From the Back of the Book:
"Learn to play harmonium" has been written for music lovers to learn and play the popular instrument "Harmonium". The easy step by step direction guide you from basics of understanding the instrument to teaching fingering, learning the scale and octaves.
The background preparation mentioned above leads you into explanation of Hindustani notation. You learn to read and interpret the notation on Harmonium and begin to play your favorite songs.
Harmonium, as the name suggests, is an instrument of harmony sounds. We could call it as a miniature form of the Piano with some differences. As we all know very well, this is not a native Indian instrument. It originated in Europe and was brought to India, sometime in the late 18th century, by British Missionaries, to accompany them in their religious services.
The early Harmonium had foot pedals for pumping the bellows. But Indian musicians were more comfortable playing, sitting on the ground. So according to their needs, the Harmonium took an Indianised form, such as the disappearance of the pedals and instead, a hand pumped bellows was attached to it. This was the start of the Indian version of the Harmonium.
The Indian Harmonium suits the Indian music system very well, as there are no chords in Indian music; there was no requirement of using both hands on the keys. Hence, one hand is kept free for the bellows and the other to playing the keys. The Harmonium has 42 different keys, three sets of octaves consisting of both the white & black keys. Any white key or black key of the middle octave is considered as the first note of Sargam and one can play a complete composition on it.
Usually the Harmonium is learnt the way its western parents did, such as the Piano. But the benefit of playing Indian music on the Harmonium is that, when taking a black key as the 1st note Sa of the Shuddha Swaras, Tivra Stoaras and Komal Swaras are played on the 'white keys. And when Shuddha Swaras Sa is played on a white key then Komal Swaras and Tivra Swaras are played on the black keys. On the pattern of tones and Semitones, where tones are natural and Semitones are flats and sharps.
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