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harmoniums in folk music

The Sandman 08 Feb 08 - 04:56 PM
John MacKenzie 08 Feb 08 - 04:57 PM
The Borchester Echo 08 Feb 08 - 05:05 PM
Doc John 08 Feb 08 - 05:09 PM
DebC 08 Feb 08 - 05:11 PM
John MacKenzie 08 Feb 08 - 05:12 PM
Saro 08 Feb 08 - 05:23 PM
The Sandman 08 Feb 08 - 05:23 PM
danensis 08 Feb 08 - 05:25 PM
GeoffLawes 08 Feb 08 - 05:31 PM
Jack Blandiver 08 Feb 08 - 05:36 PM
Saro 08 Feb 08 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,meself 08 Feb 08 - 06:11 PM
Rapunzel 08 Feb 08 - 06:44 PM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 08 - 08:41 PM
Alice 08 Feb 08 - 08:55 PM
Effsee 08 Feb 08 - 09:27 PM
GUEST,me 08 Feb 08 - 10:17 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 08 - 11:13 PM
Ross Campbell 08 Feb 08 - 11:13 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 09 Feb 08 - 06:16 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Feb 08 - 06:56 AM
treewind 09 Feb 08 - 08:01 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 09 Feb 08 - 09:08 AM
John MacKenzie 09 Feb 08 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,AR 09 Feb 08 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 09 Feb 08 - 07:30 PM
johnadams 10 Feb 08 - 05:36 AM
The Borchester Echo 10 Feb 08 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Sue Allan 10 Feb 08 - 06:14 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 10 Feb 08 - 06:57 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Feb 08 - 07:10 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Feb 08 - 07:13 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Feb 08 - 07:38 AM
Saro 10 Feb 08 - 07:43 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Feb 08 - 07:47 AM
johnadams 10 Feb 08 - 08:07 AM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Feb 08 - 08:08 AM
The Sandman 10 Feb 08 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 10 Feb 08 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 10 Feb 08 - 09:53 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Feb 08 - 10:42 AM
Rowan 10 Feb 08 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,JTT 10 Feb 08 - 05:05 PM
The Villan 10 Feb 08 - 05:26 PM
The Villan 10 Feb 08 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice 10 Feb 08 - 05:42 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Feb 08 - 06:54 PM
Suegorgeous 10 Feb 08 - 06:57 PM
Greg B 10 Feb 08 - 09:02 PM
Ross Campbell 10 Feb 08 - 11:28 PM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Feb 08 - 11:30 PM
GUEST,JTT 11 Feb 08 - 02:30 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Feb 08 - 04:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 11 Feb 08 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 11 Feb 08 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,JTT 11 Feb 08 - 11:51 AM
Harmonium Hero 24 Feb 08 - 12:11 PM
Rowan 24 Feb 08 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice 24 Feb 08 - 04:37 PM
Rowan 24 Feb 08 - 05:09 PM
The Sandman 25 Feb 08 - 08:07 AM
sian, west wales 25 Feb 08 - 09:40 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 25 Feb 08 - 11:15 AM
Harmonium Hero 25 Feb 08 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Orryl Oak 26 Feb 08 - 09:32 AM
Backwoodsman 26 Feb 08 - 01:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 26 Feb 08 - 01:54 PM
The Borchester Echo 26 Feb 08 - 01:55 PM
Ross Campbell 26 Feb 08 - 02:20 PM
Cats 26 Feb 08 - 02:40 PM
The Fooles Troupe 26 Feb 08 - 11:41 PM
Big Al Whittle 27 Feb 08 - 04:52 AM
Mick Tems 27 Feb 08 - 05:15 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 27 Feb 08 - 05:51 AM
Saro 27 Feb 08 - 08:08 AM
Harmonium Hero 27 Feb 08 - 10:35 AM
GUEST 27 Feb 08 - 11:56 AM
Harmonium Hero 27 Feb 08 - 12:34 PM
Rowan 27 Feb 08 - 04:02 PM
Harmonium Hero 03 Mar 08 - 04:02 PM
Rowan 03 Mar 08 - 11:30 PM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 04 Mar 08 - 07:52 AM
Harmonium Hero 04 Mar 08 - 03:33 PM
Rowan 04 Mar 08 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,Pete Sumner 05 Mar 08 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,Davetnova 05 Mar 08 - 10:18 AM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Mar 08 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,pete Sumner 06 Mar 08 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,JTT 06 Mar 08 - 12:52 PM
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Subject: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 04:56 PM

do people like them?.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 04:57 PM

Don't know, but I've got one for sale


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:05 PM

I want one,
Is it portable?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Doc John
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:09 PM

No - sounds like Sunday in the chapel.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: DebC
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:11 PM

We're using an Indian Harmonium on the new CD. It's really a portable pump organ with a short keyboard. It's got a wonderful sound, but almost takes two people to work it; one to pump it (the bellows are on the rear of the instrument) and another to play on the keyboard.

You can hear a streaming file of it on my version of Salisbury Plain

Deb Cowan
www.DebraCowan.com


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:12 PM

Nah Diane it's large and non portable. Pretty though.
G


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Saro
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:23 PM

Hi Diane, I have a small portable harmonium. I don't really want to sell it, but if you need one for anything special I'm happy to offer it out on loan! Or you could try it for a while to see if it is really what you want...
Saro


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:23 PM

DebC,Very good.Ihave used one on my new CD,CONCERTINAS AND,VoiceConcertina, Harmonium ,Harmonica.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: danensis
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:25 PM

I have a harmonium which I bought from a chapel for a fiver when I was about 12. It takes two people to lift it, and at the moment the mice are nesting in it, and have chewed through one of the webs to the bellows. I guess I really ought to evict them.

John


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:31 PM

I have over the years seen the excellent Graham and Eileen Pratt performing with a small portable harmonium.Sounded good to me.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:36 PM

I love them, and use them - both a portable pump organ & an Indian baja - as described by DebC above, but the idea is that you pump the bellows with one hand & play the keyboard with the other, using the various drone stops along the way. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnZ9GbWqMrg

Here's some vintage Planxty with Christy playing pedal harmonium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z3A5Tgy47M

And not forgetting Ivor Cutler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LddPuhzt0F4


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Saro
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 05:44 PM

Mine is a Pearl River, which folds up small enough to go in the back of a mini!   I'm very fond of it, but after taking up the concertina, and inheriting my Dad's piano, I don't seem to feel the urge to play it, so it now sulks beneath my computer desk.

Mind you, it has sneaked out to Wild Goose Studios from time to time to play on various albums. It made a brief appearance on the Patterson Jordan Dipper album a few years ago, though it was mean enough not to bring me home a copy! It is still basking in the glory, and thinks itself a bit above me these days I fear!
Saro


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 06:11 PM

For a number of years I used an Indian harmonium - a great funky sound, full and reedy and folky ... Found it in a pawn shop, had no idea what it was ... An East Indian guy came along one day when I was busking and told me what it was, showed me his style of playing ... Another time a young Sikh gave a demonstration ...

I used it to accompany sea songs, Irish pub songs, etc.; it had a bit of that squeeze-box effect.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Rapunzel
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 06:44 PM

Mike France of Spitting on a Roast uses an Indian Harmonium to similar effect - sounds wonderful. You can hear him playing it every Thursday at Fleetwood Folk Club at the Steamer.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 08:41 PM

They were once traditional in Cape Breton music, before the piano took over. I've heard David McGuinness use one with David Greenberg and it worked - I think they've recorded it as either "Concerto Caledonia" or "Puirt a Baroque".


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Alice
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 08:55 PM

There is an earlier thread on Mudcat about harmoniums from 1998.

thread.cfm?threadid=4412


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Effsee
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 09:27 PM

Battlefield Band used to use a small one when they started out in the mid '70s...before they could afford the keyboards!


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,me
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 10:17 PM

David Greenberg recorded using a pump organ - or are they just overgrown harmoniums (harmonica?)?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 11:13 PM

As Alice's thread link indicates, there is some variability in naming conventions; both the Indian instruments (generally small and portable and with the bellows operated by one hand) and the imitation organs (generally uprights, possibly with organ stops, foot operated bellows) in Britain, US Oz and elsewhere) are called harmoniums. All use free reeds.

Their tonal qualities surely give them some niches in music of interest to folkies, although I can't think of any examples off the top of my head. But if you know any Ivor Cutler cognoscenti in your immediate circle have a listen to any of his records and you'll never be the same again. "Jammy Smears" and "Velvet Donkey" are two I recall with great fondness.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 11:13 PM

Stuart Robinson of the Taverners (Blackpool, Lancs) used to play a very neat fold-up harmonium (as well as guitar, banjo, mandolin and numerous other things). It disappeared from his battery of instruments after he left the pedals behind following a gig somewhere in the North-East. (Always a risk with removable parts!) He got rid of the instrument shortly thereafter. The next year, when they played again in the same club, the pub landlord came up to Stuart and presented him with the missing pieces! Alas, he never managed to recover the harmonium and went on to play various synthesizers and melodeons instead.

Chris Pollington/Harvey of Strawhead used to play a fairly large fold-up harmonium before passing on to synthesizers. That was a fairly plain, box-like instrument as I remember it.

John Kelly (harmoniumhero) played at the Steamer in Fleetwood a couple of years ago while visiting family in the area, and he had a very distinctive take on a number of folk standards. His website cropped up in the Mudcat threads last month.

Some time before that a guy called Chas from Lancaster (sorry can't remember his last name - I'll need to ask Nikki next time she comes over) brought his harmonium to the Steamer and played in a very idiosyncratic style (I seem to remember some blues coming into his set). He also managed to get a few tunes out of one of the harmoniums in my house.

"One of....." - I seem to have accumulated a few of these instruments over the years. The first one I found was originally bought for an evangelical group in Preston around 1895 (for Six Guineas - I have the bill of sale) and is just about portable - supposedly it was carried out into the streets for open-air services. For lack of space, I used to keep it in front of the (unused) fireplace in the flat I used to live in in St Annes. A visiting friend had been sitting in front of it for half-an-hour before commenting "Your fireplace has got pedals!" Another, smaller, harmonium is definitely portable and probably similar to the ones played by the people I've mentioned above - and the one played by Graham Pratt. This one resembles a (Gothic) cradle on a stand. One half of the peaked lid flips up to form a music stand and reveal the keyboard - about two-and-a-half octaves. In other versions I have seen, the pedal arrangement is removable and the legs fold up underneath the instrument. There are at least a couple of others in various states of disrepair - and I seem to remember passing on an instrument to Mike France, which although built to fold up, was a bit on the heavy side to be truly portable.(The harmonium, not Mike!) I think both of the playable instruments are in old philharmonic pitch, so slightly higher than concert. This, and the speed my ankles would have to work, has kept me from getting involved with the instruments. Also, my legs just won't fit!

I do love the harmonium sound, usually mellower than accordion or melodeon, they're not too loud to sing against, and are capable of producing wonderful arrangements in the right hands.

I used to see quite large harmoniums fairly regularly in antique warehouses - in the '70s, £40 - £50 would get you a gothic architectural specimen with twenty ivory stops and two keyboards! I don't see things like that these days, I guess lots of them were just destroyed.
Checking eBay shows this ornate model for £50

Also reminds me that some harmoniums are "American Organs". The difference is in the way air is passed over the reeds. Harmoniums push the air out , while American Organs suck the air in. Each system uses a reservoir arrangement to disengage the intermittent action of the alternating pedals and allow the smooth pressure/suction required for the music.

Although I haven't got as far as I would have liked with these instruments, I would recommend them to anybody who is thinking of trying them out - if you can find one!

Ross


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 06:16 AM

> I do love the harmonium sound, usually mellower than accordion or melodeon, they're not too loud to sing against, and are capable of producing wonderful arrangements in the right hands.

Ross has just said everything I was about to write. You play an instrument because you love its sound, love singing to it, love how it blends with other instruments. The harmonium was always one of my favourite components in the Muckram Wakes' sound. And of course I used to play one myself in the duo with Packie. Always loved the texture it added. When we first started out I played a tiny antique mahogany one with ivory keys, which had been used in a ship's chapel (or whatever the nautical term is) in Victorian times; then later I acquired a larger sturdier one with a swell and an extra bank of reeds which we bought from Joby Blanshard, Isobel Sutherland's husband, who did them up as a hobby (you should have seen their house - a reed-keyboard wonderland). I still have both of them, they are still in perfect working order, and the Victorian one stands open by a farmhouse window next to an antique drawing-room harp made in 1837. There's something magic for me about instruments that have lived such a long life and can still speak. The little ship's harmonium has been promised to a maritime museum when I finally go join the heavenly band. Hope someone will play it.

I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that Saro's harmonium is a lovely one too. Packie got a few of those from a music dealer in Kilburn but in their original state they were free-standing. Having spent a considerable amount of his life folding and unfolding the ones we gigged with, he developed some clear - and very clever - ideas of his own about how to convert them to collapsoble ones, so there are a few Packie-custom-specials floating about. (Though the first time I watched him take a saw to one of the legs I had a fit, because he hadn't told me what he was doing.) I used to play them for fun before they went out to their new homes, and always thought they were great. They're a rarity now, I suppose.

Electronic keyboards these days will do everything the bellow-driven ones would do plus a whole lot more, but they're not quite the same (and you have to plug them in which means trailing wires, scrabbling about looking for an electric socket etc etc etc).

Harmoniums in folk music? As natural a pairing as fish & chips. Unless for some reason you don't like the free-reed sound, what's not to love?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 06:56 AM

John Kelly - Harmonium Hero. Already mentioned on the 'cat. If you like Harmonium and traditional music give him a listen. Not a Penguin Cafe in sight...

:D


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: treewind
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 08:01 AM

We had one of those Chinese "Pearl River" Harmoniums once - I think Pete Coe had bought up a job lot of them and Mary bought one. We used it for one track "It's A Rosebud in June" on our first, home-recorded album Through the Groves. You can hear the result HERE (Ogg Vorbis sound file).
We then sold it to Johnny Adams and Chris Coe who used it for at least one track on Chris's album "A Wiser Fool".

Despite being a remarkable engineering achievement to make a harmonium fold up into a small rectangular box, it's still unpleasantly heavy to carry about. It's also half a semitone sharp. It was never gigged and we don't miss it.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 09:08 AM

If yours is like the one the Muckrams used, it's a different animal from Saro's Pearl River. Those were larger, and were originally designed to fold down into box (or box-shaped object), and as you say they were big & heavy, and no picnic to assemble either.

The little Pearl Rivers (smaller keys, can't remember the range but I think Helen Watson's big one was four octaves) were not designed to collapse - Packie added that feature himself. So, despite being a Pearl River they're totally different instruments.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 12:30 PM

£99.99 New
Giok


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,AR
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 12:39 PM

Jean Turiff of Aberdeenshire used one sometimes.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 09 Feb 08 - 07:30 PM

Hello Sara.
Woops sorry, I thought I'd sent you a copy of Flat Earth!!!
It'll be on it's way shortly, honest guv!!
Sadly, it will be a clone, as it's sold out now, but I'll copy the sleevenotes (inc an honourable mention for you!)
It is indeed a wonderful instrument, even though I looked really stupid trying to get my knees under it!!
And, if you ever thought of parting company with it, please put my name on the list of interested parties!!
Regards and Thanks
Much Love
Ralphie.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: johnadams
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 05:36 AM

Contrary to Bonnie's recollection, Muckram Wakes' Pearl River harmonium was four octaves and WAS designed to collapse (usually after the gig, but occasionally during).

The three octave version was fixed but several people, including Packie, took a saw to the legs and with the addition of some hinges made a more portable package.

Roger Watson found the importers in North London, on the Edgeware Rd not so far from Bonnie & Packies' (then) house, and Pete Coe and I went and bought a container load and spread them round the English folk scene.

Made up in low quality oak, they arrived from China in wooden packing cases marked 'No Drop - No Get Wet'.
The tuning was usually of the 'close but no cigar' variety. They are still imported but the tuning quality is noticeably worse as is the build quality.

The one I use with Chris Coe (and on the occasional Ryburn 3 Step gig) was one of the originals which I think I bought from somebody, sold to Mary Humphreys and then bought it back. It's now in concert pitch Anahata.

Harmoniums (is that the plural?) are very useful instruments in folk music but same as any instrument, can be deployed in an unsuitable and sometimes dreary way. In retrospect, some of the old MW harmonium tracks are glorious and some very ponderous. That's the way it goes. I remember George Deacon and Marion Ross doing gigs with a harmonium and it working very well but I've no recordings to judge how good my recollection is.

Sampled and pitch shifted both up and down, the textures are brilliant for film sound designs!

Johnny A


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 05:53 AM

I remember George Deacon and Marion Ross doing gigs with a harmonium

Me too.
Not so much gigs as slo-mo spectacle, with the harmonium gliding across the floor and Marion in determined pursuit, while George stood stolidly singing. John Clare would have loved it and pointed them North towards Helpstone.
Whence indeed they went.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,Sue Allan
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 06:14 AM

There's a Reed Organ and Harmonium Museum at the Victoria Hall in Saltaire, nr Shipley, W Yorks. I've not been but my partner(who's an organist and has played the concert pitch French harmonium they hire out for classical concerts all over the country)says it's very good. I think opening times are Sunday to Thursday 1100-1600, but you could phone(evenings)01274 585601 or email phil@harmoniumservice.demon.co.uk for details.

Saltaire's great any time - Salt's Mill with its Hockneys, cafes, bookshop etc is always worth a visit, and the Early Music Shop has just moved into part of the mill building too.

Sue


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 06:57 AM

I'm glad Johnny's popped in - my first thought was to give the Ryburns a plug. What a great band - such a shame they do so few gigs. Honestly one of my all time favourites.

I've been trying for years to find a small harmonium that leaves both hand free. All the pedal ones are too big, and the Indian type not only need one hand to pump, but only play on the push. This makes them no good for drones, specially when you want to play, say, a whistle over it yourself. A shruti box can be played with one hand (Jackie Oates does a clever thing changing the drones as she goes along - sounds lovely), but that means you can't play the guitar at the same time!

I've even experimented with a lilo pump and a melodica, also a foot operated accordion, and a small electric fan with pitch pipes. No, really - I have!

The duet concertina is the closest thing, but again both hands needed - plus at least two brains.

If anyone knows of a good very small foot-pumped harmonium please let me know.

Tom

Thanks for the Saltaire tip. I'll pop along I think.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 07:10 AM

> If yours is like the one the Muckrams used, it's a different animal from Saro's Pearl River. Those were larger, and were originally designed to fold down into box

> I think Helen Watson's big one was four octaves

No John, I'm not mixing them up - I said Muckram's harmonium folded down and had four octaves. It's Saro's smaller Pearl River that didn't. Nice to see you here, though :-)


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 07:13 AM

Ahhh, re-reading the above I see the problem: "Those" is ambiguous - sorry! But I meant it as referring to the Mucks' instrument.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 07:38 AM

Does anyone remember a singer from the 70s (based around Sussex I think) called Jenny Dunbar? She had an antique fold-down (ship's?) harmonium similar to my old one, but it was an octave larger than mine (keys were teensy, so that doesn't make the difference you'd think) and STOPS. Mine was jealous.

Years later the indomitable Packie Manus found a harmonium like Jenny's in a junk shop - or most of one - and snaffled it. Keys & stops appeared to be in good order, bellows totally gone so no idea what the reeds sound like. When Packie moved to Ireland he bequeathed to me, and when I moved to Ireland I bequeathed it to Michael's mother's attic; but next time I'm in Essex I'm going to retrieve it and see if it can be resurrected. It was clearly manufactured by the same company who made mine, identical-looking (or would be if it was all there) except for the ivory stop-knobs and the fact it's a few inches longer.

Nearer the time, I'll put a call out on the jungle drum to see if I can find anyone who restores these little old beasties. It may only need bellows, but I won't know until I can hear it -


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Saro
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 07:43 AM

I actually ended up with two little Pearl River Harmoniums (Harmonia?) as I bought one for a friend, who eventually sold it back to me. As he was a furniture maker, he has stripped off the rather ugly varnish, re-finished the wood, did some decorative carving on the edge of the lid, and generally made it very pretty! Ralphie, I've heared about your efforts to fit your knees underneath it - I think Doug still grins at the memory.
As Bonnie say, it was not originally designed to fold up, but does so courtesy of Packie Byrne's cunning plan. Mind you, it also had a penchant for wandering about the floor while being played. I tried various methods to prevent this - the most entertaining was when a member of the audience came and lay on the floor in front of it!!
The least successful was at a concert at Chipp3enha, (I think) when I taped it down with gaffer tape. Unfortunately, in the middle of a song the tape at one end came unstuck, resulting in the poor beast attempting to go round in a circle while I tried my best to follow. I can't remember what I was singing at the time, but I think we all ended up in mild hysterics.
At least I can hang on to concertina....
Saro


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 07:47 AM

> Not so much gigs as slo-mo spectacle, with the harmonium gliding across the floor and Marion in determined pursuit

Brilliant description, Countess D. I had the same problem, and think I tried blu-tacking it down, to no great success. Hey, Saro - I'll race ya...


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: johnadams
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 08:07 AM

OK Bonnie - we got there in the end.

Your shipboard harmonium reminded me that when I produced Keith Kendrick's album 'Home Ground', one of his keyboard playing backing musicians - Brad Holland - had a folding shipboard harmonium with five octaves and a really beefy tone. It folded down to small coffin size and was luggable if not exactly 'portable'. It didn't appear on the album but I really coveted the instrument. Maybe yours will be similar.

Tom - thanks for your kind words about R3S. It's difficult to keep in rehearsal when both Pete & Chris are off on different directions gigging and teaching but we might fit in a couple of outings this year.

On the subject of harmonium drones, on a couple of songs with Chris I use a second, electronic, keyboard and keep a matchstick handy to jam down a note on the harmonium to act as a drone. Works a treat but wouldn't be as elegant as having a little free reed bass pedal. Perhaps we could commission a couple.

J


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 08:08 AM

Actually I have been acquiring a few 'reed organs' (not really harmoniums!) - some with a few stradella bass style keys - some designed to be 240V powered, some even battery powered (one made mostly out of cardboard!). Looking to replace some of teh blowers with 12V computer fans.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 08:14 AM

Jenny Dunbar used to be a resident at Groombridge folk club.GeorgeDeacon and Marion Ross,Iwas listening to a vinyl track the other day,Harmonium was indeed good.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 09:46 AM

anyone know the German translation for woodworm.. !!???


http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/HARMONIUM-Reiseharmonium-Orgel-Mannborg_W0QQitemZ150213968242QQihZ005QQcategoryZ16219QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrd


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 09:53 AM

btw.. one of my special favourite CDs

is "Love, Death and the Lady" by Shirley and Dolly Collins...

always assumed the beautiful haunting reed sounds were harmonium..

but googling now to confirm,

turns out its something called a flute-organ ??????


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 10:42 AM

IIRC it had a little row of wooden pipes standing vertically which worked in much the same manner as fipple flutes (recorders), rather than the metal-reed system used by harmoniums. Those are very much older: you see them in medieval iconography, often sitting in the player's lap. They're also called portative organs or positive organs, and the keys were often played with one hand while the other worked the bellows; though there were also slightly larger ones which had someone standing around the back doing this chore. (I used to play with an early music group that had one.) So flute organs are actually mini pipe-organs, and their sound is slightly less edgy.

I saw Dolly play hers in gigs with Shirley a couple of times (and what a magnificent pair they were) but I can't remember how she handled the bellows issue. Sometimes people just use a little fan-motor, unfolky as it sounds.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Rowan
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 05:03 PM

Bonnie, That sounds very much like the "Flutina" (brand name) that Beat Klippel (of Nariel Creek fame) had.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 05:05 PM

I have a beautiful one the size of a cupboard, with lovely old ivory keys. When it played, it had a lovely tone, but the canvas bellows now need mending. I'd really love to find it a good home - if anyone in Ireland would like to talk to me...?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 05:26 PM

Mary Holland who is part of the Wild Willy Barrett Sleeping Dogz takes her Harmonium with her for each gig.

Here are some photo's of when they were at Faldingworth Live

Wild Wily Barrett & Mary Holland


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Villan
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 05:27 PM

oops typed Wily instead of Willy

Wild Willy Barrett & Mary Holland


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 05:42 PM

"but I can't remember how she handled the bellows issue"

a friend of mine has a pipe organ, with hers you have to pump with foot pedals to get the desired effect.

Charlotte (may be interested)


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 06:54 PM

I think Dolly's organ was too small for a foot-bellows. Certainly the early portatives were, and my vague memory of watching Dolly from backstage at a festival is that she just had it sitting on a table. She sure could play it though.

JTT: How big is "a cupboard"? Can you tell us any more about yours, and where in Ireland you are etc etc etc.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 06:57 PM

I've been thinking about getting a small one in the future, just to use as accompanying drone on a few songs, as I don't play an instrument and the few I've heard do this sound gorgeous. Is this a feasible idea, and are there ones particularly suitable for this?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Greg B
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 09:02 PM

Back in the 60's and 70's a popular child's amusement at least
here in the states, was the "Magnus Electra-chord Organ" They
made them from quite small 'tabletop' models to quite a bit
larger free-standing models, with anything from maybe ten
major and minor chords to a full set of bass notes and major,
minor, diminished and ninth chords on the left hand.

They were free reed instruments, powered by internal electric blowers
which could get rather wheezy over time. You'd turn a knob on one
side or the other, and the blower would spool up--- some second
later the thing would be ready to use.

These, I think, were really nothing more than 'powered harmoniums'
of various sizes. Quite popular at Christmas-time as a gift.

Generally I found that the only kids that had them were those who
were never given actual music lessons; those of us who had actual
music lessons on actual pianos were then thought by the Magnus
owners and their parents to be some sorts of geniuses because
we could walk up the the things and play them, either by 'ear' or
from the 'teach yourself' music books offered as accessories.

Kind of sad, really. I can recall being held prisoner by friends
who had these things and who kept insisting that I 'play more' on the
thing that had always eluded them for lack of even rudimentary
instruction. I also recall some rather sticky messes where the
names of the notes were either written on bits of masking tape on
the keys or (worse yet) in marker pen directly on the plastic.

But you could get quite a sound out of the larger 'console' models
which had sometimes a several octave range and all those nifty
chords for the left hand.

Some Indian friends of mine had a harmonium, and one of their sons
was trained in playing 'raga' music on it; the 'traditional' use in
India. Quite different!


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 11:28 PM

I just remembered my aunt and uncle near Enniskillen used to have an instrument that sounds just like those described by Greg B. I had forgotten about the chord buttons, but i do remember they had some sort of fan. Can't say if they were mains-powered or battery (the one they had was fairly small). Hardly more than a kid's toy, it was nevertheless capable of producing a pleasant sound. I guess it had brass or possibly steel reeds, nice mellow sound, in tune with itself at least, and I think the fan/blower noise wasn't too obtrusive. I used to play it on visits there in the early '70s. Was really disappointed to find they had traded it in when upgrading to a Hammond organ!

Around the same time, I had a Hohner Melodica (I haven't seen it for years, but it may still be around). I think Hohner produced an adaptor to provide a powered wind-supply (or maybe I'm thinking of somebody's home-made effort?) Wouldn't have quite the same street-cred as a harmonium down the folk-club, but could be a cheap way of finding out if you like singing to the accompaniment of reeds!

Ross


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 11:30 PM

Saw a group of English buskers on TV a while ago. The 32 bass P/A player had a Melodica attached to the P/A - used it as a contrating sound.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 02:30 AM

Bonnie, it's about three feet high and three deep, and four feet wide, I'd say. I'm in Dublin. Would you use it for music?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 04:03 AM

I wasn't actually thinking of myself, as I already have two harmoniums (and a potential third, if it can be raised from the dead). But it's useful info to pass on to people, or even just to post here. Someone in this thread might be interested in it - Dublin's not that far away.

From the dimensions, it sounds like a cottage organ. Tabster and I used to co-own one of those, and I still have a phantom-of-the-opera-esque joke photo of myself sitting at it, dressed in Victorian gear.

I'll mention it around to people. If you want to, you can email me some contact details. Email is my full name (with no spaces, dots etc) {a t} g m a i l {d o t} c o m

I hope it finds a good home -


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 04:35 AM

I wonder if anybody remebers Widdershins, who used to have that tall bloke called Clive on vocals, who worked in mansfield carlsboro music shop - early 1970's. I used to like their bash at trad material. They did acracking version of Rufford Poachers.

John kelly is currently a hero of mine. He lends elegance and clarity to traditional songs that I had thought were awful, becaause I'd heard so many awful versions of them. The guy's brilliant.

Theres something satifying about a harmonium, that big 'woof' of air coming out the front that you don't get with a concertina.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 06:41 AM

Bonnie and others,

Dolly Collins' instrument was a portative organ made I believe by David Mander, which I think was electrically blown. It was a sort of replica of the mediaeval ones you see carved on choir stalls in cathedrals. I think it gets a name check on the "Anthems in Eden" cover but as I'm supposedly at work I can't verify this!

Anyway I was lucky enough to see Dolly play it and Shirley sing and it was lovely (as was Dolly and is Shirley).

I must have seen the Muckram Wakes harmonium as well - could it REALLY have got down the Troubadour stairs? I think we must have been in the pub down the road when they did the sound check!


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 11:51 AM

Bonnie - The harmonium was certainly living in a cottage when I got it. Neighbours of my parents gave it to them to mind; the neighbours later died, and my parents were left with the organ, which eventually drifted in to me.

If you get someone genuinely interested in it, for music, I'd be delighted.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 12:11 PM

I'm just catching up on a couple of weeks' mudcatting, so....
Tom Bliss: not sure what your problem is with the Indian harmonium only working on the push. They have a sprung internal bellows, which maintains the pressure, so giving continuous sound. So they are suitable for drones; in fact most of them have drone stops, so you only need to work the bellows. This, of course still requires one hand, but you can always collar a resident or someone off the front rowe to do this while you play another instrument. For that matter, you could get somebody to play a shrutti box. Only problem is that they usually seem to be tuned slightly sharp to western concert pithch.
Ross Campbell: as you said, some 'harmoniums' are actually American organs (also called reed organs). The bellows on the harmonium pump air in, while those on the American organ draw it out, allegedly producing a more mellow tone, although I'm not sure if this is true. To find out, you'd need to compare two otherwise identical instruments - if you can find them! Purists will tell you that a true harmonium has a harmonium stop, which bypasses the internal air chamber, so that you are controlling the air pressure from the padals, thus allowing greater expression. The one I use is an American organ; however, it's leaking to the extent that I'm controlling the pressure from the bellows anyway. See you at Fleetwood Folk Club on 3rd April, by the way.
Rowan: bit puzzlaed about this 'flutina'; the flutina I know is a mid-19thC squeezebox, a bit like a melodeon in reversa. My latest aquisition is a harmoniflute, which is sort of a cross between a harmonium and a flutina. (Also called a lap organ).
The harmonium has been a very useful instrumenrt for me; I've performed a wide range of English, Scottish, Irish and American songs with it, and one or two originals. Lugging it up and down stairs, and negotiating sprung doors - which will ALWAYS open towards you if you're carrying anything awkward - is a pain; however, the rewards are well worth it, and I can recommend anybody thinking of buying one to go ahead. Collapsible ones do crop up not infrequently on ebay, and can often be found at antique fairs and the like. The indian ones are easy to come by, and even harmoniflutes show up on ebay - it's where I got mine a few weeks ago, and there have been two or three there since.
John Kelly


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Rowan
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 03:57 PM

G'day Hero John,
bit puzzlaed about this 'flutina'; the flutina I know is a mid-19thC squeezebox, a bit like a melodeon in reversa.

The last time I saw this particular instrument would be at least 20 years ago but my recollection is that it had piano keys rather than buttons; it wasn't a lot larger than a 3 row button box though and was played on the lap, using a flap on the long side away from the player to provide air flow through the reeds. Mid 19th century would 'fit' as it was (I gather) brought to the area before the start of the 20th century. It had been owned by Con and Beat Klippel, who were instrumental in starting the Nariel Creek Black and White Folk Festival in 1962-3. Both are now playing for dances 'upstairs' but I might be able to chase up details of the instrument next time I'm at Nariel, just after Christmas.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's unplugged Apprentice
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 04:37 PM

Flutina

Charlotte (Momma's got a squeeze-box)


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Rowan
Date: 24 Feb 08 - 05:09 PM

Thanks for that link, Charlotte.
Again, its appearance rings bells in what passes for my memory but I have no knowledge of whether the Nariel instrument was diatonic or not, as I never got my hands on it. It wouldn't surprise me to find that the Klippel's one was diatonic, as the Nariel area as well as its music, was (in the 1960s) dominated by Hohner single row button accordions and melodeons, all in C. Keith Klippel (Con & Beat's nephew) is getting on but still plays his Lachenal 20 button C/G concertina in the Nariel dances every year.

As an aside, The Klippel family got a junior band going and the LP of the Nariel dance music has, as its cover, about 20 kids sitting along the trunk of a fallen eucalypt, all with accordions on their knees. Two of those kids were Ray and Ian Simpson, sproglets of Neville and Maureen, who lived over the Creek from Con and Beat and who played with them in the Nariel Band. These days, Ray and Ian both play anglos rather well and Ian makes anglos and very good timber penny whistles.

Cheers, Rowan (who is about to commence the working day)


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 08:07 AM

I have used it in conjunction with concertinas,as a rhythym instrument ,backing irish jigs and reels.I really like it.http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: sian, west wales
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 09:40 AM

I saw a very very good Swedish/Finnish trio in Celtic Connections this year who used a harmonium: Nordik Tree. I think they borrowed one from Donald Shaw rather than bring theirs over. Well worth listening to; they have a myspace page.

There's a small missionary harmonium (small box, central pedastal, very Victorian) in the Museum of Welsh Life in Cardiff and the curator of the gallery tells me that the Indian use of the organ springs from those brought over in the 1800s by missionaries.

sian


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 11:15 AM

Hi John - thanks for that info. All the ones I've ever tried only play on the Push. I'll investigate further. Tom


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 25 Feb 08 - 03:56 PM

Rowan: what you describe sounds like a harmoniflute. It's built like a flutina, but has a three-octave piano keyboard (I think some may have been four-octave). It's played exactly as you describe, and is often called a lap organ. There seems to have been a stand available as an optional extra, with a single pedal which somehow connected to the bellows, thus enabling it to be played with both hands. I wonder if this is the instrument as described by Sian above. If you google 'harmoniflute', there are some photos of the instrument - both with and without these stands - in museums. Tne Indian harmonium certainly is supposed to have developed from instruments introduced by missionaries. I gather the impression from your email that you are in Oz. In which case, you might be interested to know that the one I have (bought on ebay a few weeks ago) has the name and address inside of somebody in Oz, who I take to be its original owner, and the date 1857. The instrument is not in the same place as the computer, but I'll open it up when I get back there and check the details and get back to you. You never know - It might be your great-great-grandad!
Just returning to Dick Miles' original questio: 'Do people like them'; I think you can see from the number of posts here that they certainly arouse plenty of interest, and my own experience of using the instrument - in groups in the past, and now as my main accompaniment as a solo singer, that people do like it. It always arouses interest, and people always come up to me afterwards to say how much they enjoyed listening to it. Many people make the comment that it sounds good accompanying the voice, and they like hearting songs played on it which they have previously heard on guitar. In fact, a regular comment is: "where do you get them? - I want one!".
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,Orryl Oak
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 09:32 AM

As a box player, I find the British variety rather slow to 'speak', although in the right context, it has a certain appeal. I'd instance the rendition of 'To A Wild Rose' in the film 'A Month in The Country' (Branagh's best -understated- screen performance?) as apt to the purpose of this instrument. It's noteworthy that the song has a hymn-like construction.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 01:33 PM

Shouldn't the plural be 'Harmonia'?
Jest arksin! :-)


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 01:54 PM

The benefits of a classical education just never go away, do they?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 01:55 PM

According to Wikepedia, yes.

Whilst looking, I found this clip of the PCO doing MFAFH before it got Oirishised and used in DIY store ads.

It was the first composition Simon Jeffes produced after hauling the thing out of a skip, in Japan I think.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 02:20 PM

How come there are no credits on that clip for harmonium, or harmonium player? When I saw PCO in Manchester (RCM) I think Simon Jeffes himself played it.

Ross


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Cats
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 02:40 PM

We used a harmonium [the one in Mike O'Connors spare bedroom] as backing on 'The Lifeboat Prayer'. We wanted a Cornish Methodist chapel feel to the song and it worked!


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 26 Feb 08 - 11:41 PM

"As a box player, I find the British variety rather slow to 'speak'"

As a trained pipe organ player, most big organs are slow to speak (behave yourselves you lot - get back in your cage and stand in the naughty corner!), and you learn how to 'play in anticipation'. The problem is accentuated by the acoustics of large churches, and the usual awful positioning of the player console. You sometimes get the sound from the pipes coming past the player before the congregation has heard it, and then you get the echo returning to the player, usually after the congregation has heard it! Many untrained players cause the 'hymn getting terminally slower' syndrome, because they try to listen to the singers - this is a big no-no!

There is only one technique that works - play the piece 'as if you are deaf' - and keep strict time. This means however in ensemble playing, that often some sort of musical director/condusctor is need if changes of pace to keep up with a soloist who 'bends the tempo' are needed.

The same trick applies to squeezeboxes/harmoniums that are slow to speak. Piano accordions are really just 'chest pipe organs'.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:52 AM

If it were the genitive case (pertaining to two harmoniums), would it be harmoniorum?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Mick Tems
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:15 AM

Calennig had two harmoniums, or harmonia. I played the first after Bonnie and Packie stayed at my cottage, and Packie did his wonders to make the harmonium really collapsible and portable. The second Calennig harmonium was of the Jonny Adams/Pete Coe job-lot variety; this Pearl River has flown back and forth to America many times and has travelled Europe, and it is still in tune (apart from the one time that Marcus Butler restored and tuned it.)

Following my stroke, the Pearl River is still packed away. I want to it go to a good home - any offers? I did have a tiny victorian hand-held harmonium, made in France and called a brevette, but I sold it to Artie Tresize.

Incidentally, the four of us met the good Captain and Cathy for a wonderful session at Daly's Bar in Ballydehob, West Cork, just before we set off to The Gathering traditional festival at Killarney. Roger the uillean piper was there, and so were our generous and friendly hosts Bertie and Annie Moran. Methinks I'd better start another thread...


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 05:51 AM

I remember that visit well - in fact our car liked it so much that it didn't want to leave Wales at all. And didn't. Royston Wood had to drive us back to London. With a whip. [Just kidding] Great days, those -


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Saro
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 08:08 AM

Remember the poem "What is it that roareth thus
Can it be a motor bus?" that went through the declension??
On the same lines we could have
"What makes this delightful hum?
Is it a harmonium?
Listening I quickly see
the virtues of harmonii
And how far I'd gladly go
to play you, O harmonio.

See them coming from afar,
More and more harmonia
We've a chorus (or a quorum)
Of these sweet harmoniorum.
Then at last we beg for peace
Even from harmoniis."

Far from perfect, I'm sure some of you can do better!
Saro


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 10:35 AM

Diane Easby: Thanks for that clip. I saw that concert on the telly years ago. It was the first time I'd seen the 'Penguins', and I was hooked. I have a couple of recorded versions of the tune by them. It ably demonstrates why you shouldn't throw harmoniums on skips! Find a deserving folkie to give them to instead.
Rowan: further to my previous comments about the harmoniflute; the name written inside is: Chat Newark, Ballarall, Australia. and the date 1857.
Dr. Price: The 'tiny hand-held Victorian harmonium' sounds like a harmoniflute (see my earlier comments). These were mostly (or possibly all) made by Busson-Brevette of Paris. They are also known as lap organs.
Foolestroupe: That should be 'chest reed organs'. Quite right though - the accordion is basically a two-manual organ. In fact if it's a freebass model, it is definitely a two-manual organ. It just has the bellows in a different place.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 11:56 AM

'Freebass model' sounds like a harmonium played whilst smoking crack.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 12:34 PM

"...sounds like....."
I think that would depend who was playing...
Actually, it was freebass accordian. That is, it has the left hand arranged like the right hand of a continental system accordian, rather than in chords, so you play a lef hand part as you would on a piano or an organ.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Rowan
Date: 27 Feb 08 - 04:02 PM

G'day Hero John,
Rowan: further to my previous comments about the harmoniflute; the name written inside is: Chat Newark, Ballarall, Australia. and the date 1857.
Did you have a typo? I suspect you mean "Ballarat" but 'you never know until you ask'.

I'll not be able to check the one that, 20 years ago, was at Nariel until I get there at Christmas and even then I'm assuming it is still in the Klippel family.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 04:02 PM

Rowan: I had another look, and yes, it is Ballaratt (with a double 't'). What sort of a place is that? I'm wondering if the instrument was taken there by a seaman. These things were made in Paris, and 'Chat Newark' doesn't sound like an emigrating Frenchman! J.K.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Rowan
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 11:30 PM

Ballarat is the name of the city, although it was often spelled "Ballaratt" in the middle of the 19th century. It, along with Bendigo, was a major goldfield in Victoria; ships would dock at Geelong and their crews would desert en masse to travel the 60 odd miles north to Ballarat. It started around 1851, was the site of the Eureka Stockade (at Bakery Hill) and features in lots of songs as well as the history of various characters like Lola Montez.

These days the city (about 70 miles northwest of Melbourne) has its own university and a reputation of being cold, at least by Victorian standards. I'm sure Googling any of the names/terms I've mentioned would give you more info than I could muster, but feel free to PM me with specific requests.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 07:52 AM

"Jean Turiff of Aberdeenshire used one sometimes."

She was Jane Turriff - and she certainly did use one sometimes! Actually she used to travel all over the country to gigs with it - by public transport! And did I mention that she had one leg crippled? And did I mention she was also leading her husband Cameron who was blind?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 03:33 PM

Rowan: Thanks for the info. Fantastic. So my little harmoniflute might have been played by a gold digger?!.....or possibly just the local blacksmith/greengrocer etc. I must see if I can find any of those songs. It would be good if I could find one or two I could use. I keep meaning to sing some more Aussie songs anyway. I only know one.
Suffolk Miracle: Blimey...and I thought I was having problems....(see my comments a few posts back) John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: Rowan
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 05:17 PM

John, I've PMed you the words and some info on Look out below! both as written by Charles Thatcher and as collected from Sally Sloane.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,Pete Sumner
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 09:57 AM

When I came out west to California ten years ago, I brought a 1930's fold-up harmonium with me, in my carry on luggage, I think...
Anyway, it's still here and available if anyone would like to part with a reasonable about of cash...
No idea of value...it will need a bit of fettling...and will tone up your calf muscles as you peddle.....
Think this one has seem action on the tropics...or was designed for there...the key coverings are pinned and glued....
It's designed to be played in the missionary position :-)

If anyone's interested, post on this thread (hope that's allowed) ????

Cheers
Pete Sumner


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,Davetnova
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 10:18 AM

One of my favorite harmonium players - Ivor


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 04:10 AM

Pete Sumner

Can we discuss this?


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,pete Sumner
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 09:39 AM

Hello Foolestroupe....
Not sure how to proceed here....
Try me at...
petersumneratmac.com

This will confuse the spammers....maybe...

Harmonium located in Redwood City CA....30 minutes south of SFO
It's HEAVY...

cheers
P


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Subject: RE: harmoniums in folk music
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 06 Mar 08 - 12:52 PM

The one I'm seeking a good home for looks something like this:

http://www.bondle.co.uk/personal_pages/jon/reedorgan/images/malcolm1.jpg

though I'm not sure how many knobs are on it - its cover is down and has layers of books on it right now.


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