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Home ŗ Music Center ŗ Instrumental Guides ŗ Harmonium Guide

Chapter 03: Maintenance and Care

 

Unlike the traditional Indian instruments in India, the harmonium is not as delicate as the tabla, sitar, sarangi, sarod, etc. Remember that the harmonium is not an Indian instrument by origin. However, regardless of the instruments race or origin, we must treat it with respect and care. There are not too many points in discussing the maintenance or care of the instrument. However, these points are very important to keep in mind.

 

DONíT TAKE IN MORE THAN YOU CAN PLAY

 

When little kids see adults or harmonium players pumping the bellows constantly, they indeed get excited and they pump the bellows to their hearts desires without touching the keyboard. Keep one point in mind; you are not a little kid! Donít ever pump the bellows if you are not playing anything. Pumping excessive air into the harmonium is comparable to inhaling excessive air into your lungs and not breathing out. You will feel uncomfortable and feel like you will explode inside. Thatís what happens to the harmonium, in fact. If too much air enters in without being released properly, the harmoniumís internal air chamber will explode. Then, whatever air that comes in will go out immediately without having any note produced if the keyboard is being used. The proper way to go about is use enough air as you need, while playing the keyboard. This is very crucial. Keep in mind that if you play this properly, the keyboard serves as an exhaling agent. Once a key is pressed with enough air, air will blow out of the front.

 

BLOW OUT ALL THE AIR

 

Whenever you are done with using the harmonium, force all of the air out. The way to do this is to lock the bellows using a side lock and play three or more notes of the keyboard simultaneously. This way, air will be forced out faster. If you leave air inside the harmonium, that air could damage the internal features of the harmonium and its rich sound could diminish and even force notes to sound out of tune. This is very easy to forget this very important step!

 

STOP! CLOSE YOUR STOPS!

 

With harmoniums having this feature, it is also very easy to forget to close stops and lock bellows before pushing the harmonium inside. The stop knobs and bellows can break if locks are not pushed in fully, or if the bellows are not locked.

 

DOUBLE CHECK SECURITY BEFORE TAKE OFF!

 

Most harmoniums have a removable top lid. Once the lid has to be placed it, it is very easy to do this incorrectly, and while thinking it is done correctly, lift it up and part of the harmonium starts to fall out and damage is done. The sure way to check if your harmonium is secure is to make sure the top locks are locked, the behind has nothing showing inside, and while locked, attempt to lift the top lid off. If you cannot lift the top lid, you will know that your harmonium is safe for take off.

 

RAIN OR SHINE IS NEVER FINE!

 

Never put your harmonium in direct sunlight. Sunlight has enough energy to make the air bellows weak or destroy the wooden finish.

 

Likewise, do not have any contact with water. Water can make the harmonium sound ripped, if not disable the ability to produce sound. This can be compared to water in lungs. Whenever there is water in your lungs, you will feel very uncomfortable and you will cough a lot.

 

The sure sign for safety is to keep your harmonium in a carrying case or bag and leave it in a room not humid.

 

These tips will help you keep your harmonium clean, safe, and have a longer lifespan.

UPDATED: June 18, 2009