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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
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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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