The harmonium is live and sydney recording studio instrument also known as peti or baja. This instrument is not a native Indian instrument. It is a European instrument which was imported in the 19th century. It is a reed organ with hand pumped bellows. Although it is a relatively recent introduction, it has spread throughout the subcontinent. Today, it is used in virtually every musical genre except the south Indian classical.
Sydney Recording Studio: Harmonium
Although this is a European invention, it has evolved into a truly bi-cultural instrument. The keyboard is European, but it has a number of drone reeds which are particularly Indian. European models came in both hand pumped and foot pumped models. The foot pumped models disappeared in India many years ago. This is because the foot pedals required one to sit in a chair; something which is unusual for an Indian musician. Also the only advantage of the foot model was that it freed both hands so that both melody and chords could be played. Indian music has no chords, so this was no advantage. Although the hand pumped models required one hand to pump they were more portable and comfortable when played on the floor.
There is an instrument which is very similar to the harmonium, but it has no keys. It therefore, is incapable of playing a melody and must merely play a drone. This is called a surpeti.
The harmonium can be found in many a Sydney recording studio because of the thriving indian music scene, particularly Kirtan. There are many great kirtan artists coming out of Sydney and Australia in general such as Sacred Earth, Kevin James, Lulu and Mishka and Nadav Kahn. I can highly recommend going to a kirtan because the inevitable result is that you leave feeling blissed out by chanting these ancient sonds. Our Sydney recording studio can help you record you Harmonium or Kirtan album.