tabla
The tabla is a popular Indian percussion instrument used in Hindustani classical music and in popular and devotional music of the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres...

 as well as a dholak
Dholak
The Dholak is a North Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese double-headed hand-drum Madal. The name dholki may also refer to a slightly different instrument that uses high-pitch tabla style syahi masala on its treble skin. This instrument is also known as Naal or Dholki....

. To Sikhs, the harmonium is known as the vaja/baja. It is also referred to as a "Peti" (literally, box) in some parts of North India and Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

.

The harmonium plays an integral part in Qawwali
Qawwali
Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in South Asia, particularly in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan, Hyderabad, Delhi, and other parts of northern India...

 music. Almost all Qawwals use the harmonium as their sole musical accompaniment. It has received international exposure as the genre of Qawwali music has been popularized by renowned Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i musicians, including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

There is some discussion of Indian harmonium makers producing reproductions of Western-style reed organs for the export trade.

22-shruti harmonium

Vidyadhar Oke has developed a 22-shruti harmonium, which can play the 22 Indian shruti
Sruti (music)
The shruti is a Sanskrit term used in several contexts throughout the history of the Indian music. A shruti is the smallest interval of pitch the ear can detect.-Contexts:...

s (microtones) in an octave, as required in Indian classical music. http://www.22shruti.com The fundamental tone (Shadja) and the fifth (Pancham) are fixed, but the other ten notes have two microtones each, one higher and one lower. The higher microtone is selected by pulling out a knob below the key. In this way, the 22-shruti harmonium can be tuned for any particular raga by simply pulling out knobs wherever a higher shruti is required.

Samvadini

Bhishmadev Vedi is said to have been the first to contemplate improving the instrument by augmenting it with a string box like a harp attached to the top of the instrument. His disciple, Manohar Chimote, later implemented this concept and also provided the name "Samvadini" to this instrument - this name has now gained widespread acceptance. Bhishmadev Vedi is also said to have been among the first to contemplate and design compositions specifically for the harmonium, styled along the lines of "tantakari" - performance of music on stringed instruments. These compositions tend to have a lot of cut notes and high-speed passages, creating an effect similar to that of a string being plucked.

Harmonium Acoustics

The acoustical effects described below are a result of the free-reed mechanism. Therefore, they are essentially identical for the Western and Indian harmoniums and the reed organ.

History

In 1875, Hermann von Helmholtz
Hermann von Helmholtz
Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz was a German physician and physicist who made significant contributions to several widely varied areas of modern science...

 published his seminal book, On the Sensations of Tone, in which he used the harmonium extensively to test different tuning systems:
"Among musical instruments, the harmonium, on account of its uniformly sustained tone, the piercing character of its quality of tone, and its tolerably distinct combinational tones
Combination tone
A combination tone, also called a sum tone or a difference tone , can be any of at least three similar psychoacoustic phenomena. When two tones are played simultaneously, a listener can sometimes perceive an additional tone whose frequency is a sum or difference of the two frequencies...

, is particularly sensitive to inaccuracies of intonation. And as its vibrators also admit of a delicate and durable tuning, it appeared to me peculiarly suitable for experiments on a more perfect system of tones."

Using two manuals and two differently tuned stop sets, he was able to simultaneously compare Pythagorean
Pythagorean tuning
Pythagorean tuning is a system of musical tuning in which the frequency relationships of all intervals are based on the ratio 3:2. This interval is chosen because it is one of the most consonant...

 to just
Just intonation
In music, just intonation is any musical tuning in which the frequencies of notes are related by ratios of small whole numbers. Any interval tuned in this way is called a just interval. The two notes in any just interval are members of the same harmonic series...

 and to equal-tempered
Equal temperament
An equal temperament is a musical temperament, or a system of tuning, in which every pair of adjacent notes has an identical frequency ratio. As pitch is perceived roughly as the logarithm of frequency, this means that the perceived "distance" from every note to its nearest neighbor is the same for...

 tunings and observe the degrees of inharmonicity
Inharmonicity
In music, inharmonicity is the degree to which the frequencies of overtones depart from whole multiples of the fundamental frequency....

 inherent to the different temperaments
Musical temperament
In musical tuning, a temperament is a system of tuning which slightly compromises the pure intervals of just intonation in order to meet other requirements of the system. Most instruments in modern Western music are tuned in the equal temperament system...

. He subdivided the octave to 28 tones, to be able to perform modulations
Modulation (music)
In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key to another. This may or may not be accompanied by a change in key signature. Modulations articulate or create the structure or form of many pieces, as well as add interest...

 of 12 minor and 17 major keys in just intonation without going into harsh dissonance
Consonance and dissonance
In music, a consonance is a harmony, chord, or interval considered stable, as opposed to a dissonance , which is considered to be unstable...

 that is present with the standard octave division in this tuning. This arrangement was noted to be difficult to play on. Additional modified or novel instruments were described to be used for experimental and educational purposes were described. Notably, Bosanquet
Robert Holford Macdowall Bosanquet
Robert Holford Macdowall Bosanquet was an English scientist and music theorist, and brother of Admiral Sir Day Bosanquet, and philosopher Bernard Bosanquet....

's "Generalized keyboard
Generalized keyboard
Generalized keyboards are musical keyboards with regular, tile-like arrangements usually with rectangular or hexagonal keys, and were developed for performing music in different tunings...

", which was constructed in 1873 for the use with a 53-tone scale
53 equal temperament
In music, 53 equal temperament, called 53-TET, 53-EDO, or 53-ET, is the tempered scale derived by dividing the octave into 53 equal steps . Each step represents a frequency ratio of 21/53, or 22.6415 cents , an interval sometimes called the Holdrian comma.- History :Theoretical interest in this...

. In practice, that harmonium was constructed with 84 keys, for convenience of fingering. Another famous reed organ that was evaluated was built by Poole
Henry Ward Poole
Henry Ward Poole was an American surveyor, civil engineer, educator and writer on and inventor of systems of musical tuning. He was brother of the famous librarian William Frederick Poole, and cousin of the celebrated humorist, journalist and politician Fitch Poole.-Biography:Poole was born 13...

.

Lord Rayleigh also used the harmonium to devise a method for indirectly measuring frequency accurately, using approximated known equal temperament intervals and their overtone
Overtone
An overtone is any frequency higher than the fundamental frequency of a sound. The fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics are partials whose frequencies are whole number multiples of the fundamental These overlapping terms are variously used when discussing the...

 beats
Beat (acoustics)
In acoustics, a beat is an interference between two sounds of slightly different frequencies, perceived as periodic variations in volume whose rate is the difference between the two frequencies....

. The harmonium had the advantage of providing clear overtones that enabled the reliable counting of beats by two listeners, one per note. However, Rayleigh acknowledged that maintaining constant pressure in the bellows is difficult and fluctuation of the pitch occurs rather frequently as a result.

Timbre

Reed organ frequencies depend on the blowing pressure; the fundamental frequency
Fundamental frequency
The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated f0, is defined as the lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. In terms of a superposition of sinusoids The fundamental frequency, often referred to simply as the fundamental and abbreviated f0, is defined as the...

 decreases with medium pressure compared to low pressure, but it increases again at high pressures by several hertz for the bass notes measured. American reed organ measurements showed a sinusoidal oscillation with sharp pressure transitions when the reed bends above and below its frame. The fundamental itself is nearly the mechanical resonance
Mechanical resonance
Mechanical resonance is the tendency of a mechanical system to absorb more energy when the frequency of its oscillations matches the system's natural frequency of vibration than it does at other frequencies...

 frequency of the reed. The overtones of the instrument are harmonics of the fundamental, rather than inharmonic, although a weak inharmonic overtone (6.27f) was reported too. The fundamental frequency comes from a traverse
Transverse wave
A transverse wave is a moving wave that consists of oscillations occurring perpendicular to the direction of energy transfer...

 mode
Normal mode
A normal mode of an oscillating system is a pattern of motion in which all parts of the system move sinusoidally with the same frequency and with a fixed phase relation. The frequencies of the normal modes of a system are known as its natural frequencies or resonant frequencies...

, whereas weaker higher traverse and torsional
Torsion (mechanics)
In solid mechanics, torsion is the twisting of an object due to an applied torque. In sections perpendicular to the torque axis, the resultant shear stress in this section is perpendicular to the radius....

 modes were measured too. Any torsional modes are excited because of a slight asymmetry in the reed's construction. During attack, it was shown that the reed produces most strongly the fundamental, along with a second transverse or torsional mode, which are transient.

Radiation patterns and coupling
Coupling
A coupling is a device used to connect two shafts together at their ends for the purpose of transmitting power. Couplings do not normally allow disconnection of shafts during operation, however there are torque limiting couplings which can slip or disconnect when some torque limit is exceeded.The...

 effects between the sound box and the reeds on the timbre appear not to have been studied to date.

Dynamics

The unusual reed-vibration physics have a direct effect on harmonium playing, as the control of its dynamics in playing is restricted and subtle. The free reed of the harmonium is riveted from a metal frame and is subjected to airflow, which is pumped from the bellows through the reservoir, pushing the reed and bringing it to self-exciting oscillation and to sound production in the direction of airflow. This particular aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

 is nonlinear in that the maximum displacement
Displacement (vector)
A displacement is the shortest distance from the initial to the final position of a point P. Thus, it is the length of an imaginary straight path, typically distinct from the path actually travelled by P...

 amplitude
Amplitude
Amplitude is the magnitude of change in the oscillating variable with each oscillation within an oscillating system. For example, sound waves in air are oscillations in atmospheric pressure and their amplitudes are proportional to the change in pressure during one oscillation...

 in which the reed can vibrate is limited by fluctuations in damping forces
Damping
In physics, damping is any effect that tends to reduce the amplitude of oscillations in an oscillatory system, particularly the harmonic oscillator.In mechanics, friction is one such damping effect...

, so that the resultant sound pressure is rather constant. Additionally, there is a threshold pumping pressure, below which the reed vibration is minimal. Within those two thresholds, there is an exponential growth
Exponential growth
Exponential growth occurs when the growth rate of a mathematical function is proportional to the function's current value...

 and decay in time of reed amplitudes .

Classical repertoire (Western music)

The harmonium repertoire includes many pieces written originally for the church organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

, which may be played on a harmonium as well, because they have a small enough range and use fewer stops. For example, Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

's Fantasia in C major for organ BWV 570 is suitable for a four-octave harmonium.
  • Anton Bruckner
    Anton Bruckner
    Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, complex polyphony, and considerable length...

    . Symphony no. 7
    Symphony No. 7 (Bruckner)
    Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major is one of his best-known symphonies. It was written between 1881 and 1883 and was revised in 1885. It is dedicated to Ludwig II of Bavaria. The premiere, given under Arthur Nikisch and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in the opera house at Leipzig on 30...

    , an arrangement for chamber ensemble, prepared in 1921 by students and associates of Arnold Schoenberg
    Arnold Schoenberg
    Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School...

     for the Viennese Society for Private Musical Performances
    Society for Private Musical Performances
    The Society for Private Musical Performances was an organization founded in Vienna in the Autumn of 1918 by Arnold Schoenberg with the intention of making carefully rehearsed and comprehensible performances of available to genuinely interested members of the musical public...

    , was scored for two violin
    Violin
    The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

    s, viola
    Viola
    The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

    , cello
    Cello
    The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

    , bass
    Double bass
    The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

    , clarinet
    Clarinet
    The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

    , horn
    Horn (instrument)
    The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

    , piano
    Piano
    The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

     4-hands, and harmonium. The Society folded before the arrangement could be performed, and it was not premiered for more than 60 years.
  • Alban Berg
    Alban Berg
    Alban Maria Johannes Berg was an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.-Early life:Berg was born in...

    . Altenberg Lieder
    Altenberg Lieder
    Five Orchestral Songs , Op. 4, for medium voice and orchestra, were composed by Alban Berg in 1911-1912. Two of the songs were premiered under the baton of Berg's teacher Arnold Schoenberg at the Vienna Musikverein on 31 March 1913...

  • William Bergsma
    William Bergsma
    -Biography:After studying piano with his mother, a former opera singer, and then the viola, Bergsma moved on to study composition; his most significant teachers were Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers. Bergsma attended Stanford University for two years before moving on to the Eastman School of...

    . Dances from a New England Album, 1856 for orchestra
    Orchestra
    An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

    . It includes parts for melodeon
    Melodeon (organ)
    A melodeon is a type of 19th century reed organ with a foot-operated vacuum bellows, and a piano keyboard. It differs from the related harmonium, which uses a pressure bellows. Melodeons were manufactured in the United States sometime after 1812 until the Civil War era...

     (movements I-III) and harmonium (movement IV).
  • William Bolcom
    William Bolcom
    William Elden Bolcom is an American composer and pianist. He has received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Arts, two Grammy Awards, the Detroit Music Award and was named 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America. Bolcom taught composition at the University of Michigan from 1973–2008...

    . Songs of Innocence and of Experience for orchestra, choirs, and soloists, includes parts for melodeon
    Melodeon (organ)
    A melodeon is a type of 19th century reed organ with a foot-operated vacuum bellows, and a piano keyboard. It differs from the related harmonium, which uses a pressure bellows. Melodeons were manufactured in the United States sometime after 1812 until the Civil War era...

    , harmonica
    Harmonica
    The harmonica, also called harp, French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. It is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes or multiple holes...

    , and harmonium.
  • Frederic Clay
    Frederic Clay
    Frederic Emes Clay was an English composer known principally for his music written for the stage. Clay, a great friend of Arthur Sullivan's, wrote four comic operas with W. S...

    . Ages Ago
    Ages Ago
    Ages Ago is a musical entertainment with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert and music by Frederic Clay that premiered on 22 November 1869 at the Royal Gallery of Illustration. It marked the beginning of a seven year long collaboration between the two. The piece was revived many times, including at St...

    , an early work that features a harmonium part (libretto by W. S. Gilbert
    W. S. Gilbert
    Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was an English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator best known for his fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, of which the most famous include H.M.S...

    ).
  • Claude Debussy
    Claude Debussy
    Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions...

    . Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
    Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
    Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune , commonly known by its English title Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is a symphonic poem for orchestra by Claude Debussy, approximately 10 minutes in duration...

    , a chamber ensemble arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg
    Arnold Schoenberg
    Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School...

    .
  • Antonín Dvořák
    Antonín Dvorák
    Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer of late Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvořák’s own style is sometimes called "romantic-classicist synthesis". His works include symphonic, choral and chamber music, concerti, operas and many...

    . Five Bagatelles for two violins, cello and harmonium, Op. 47 (B.79).
  • Edward Elgar
    Edward Elgar
    Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM, GCVO was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos...

    . Sospiri, Adagio for String Orchestra, Op. 70 (scored for harp or piano and harmonium or organ).
  • César Franck
    César Franck
    César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life....

    . The final collection of pieces popularly known as L'Organiste (1889–1890) was actually written for harmonium, some pieces with piano accompaniment.
  • Alexandre Guilmant
    Alexandre Guilmant
    Félix-Alexandre Guilmant was a French organist and composer.- Short biography :Guilmant was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer...

    , author of many duos for piano and harmonium, including:
    • Symphonie tirée de la Symphonie-Cantate "Ariane" (Op. 53)
    • Pastorale A-Dur (Op. 26)
    • Finale alla Schumann sur un noël languedocien (Op. 83)
  • Paul Hindemith
    Paul Hindemith
    Paul Hindemith was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.- Biography :Born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Hindemith was taught the violin as a child...

    . Hin und zurück
    Hin und zurück
    Hin und zurück is an operatic 'sketch' in one scene by Paul Hindemith, with a German libretto by Marcellus Schiffer....

    (There and Back), an operatic sketch that uses a harmonium for its stage music.
  • Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Sigfrid Karg-Elert was a German composer of considerable fame in the early twentieth century, best known for his compositions for organ and harmonium.-Biography:...

    . Various works for solo harmonium.
  • Kronos Quartet
    Kronos Quartet
    Kronos Quartet is a string quartet founded by violinist David Harrington in 1973 in Seattle, Washington. Since 1978, the quartet has been based in San Francisco, California. The longest-running combination of performers had Harrington and John Sherba on violin, Hank Dutt on viola, and Joan...

    . Early Music, an album that has several pieces featuring harmonium.
  • Henri Letocart (1866–1945). 25 Pièces pour harmonium, Premier cahier.
  • Franz Liszt
    Franz Liszt
    Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

    . Symphonie zu Dantes Divina Commedia, Movement II: Purgatorio
  • Gustav Mahler
    Gustav Mahler
    Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

    . Symphony No. 8
    Symphony No. 8 (Mahler)
    The Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major by Gustav Mahler is one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire. Because it requires huge instrumental and vocal forces it is frequently called the "Symphony of a Thousand", although the work is often performed with fewer than a...

  • George Frederick McKay
    George Frederick McKay
    George Frederick McKay was a prolific modern American composer.-Biography:McKay was born in the Far West of America in the small frontier wheat farming town of Harrington, Washington. His family later moved to the much larger town of Spokane, where he attended school up to his college years...

    . Sonata for Clarinet and Harmonium (1929) (also adaptable to piano or violin)
  • Martijn Padding
    Martijn Padding
    Martijn Padding is a Dutch composer. Taught by Louis Andriessen , Geert van Keulen and Fania Chapiro . He also studied sonology at the University of Utrecht. He is a teacher at the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag.-References:*-External links:**...

    . First Harmonium Concerto (2008) for harmonium and ensemble
  • Gioachino Rossini. Petite Messe Solennelle is scored for piano and harmonium.
  • Arnold Schoenberg
    Arnold Schoenberg
    Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School...

    . Herzgewächse, Op. 20, for high soprano, celesta
    Celesta
    The celesta or celeste is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. Its appearance is similar to that of an upright piano or of a large wooden music box . The keys are connected to hammers which strike a graduated set of metal plates suspended over wooden resonators...

    , harp
    Harp
    The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

     and harmonium.
  • Franz Schreker
    Franz Schreker
    Franz Schreker was an Austrian composer, conductor, teacher and administrator. Primarily a composer of operas, his style is characterized by aesthetic plurality , timbral experimentation, strategies of extended tonality and...

    . Chamber Symphony
  • Richard Strauss
    Richard Strauss
    Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

    . Ariadne auf Naxos
    Ariadne auf Naxos
    Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Bringing together slapstick comedy and consuming beautiful music, the opera's theme is the competition between high and low art for the public's attention.- First version :The opera was originally...

    an opera (libretto by Hugo von Hoffmansthal) that employs a harmonium in the orchestration of each of its versions. It requires an instrument with many stops, which are specified in the score.
  • Louis Vierne
    Louis Vierne
    Louis Victor Jules Vierne was a French organist and composer.-Life:Louis Vierne was born in Poitiers, Vienne, nearly blind due to congenital cataracts, but at an early age was discovered to have an unusual gift for music. Louis Victor Jules Vierne (8 October 1870 – 2 June 1937) was a French...

    . 24 Pièces en style libre pour organ ou harmonium, Op. 31 (1913)
  • Alexander Zemlinsky
    • Six Maeterlinck Songs
    • Lyric Symphony

Nordic folk music

Harmonium played a significant part in the new rise of Nordic folk music, especially in Finland. In the late 1970's, a harmonium could be found in most schools where the bands met, and it became natural for the bands to include a harmonium in their setup. A typical folk band then — particularly in Western Finland — consisted of violin(s), double-bass and harmonium. There was a practical limitation that prevented playing harmonium and accordion in the same band: harmoniums were tuned to 438 Hz, while accordions were tuned to 442 Hz.

Some key harmonium players in the new rise of Nordic folk have been Timo Alakotila
Timo Alakotila
Timo Alakotila is a Finnish composer, arranger, and musician born July 15, 1959.Timo Alakotila's range of music styles stretches from Finnish folk music of the pelimanni style over some jazz influences to more or less Finnish style tangos, and with some extensions to classical music...

 and Milla Viljamaa
Milla Viljamaa
Milla Viljamaa is a Finnish musician and composer known for her creative works in various fields ranging from folk, tango and chamber music to theatre, opera, and film productions. She plays for example in the following ensembles: Duo Milla Viljamaa & Johanna Juhola, Las Chicas del Tango, Milla...

.

Use in Western popular music

  • Steve Adey
    Steve Adey
    Steve Adey is a musician and singer-songwriter. His music is characterised by slow tempos, minimalist arrangements, underpinned by a rich baritone vocal and chordal piano playing...

     (Scottish singer/songwriter) uses a harmonium on many songs from his 2006 album All Things Real
    All Things Real
    All Things Real is the debut album by English singer-songwriter Steve Adey. The album was released on March 6, 2006, through Grand Harmonium Records...

    .
  • Tori Amos
    Tori Amos
    Tori Amos is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument...

     toured with it in 1996 during her Boys For Pele
    Boys for Pele
    Boys for Pele is the third studio album by American singer and song-writer Tori Amos. Preceded by the first single, "Caught a Lite Sneeze", by three weeks, the album was released on 22 January 1996, in the United Kingdom and on 23 January, in the United States...

     tour.
  • Sara Bareilles
    Sara Bareilles
    Sara Beth Bareilles is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She achieved mainstream success in 2007 with the hit single "Love Song", which brought her into the number one spot on the Billboard Pop 100 chart. She has sold over 1 million records in the United States alone and has been...

     has used a harmonium to accompany herself in live performances of "Kaleidoscope Heart", a song from her album Kaleidoscope Heart
    Kaleidoscope Heart
    Kaleidoscope Heart received a 67% on Metacritic, resulting from generally favorable reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic rated the album with 4 stars out of 5 and has claimed positively that "Despite lushly detailed arrangements, Bareilles never pushes this distinctly commercial gift too...

    .
  • The Beatles
    The Beatles
    The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

     used it in many recordings, including "Doctor Robert
    Doctor Robert
    "Doctor Robert" is a song by The Beatles released on the album Revolver in the United Kingdom and on Yesterday and Today in the United States. The song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It was recorded in 7 takes on 17 April 1966 with vocals overdubbed 19 April. Lennon said that he was...

    ", "The Inner Light
    The Inner Light (song)
    "The Inner Light" is a song written by George Harrison that was first released by The Beatles as a B-side to "Lady Madonna". It was the first Harrison composition to be featured on a Beatles single. The lyrics are a rendering of the 47th chapter of the Taoist Tao Te Ching...

    ", "We Can Work It Out
    We Can Work It Out
    "We Can Work It Out" is a song by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. It was released as a "double A-sided" single with "Day Tripper", the first time both sides of a single were so designated in an initial release...

    ", "Cry Baby Cry
    Cry Baby Cry
    "Cry Baby Cry" is a song by The Beatles, written by John Lennon, from their 1968 album The Beatles.-Composition:Demos of the song indicate that Lennon wrote the song in late 1967...

    ", "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite", "Rocky Raccoon
    Rocky Raccoon
    "Rocky Raccoon" is a song by The Beatles from the double-disc album The Beatles . The song was primarily written by Paul McCartney, who was inspired while playing acoustic guitar with John Lennon and Donovan in India .-Composition:The song, a folk rock ballad, is titled from the character's name,...

    ", "The Word
    The Word (song)
    "The Word" is a song by The Beatles first released on their 1965 album Rubber Soul. It has been cited as the first instance in which The Beatles began writing about love in more abstract terms, versus concrete girl/boy terms, a la "She Loves You", with preaching lyrics such as "The word is love"...

    ", and in the final chord of "A Day in the Life
    A Day in the Life
    "A Day in the Life" is a song by The Beatles, the final track on the group's 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Credited to Lennon–McCartney, the song comprises distinct segments written independently by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with orchestral additions...

    ". In recording "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", the Beatles' engineer, Geoff Emerick
    Geoff Emerick
    Geoffrey Emerick is an English recording studio audio engineer, who is best known for his work with The Beatles' albums Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles and Abbey Road...

    , recalled producer George Martin
    George Martin
    Sir George Henry Martin CBE is an English record producer, arranger, composer and musician. He is sometimes referred to as "the Fifth Beatle"— a title that he often describes as "nonsense," but the fact remains that he served as producer on all but one of The Beatles' original albums...

     playing the harmonium for hours trying to create the Pablo Fanque
    Pablo Fanque
    Pablo Fanque was the first black circus proprietor in Britain. His circus, in which he himself was a performer, was the most popular circus in Victorian Britain for 30 years, a period that is regarded as the golden age of the circus...

     circus atmosphere that inspired the song: "You have to pump a harmonium with your feet and he was pumping away for about four hours. He collapsed onto the floor after that, laying there spreadeagled and exhausted!"
  • Jeff Buckley
    Jeff Buckley
    Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Buckley , raised as Scotty Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was the son of Tim Buckley, also a musician...

     used a harmonium on the introduction of the song "Lover, You Should Have Come Over" from the album Grace.
  • Future of Forestry
    Future of Forestry
    Future of Forestry is a Christian rock alternative band from Southern California, USA.-History:Eric Owyoung, lead singer and song writer, started the band Something Like Silas in 2000. After playing at Hume Lake for 3 years and planting Flood Church in San Diego, the band signed with Sparrow Records...

     used a harmonium in "Slow your Breath Down" from their album Travel II EP
    Travel II EP
    Travel II EP is the fifth album by the Christian rock band Future of Forestry, and the second in the "Travel Series." It was released on September 8, 2009...

    .
  • Allen Ginsberg
    Allen Ginsberg
    Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression...

    , in a rare 1970s recording called First Blues: Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs, in which he sets his poetry to music, "accompanies himself with a small hand-pumped harmonium from India".
  • David Gray
    David Gray (musician)
    David Gray is an English singer-songwriter. He released his first studio album in 1993 and received worldwide attention after the release of White Ladder six years later...

     has used a harmonium extensively in his live shows, most notably on the Lost and Found tour in support of Foundling
    Foundling (album)
    -Personnel:* David Gray - vocals, guitar, piano, harmonium, Wurlitzer, suitcase organ* Keith Prior - drums, percussion* Robbie Malone - bass, acoustic and electric guitar, bouzouki, harmonium, backing vocals...

    .
  • Lisa Hannigan
    Lisa Hannigan
    Lisa Margaret Hannigan is an Irish singer, songwriter, and musician. For several years she was a member of Damien Rice's band before beginning her solo career in 2008. She has been the recipient of various award nominations and critical praise both in Ireland and the USA...

     uses a harmonium extensively in her album Sea Sew
    Sea Sew
    -Recording and production:The album was recorded in a cold barn in the Irish countryside and produced in the studio of one of Hannigan's friends over the course of a fortnight. Jason Boshoff produced, recorded and mixed the whole album....

    .
  • The National
    The National (band)
    The National is an indie rock band formed in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1999 and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. The band's lyrics are written and sung by Matt Berninger, a baritone...

     are also known to use a harmonium on occasion, with extensive use on their album High Violet
    High Violet
    High Violet is the fifth studio album by The National, which was released on May 10, 2010 in Europe and on May 11, 2010 in North America via 4AD. The band produced the album themselves assisted by Peter Katis with whom they worked on their previous albums Alligator and Boxer at their own studio in...

    .
  • Nico
    Nico
    Nico was a German singer, lyricist, composer, musician, fashion model, and actress, who initially rose to fame as a Warhol Superstar in the 1960s...

    , in most of her post-Velvet Underground career, is characterized by her accompanying herself on harmonium in songs with a Gothic style that used drone, especially on her albums The Marble Index
    The Marble Index (album)
    The Marble Index is the second solo album by Nico, recorded in 1968 and released in 1969. The album featured long-term associate John Cale, who had worked briefly with Nico during her stint with The Velvet Underground...

    (1969), Desertshore
    Desertshore
    Desertshore is Nico's third solo album, recorded and released in 1970. It was co-produced by John Cale and Joe Boyd. Like its predecessor The Marble Index, it is an avant-garde album with neoclassical elements....

    (1970) and The End... (1974).
  • Mumford & Sons
    Mumford & Sons
    Mumford & Sons are a British folk rock band. The band consists of Marcus Mumford , Ben Lovett , Country Winston Marshall , and Ted Dwane...

     make use of the harmonium in many of their songs.
  • Radiohead
    Radiohead
    Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke , Jonny Greenwood , Ed O'Brien , Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway .Radiohead released their debut single "Creep" in 1992...

     used an antique harmonium on "Motion Picture Soundtrack" on Kid A
    Kid A
    Kid A is the fourth studio album by the English rock band Radiohead, released in October 2000 by the Parlophone label. A commercial success worldwide, Kid A went platinum in its first week of release in the United Kingdom. Despite the lack of an official single or music video as publicity, Kid A...

    . They toured with the instrument throughout 2001 until it broke during a show in Oxford, England
    Oxford
    The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

    , on July 7.
  • Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers
    Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers
    Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers is an American rock band from Brooklyn, New York with a blues punk sound led by singer-songwriter Shilpa Ray. Her music has been compared to Blondie and The Cramps flavored with the "Goth burlesque" of the Dresden Dolls, and her singing has been compared to the...

    , an indie music band, uses an Indian harmonium, played by Shilpa Ray herself as her lead instrument.
  • Sigur Rós
    Sigur Rós
    Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band with classicaland minimalist elements. The band is known for its ethereal sound, and frontman Jónsi Birgisson's falsetto vocals and use of bowed guitar. In January 2010, the band announced that they will be on hiatus. Since then, it has since been announced...

     use the harmonium on many of their tracks, including "Samskeyti" and acoustic versions of "Vaka", "Starálfur", "Heysátan" and "Von" on the double EP Hvarf/Heim.
  • Talk Talk
    Talk Talk
    Talk Talk were an English musical group, active from 1981 to 1991. The group had a string of international hit singles including "Today", "Talk Talk", "It's My Life", "Such a Shame", "Dum Dum Girl", "Life's What You Make It" and "Living in Another World"....

     used a harmonium, played by Tim Friese-Greene
    Tim Friese-Greene
    Timothy Alan Friese-Greene is an English musician and producer. From 1983 to their breakup in 1992, he worked with the band Talk Talk. He currently releases solo albums under the name "Heligoland".-Producer:...

    , on their albums Spirit of Eden
    Spirit of Eden
    Spirit of Eden was the fourth album by the English band Talk Talk. The songs were written by Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene, and performed by numerous musicians using a diverse combination of instruments. In 2008, Alan McGee of the Guardian wrote: "Spirit of Eden has not dated; it's remarkable...

    and Laughing Stock.
  • Tom Waits
    Tom Waits
    Thomas Alan "Tom" Waits is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car."...

     plays the harmonium on his albums Swordfishtrombones
    Swordfishtrombones
    Swordfishtrombones is an album by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits, released in September 1983. It was the first album that Waits produced himself....

    and Rain Dogs
    Rain Dogs
    Rain Dogs is the 9th album by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits, released in August 1985 on Island Records. A loose concept album about "the urban dispossessed" of New York City, Rain Dogs is generally considered the middle album of a trilogy that includes Swordfishtrombones and Franks Wild...

    , and it appears also on Night on Earth
    Night on Earth
    Night on Earth is a 1991 film directed by Jim Jarmusch.Night on Earth may also refer to:*Night on Earth , the soundtrack album from the Jarmusch film, written by Tom Waits....

    , the soundtrack of Jim Jarmusch
    Jim Jarmusch
    James R. "Jim" Jarmusch is an American independent film director, screenwriter, actor, producer, editor and composer. Jarmusch has been a major proponent of independent cinema, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s.-Early life:...

    's film that bears the same title.
  • Zapoppin'
    Zapoppin'
    Zapoppin are an alternative folk and skiffle band from Falmouth, Cornwall, UK. As of 2011 the group consists of Thomas G. J. Sharpe on harmonium, banjo and vocals, and Luke Richards on a stripped-down drum kit and vocals....

     (from Falmouth
    Falmouth, Cornwall
    Falmouth is a town, civil parish and port on the River Fal on the south coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It has a total resident population of 21,635.Falmouth is the terminus of the A39, which begins some 200 miles away in Bath, Somerset....

    , UK) use the harmonium on many of their songs.

Additionally, the song "Music for a Found Harmonium", named after the instrument, appears in a variety of movies, including Napoleon Dynamite
Napoleon Dynamite
Napoleon Dynamite is a 2004 comedy film co-written and directed by Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess and stars Jon Heder as Napoleon Dynamite. The film was Jared Hess' first full-length feature and is partially adapted from his earlier short film, Peluca....

.
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