By Birgit Abels
The harmonium holds an ambiguous acceptance in India in addition to in its "home continent" of Europe. there's an abundance of transparent statements made through unique Indian musicians, theoreticians and in addition politicians who again and again might decry the device. Rabindranath Tagore's well-known description of the harmonium as "that bane of Indian track" is only one instance. And but, the harmonium is arguably the software most generally used for accompanying the major medium of North Indian classical song, i.e. the human voice. therefore, via all appearances the anxiousness in regards to the harmonium's very likely harmful impingement on conventional tune, isn't really shared through the vast majority of the musicians.
This booklet seeks to appreciate the advanced background of the harmonium in North India, examine the obvious clash among musical thought and perform and describe how the device is utilized in musical perform. Is the harmonium an software compatible for Indian tune? Can it reside as much as the necessities of Indian tune? Can it stay as much as the necessities of Indian track? those questions pervade the total ebook, on the finish of which, they'll look in an entire new mild.
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Extra info for The Harmonium in North Indian Music
Depicted is ‘Model No. 21 (Hand & Foot)’ and operation. The fact that this instrument (also known as accordéon-orgue, flûtina, accordéon-flûtina und pianoconcertina94) obviously was known to the manufacturer who “invented” the Indian harmonium, indicates that Dwarkin & Son traded also with this instrument around the middle of the 19th century and that some of its characteristics went into the development of the “Indian” harmonium. Excursion: Harmoniflûte Literature dealing with the harmoniflûte is rare, yet it evokes the suspicion that the instrument’s failure to establish itself was due to the same reasons in Europe as in India.
Yet this is not the case, and Tagore’s approval of the instrument is strongly limited by the later document. 181 What is obvious, however, is that Tagore was by no means always clearly against the harmonium. D. 185 Banerjee’s translator’s comments are sometimes difficult to distinguish from his translation of Banerjee’s original text, which at times makes it unclear whether he is translating Banerjee or putting forward his own, clearly negative opinion. Unlike Banerjee himself, 54 The Harmonium in North Indian Music who sees advantages in the harmonium, commentator Banerji is strictly against the instrument; he even uses the same words to express his indignation as Fox Strangways, which suggests that he has been influenced by Strangways’ writings.
The raga-dependent variation of single pitches presupposes flexibility regarding intonation – a flexibility that renders any prescriptive tuning system like Clements’ impossible. Why the harmonium’s “wrong” intonation is preferred to the more accurate tuning of other instruments will be investigated further below. Without doubt the difficulties presented by a manual with 22 keys per octave added to the shruti-harmonium’s difficulty in gaining a foothold – similar to the Janko-manual in Europe. Clements’ harmonium was designed in Vienna and patented in London – a peculiar combination for an instrument that was to be used in India.