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Why The Indian Harmonium Is So Popular

Aug 23, 2022

This is what you need to know.

What are the advantages and what is so interesting about the harmonium?


A harmonium has many advantages. One of the most important things to know is that it is relatively accessible to learn. In contrast, some instruments are way more complicated to learn. They might require 10 years of daily practice before you can play them properly. Difficult instruments are for example violin, cello, sarangi, sarod or sitar. A harmonium though is relatively easy and accessible for everyone. It’s very accessible even for people who have never studied music before, have never touched an instrument before or doubt they’re having any musical talent whatsoever. It’s perfectly possible on a harmonium to achieve the skills quite fast to play beautiful, interesting music. 

Harmonium – when taught using a smart, simple and proven method – really is accessible for anyone. Musicians often think they are magicians and try to hide their tricks for the public and talk very complicated about music. But really, when you unveil the mystery of music and guide a tour behind the scenes using simple language, you’ll find it’s accessible for anyone who is interested to learn.

The sound of a harmonium is superb to use as an accompaniment instrument. It blends beautifully with the human voice. The harmonium is designed in such a way that the sound contains a lot of richness and is very filling. Often just one harmonium is more than enough to accompany. There is no real need for more instruments to create a beautiful accompaniment. The construction of the harmonium is specially designed to offer a rich sound. There are multiple octaves sounding when playing just one key. Per key mostly you’ll have 2 octaves. Combined with the use of a coupler (not all models have it though) you will have an octave key sounding simultaneously. That makes 2 + 2 octaves = 4 octaves that sound simultaneously when playing just one key. This will produce a very rich sound, perfect to accompany your voice when singing mantras, kirtans, bhajans, etc…

Though the harmonium is an Indian instrument, it originated from the Western piano or organ and that’s why it has the same keys. It’s therefore perfectly possible to study and learn the harmonium using the Western music system. The Western system makes it very simple to acquire quickly a deep and profound knowledge about chords and scales. Though we’ll often be playing Indian – or Indian based music, it is – in all honesty – enough to have just a basic understanding about the Indian classical music system. So we don’t really need a very deep study and training about Indian classical music. That is a huge advantage because Indian music is very complicated and requires a specialistic study that you can only really learn from a guru in a one on one class. You cannot learn Indian classical music quickly and easily, it requires a lifetime dedication. 

Since the harmonium derived from the Western organ & piano, the harmonium really has a great advantage. You are able to use the Western music system for learning the instrument. This in combination with understanding the core principles from the Indian system, without leading us too far in the Indian system and being lost in the details. This would consume a lot of our time and energy and is really not necessary. In fact the harmonium is anyway rarely being used in Indian classical music. It’s mostly used in folk style music, bhajans, kirtans and mantras. Another advantage, the harmonium is rather small and easy to transport. For the small size, in contrast, it produces a rich and big sound, perfect to accompany. It is the perfect instrument to use to accompany your voice, alone or in a group, when singing mantras, bhajans, kirtans and that’s why these days hundreds of yoga teachers and meditation practitioners worldwide are taking up the harmonium fast and easily for use in their yoga class, daily meditation or religious practice.


How Can We Learn The Harmonium Fast & Easy?

To answer this question, I’d like to make a comparison with driving a car. To reach your desired destination when you’re not exactly sure of the road, the fastest and easiest way is to be guided by your navigation.

Your navigation will assist you to your destination in the fastest way possible without any detours. Without navigation you could try to search the road on your own, but there’s always a chance of getting lost. It can be frustrating and make you lose a lot of energy and time.

This “navigation” are the lessons, a course, a program, such as the Harmonium Evolution, that helps you to reach your desired destination fast. 

Focused exercises, focused in depth knowledge about music and staying focused on what really matters, that is our road to drive. 

Important is not to be lost in details, unimportant theories or unpractical, abstract distractions. We have to get rid of all of these and focus only on what really matters.

To compare – it’s important to know how to drive a car to reach your destination, but it is not necessary to know how the car is constructed or how the engine is built. To drive the car it’s important to understand the traffic and the handling of the car. In time you will gain more and more experience by practice. It’s not important to have in-depth knowledge of the history of car engines or perform complex repairs. It’s handy though to be able to perform small fixes, such as repairing a tire or filling some oil. In the Harmonium Evolution you will learn these kinds of little fixes about the harmonium as well, some maintenance and little fixes. But we will focus especially on the necessary and important things. 

After many years of teaching and playing the harmonium for over 30 years now, we have created a method that will deliver targeted results in an easy and fast way.

How does this work? We will build everything step by step. 

First understand the alphabet of the music: the notes.

Next, we will build words: these are the chords and notes.

Next step, we will build sentences: these are chord patterns and rhythm.

Next step, we will create a story: this is a song.

In the story there’s always a main character that we can relate to and that’s the melody.

We can say:

  • The story originates from the main character using sentences and words.

Similar to music we can say:

  • The song originates from the melody, supported by chords, chord patterns and rhythm.

Whe should understand how the framework in music is constructed so we can then fill in this framework free and in a creative and inspired way. Creativity, variety and details will give charm, warmth and emotion to the whole. 

In this way we can create the words of music, write sentences and write many beautiful, touching stories.

We will learn to understand and be able to play all the notes, all chords, rhythms & melodies. Then we will unite all these elements in our music playing and create a very beautiful and unique playing style.

It’s important to know we have to grow step by step, without losing ourselves in details.

Of course, we will learn the correct fingering, the necessary music knowledge about scales, ragas and rhythm, but most important is how we can use things practically and in a musical way.

If you want to discover your musical journey on your own, you can search for the road yourself. But there is always a risk of getting lost in the jungle. You might lose a lot of energy and time, so eventually you might give up and never reach your destination at all.

With good guidance, navigation and support you will reach your destination easily. Fueled up, driving a good car and having navigation along the way you will learn how to play the Indian harmonium, targeted and fast. Assisted and supported with motivation in case of any breakdown, you will reach your destination safely without a doubt.

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