How to Play On Harmonium: A Step-by-Step Tutorial with Notation
Harmonium is a musical instrument that produces sound by pumping air through metal reeds. It is widely used in Indian classical music, devotional songs, and folk music. If you want to learn how to play harmonium, you can follow this tutorial that will teach you the basics of harmonium playing, including notation, scales, chords, and songs.
To play harmonium, you need a harmonium instrument and a music stand or a table to place it on. You also need a tuner or a pitch pipe to tune your harmonium. You can use any harmonium model, but make sure it has at least two sets of reeds (male and female) and a coupler (a mechanism that connects the keys of the lower and upper octaves).
How to Tune Your Harmonium
Before you start playing, you need to tune your harmonium to match the pitch of your voice or the song you want to play. To do this, you need to adjust the knobs on the front of the harmonium that control the air flow and the pitch of each reed. Here are the steps to tune your harmonium:
Turn on the tuner or the pitch pipe and set it to the note C (Sa).
Pump the bellows of the harmonium to produce air.
Press the C key (Sa) on the middle octave of the harmonium and compare it with the tuner or the pitch pipe.
If the note is too high or too low, turn the knob on the front of the harmonium that corresponds to the C key (Sa) until it matches the tuner or the pitch pipe.
Repeat this process for all the other notes on the middle octave of the harmonium.
Check if the notes on the lower and upper octaves are in tune with the middle octave by using the coupler. If not, adjust them accordingly.
How to Read Harmonium Notation
Harmonium notation is a system of symbols that represent the notes and rhythms of a song. It is similar to Western musical notation, but it uses Indian names for the notes and some different symbols for the rhythms. Here are some basic rules of harmonium notation:
The notes are named as Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, and Sa in ascending order. They correspond to C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C in Western notation.
The notes can have different variations depending on their position in a scale. For example, Re can be either shuddha (natural) or komal (flat), and Ma can be either shuddha (natural) or tivra (sharp). These variations are indicated by dots above or below the note symbols.
The notes can also have different lengths depending on their duration in a song. For example, a note can be either laghu (short) or guru (long), and these lengths are indicated by dashes above or below the note symbols.
The rhythms are divided into beats called matras. Each matra can have one or more notes in it. The matras are separated by vertical lines called bars.
The tempo of a song is indicated by beats per minute (bpm). The faster the tempo, the shorter each matra is.
How to Play Scales on Harmonium
A scale is a sequence of notes that form the basis of a song. There are many types of scales in Indian music, but one of the most common ones is called Bilawal Thaat. It consists of seven notes: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa. To play this scale on harmonium, you need to follow these steps: