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bhavan

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi,
Can I find a harmonium with the sound of a good quality scale-changer, but without the scale-change mechanism??
Any suggestions regarding brand/model etc. and where to buy it?

And, is there a difference between side bellows and straight bellows?
It seems that in videos of classical indian music on youtube there are often those straight bellows to see, whereas almost all harmoniums of higher quality available use side bellows.
Which is better and why?
Thanks.
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Keshavdas

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Posts: 351
Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "bhavan"
Hi,
Can I find a harmonium with the sound of a good quality scale-changer, but without the scale-change mechanism??
Any suggestions regarding brand/model etc. and where to buy it?

And, is there a difference between side bellows and straight bellows?
It seems that in videos of classical indian music on youtube there are often those straight bellows to see, whereas almost all harmoniums of higher quality available use side bellows.
Which is better and why?
Thanks.
Hi Bhavan - actually a scale-changer mechanism is in no way responsible for the quality of the sound. The changer is just a mechanical device that serves the same purpose as a capo on a guitar. It allows a player to mechanically transpose from one key to another without learning to play in another position. I've been playing for years and frankly have no preference regarding bellows opening from the top or side. There is a general belief that side bellows will have better sustain - but as a player and a repair tech - I haven't found that to be true. Many top players in India use harmoniums with bellows that open from the top. Good sustain is more a function of a well sealed windchest. DMS scale-changers which are built by some of Calcutta's best makers tend to give the most bang for the buck. Paul & Co. are fine if you have around $1,200.00 to spend. BD Musics are exellent. Surokar are great if you don't mind waiting 6-7 months to get one built. In the event, what makes scale-changer harmoniums appear to sound different from most others is the fact that they are usually built with three banks of reeds as opposed to two. Harmoniums with three banks of reeds and no scale-changer will have that very full range of harmonics and they will be more reliable as well. Problem is ... very few harmoniums in this format are imported to the USA. Scale-changers are very trendy and most of the customers who buy high-end harmoniums are middle-class, status-conscious types that think they aren't getting a top-of-the-line instrument, if it doesn't have all the proper bells and whistles. Dedicated keyboard players however should know how to transpose and therefore not require a mechanical mechanism to play a tune in a different key. However in ICM circles - the ability to instantly transpose is not stressed, and the tradition is to learn one Sa and play everything in one Sa. Then when the player is at a gathering and is asked to accompany someone - but in a different key - they are stumped, hence the need for the scale-changer. If you are looking for a fixed keyboard triple reed instrument of top quality I will have a custom built BD Musics model arriving in about 60 days at my shop. Price is $1,300.00. In the meantime,
Happy Shopping,
Keshav

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bhavan

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Keshav for your reply,
it was very interesting!
Are the three banks of reeds the only reason for that sound, or is it also the type/model
of the reeds?
I will think about the BD-Music one.
Cheers,
Bhavan
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Keshavdas

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Posts: 351
Reply with quote  #4 
Yes - there are Calcutta reeds (from Palitana actually) and Delhi reeds. Delhi reeds can sound much sharper when new - but as always - they do mellow out over time. I would say neither is preferable over the other. Just personal taste. Triple reeds give the harmonium a richer range of tonality and a wider range of overtones. Some are male/male/bass and some are bass/male/female. The latter seems to be more prevalent these days.
Cheers,
Keshav

__________________
"More harm is done by fools through foolishness
then is done by evildoers through wickedness."


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bhavan

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks Keshav, for your help!

Bhavan
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Keshavdas

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Posts: 351
Reply with quote  #6 
Glad to help. BTW - as it turns out someone called this morning and paid the reserve on the BD Musics piece. We also have one (on the way) in a non-folding model BD Musics piece that will have a scale-changer. Which brings up the question of so-called "portable" scale-changers. They do fold up smaller - but are strictly speaking - not portable for reasons of bulk and weight. To my mind it make no sense to buy a folding scale-changer unless you are a touring musician. Non-folding (or console) style harmoniums have a much larger breadth of sound and superior timbre because the windchest will be twice as large. The same principle that makes larger toombas on a veena more desirable.
Best,
Keshav

__________________
"More harm is done by fools through foolishness
then is done by evildoers through wickedness."


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bhavan

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #7 
Hi Keshav,
please could you explain why the windchest of a standard type harmonium would be double the size as that of a foldable type one and therefore have a much larger breadth?
Hopefully you wont call me too dense :roll: , but I just don
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Keshavdas

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Posts: 351
Reply with quote  #8 
The windchest is allowed to be twice as big on a non-folding model because it does not have to collapse into itself. What I said was you have greater breadth of sound - not width of instrument. On a folding model the the windchest can only be half the height of the instrument in it's open position.
Cheers,
Keshav

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"More harm is done by fools through foolishness
then is done by evildoers through wickedness."


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Marcio

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Keshav

I have been reading your comments about the BD harmoniums and i got very curious. It seems you are considering them excellent in comparison with Paul Co and others...

I have seen some pictures and was impressed by their finishing as well. Could you give us more details about them concerning sound and sustain? ( stand up fixed keyboard..)

Other doubt that I have: Have you played a male/male/bass triple reed harmonium ? How do they sound? DO they still have an organ tone?

Any of the BD harmoniums you mentioned comes with this configuration?

Thanks for your time!

Cheers,
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Keshavdas

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Posts: 351
Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Marcio"
Hi Keshav

I have been reading your comments about the BD harmoniums and i got very curious. It seems you are considering them excellent in comparison with Paul Co and others...

I have seen some pictures and was impressed by their finishing as well. Could you give us more details about them concerning sound and sustain? ( stand up fixed keyboard..)

Other doubt that I have: Have you played a male/male/bass triple reed harmonium ? How do they sound? DO they still have an organ tone?

Any of the BD harmoniums you mentioned comes with this configuration?

Thanks for your time!

Cheers,
Marcio,
They have great sustain. Quality of sound is difficult to describe. "Organ Tone"
is just advertising jargon. It's meaningless. Bass/Male/Male is mellower and generally
appropriate for classical players and singers. Paul + Co style harmoniums are extra
robust and better for Ghazal or Quawwali singers. The BD style harmoniums are much
mellower than the very ballsy sounding Paul style. It's all personal preference. I have
one BD musics in a non-folding model arriving soon and to my thinking this is their
best sounding instrument.
Best,
K

__________________
"More harm is done by fools through foolishness
then is done by evildoers through wickedness."


The Prophet Mohammed

http://www.keshav-music.com
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