Viola Strings: A Complete Guide (2020)

viola strings

Introduction:

Contents

Have you always been curious about the viola? What is it? Is it a violin? What are its strings made of? Are there different types of materials you can use for your viola strings? How often should those viola strings be replaced? How many notes can you play on the viola strings?

Learning how to play the viola can be a very rewarding experience on your part, especially as you learn the history of the viola and how it was developed over the centuries, as technology and culture changed and adapted to the modern-day tastes of the time. To play the viola is to play a little bit of history, each and every day.

History of the Viola

Starting periods:

The history of the viola is long and varied–and it begins in the sixteenth century. We don’t particularly know when the specific instrument, the viola, was created, however, we do know that instruments in the violin family were created between 1530 and 1550.

These instruments are linked closely to the eventual creation of the viola. This creation began in northern Italy, alongside some of the most infamous musicians in Italian history e.g. Antonio Stradivari, Gasparo da Salo, and Andrea Guarnieri to name a few.

To start with–all stringed instruments that were created in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are named, in some form, after the viola. There were two specific names–viola da gamba and viola da braccio. The differences in these names have to do with how the instruments are played e.g. viola da gamba means “played at the leg” and viola da braccio means “played on the arm”.

Developing Periods:

While there were many different variations in design, over the next few centuries, it was not until the eighteen hundreds that the viola would have its final design, that would change the way we look at it.

This design change was helped by the fact that by the eighteen hundreds, playing music in concerts in large halls was becoming a very popular past time, and coupled with a stronger bow design–it was time.

Within the entire violin family, strings were made of heavier materials, their tension was increased to help boost their projection, the neck was redesigned to be slightly lower and longer, which made it easier for the player’s arm to move up and down, and then in the body of the instruments, the bridge and the bar were reinforced with better materials.

However, it was not until the late eighteen hundreds that the viola and the violin were given the same prestige to trained musicians. It was then that composers began to write concerts and concertos made specifically for the viola, which led to even more redesigns to the instrument itself.

The History of Viola

Considerable things for violas

This long and varied history only adds value and richness to the instrument, which is why it is perfect for any new or experienced musician to tackle. If you are interested in playing the viola, you should know everything you can about it.

Everything is important–not just the history, but also how to maintain your viola in its best condition for as long as possible. If you are aware of every inch of your viola, you will become a better player, a better musician.

Viola strings are one of the most important aspects of your viola–without them, your viola cannot be played. If they are not properly tightened, then your viola will not sound its best while you are playing it.

What is the Difference Between “Viola” and “Violin”?

viola

You have probably had this question before–even if you are an experienced musician, you have at least had someone ask you this question. What is the difference between a viola and a violin? It can’t be that they only have a few letters difference between them.

While the viola and the violin are both stringed instruments that were created and developed roughly around the same time in history, there are a few key differences that make them two distinct instruments–even to a layperson who doesn’t know the first thing about musical instruments.

size

The first key difference is size. The violin is markedly smaller than the viola. It is a fairly easy difference to tell, particularly when the two instruments are side by side with each other. The violin is generally about 36 centimeters (14 inches) long, while the viola is generally between 39 and 41 centimeters (15.5 to 16.5 inches) long.

musical notes

The next difference is something that really only knowledgeable musicians would know–and it deals with reading musical notes. Violin musicians read their music notes starting with the treble clef, while viola musicians would learn to read their music notes starting with the lesser-known alto clef.

bow frogs

The third difference is the bow frogs. Bow frogs basically indicate where you would how the bow e.g. the frog part is the end of the bow, where you hold the instrument. To indicate this, the bow frog is usually decorated with a colorful slide and a small circle.

Viola and violin bows differ, because the viola frog bow is usually slightly heavier than a violin frog bow, and sometimes the frog on the viola frog bow is curved, instead of straight (as it is on the violin bow).

pitch

Do you have an ear for the pitch? This fourth difference deals with differences in pitch–the pitch of a viola is lower than the pitch of a violin. This is because of the difference in starting notes. The first note on a violin is an “E”, which is five pitches higher than the first note on a viola, which is an “A”. Because of these differences, a viola has a much mellower sound than a violin.

strings

The fifth difference has to do with their strings. Not only are the viola strings thicker than violin strings, but they are also arranged differently for different notes. Viola string order goes like this (lowest to highest): C, G, D, A. Violin string order goes like this (lowest to highest): G, D, A, and E.

VIOLA vs. VIOLIN

5 Key Differences Between the Viola and the Violin

1. Size: the viola is larger than the violin.

2. Musical Notes: viola musicians read the alto clef, while violin musicians read the treble clef.

3. Bow Frogs: viola bow frogs are heavier and curved, as compared to the violin, where their bow frogs are smaller and straight.

4. Pitch: a viola’s pitch is lower, with a much mellow sound, while the violin pitch is higher.

5. Strings: viola strings are thicker and are arranged to form different notes as compared to the violin.

Viola verses violin (Infographic):

viola vs violin
Infographic: viola vs violin

Types of Violas

Violas

Throughout the years, violas have been categorized differently, depending on a variety of factors that were important during that time period. However, the most important factors can be characterized by–size, time period, and musical purpose/genre.

Differences in Viola Categorizations

-size

-time period

-musical purpose/genre

Viola Types: Size

While throughout the history of the viola they have been made at a fairly wide range of sizes, nowadays, there is a strict guideline that dictates the acceptable size range of violas.

This is all due to the range that you want the viola to have–if it is a lower range, then the soundbox has to be larger to create that tone, which would then not allow the actual instrument to fit under your chin.

So because of this, a lot of people experimented with the soundbox and fingerboard length of the viola. As a result, the majority of violas are either 14 to 15 inches or over 17 inches long.

Viola Types: Size Differences Between the Alto and Tenor

These two viola types–alto and tenor–are based on size. This was one of the first designs of the viola, and they have different purposes.

The tenor viola plays a lower part than an alto viola, so its body is bigger to register a lower tone of the instrument.

The alto viola is a middle to a higher tone, so it did not have to be as big as the tenor viola.

Generally, there were at least three violas played together, and as many as five in an arrangement. However, as the violin became popular, the viola became used less and less, which accounts for the wide range in sizes of the instrument.

Viola Types: Differences Between Time Periods

Pre Baroque Time Period

Before the viola was invented, there were several instruments that were similar to the viola that was played. The term “viola” was used well before we had created the instrument the viola, yet this references different instruments–most popularly the three-stringed Violetta or the lira that was played upright during the era of the Byzantine Empire.

Baroque Time Period

This viola, known as the Baroque Viola, was the forefather of the modern viola. This instrument was created in the sixteenth century. Compared to our modern-day viola, it has a shallower angle on the neck of the instrument, thicker strings, and lower tension.

This is where the classifications of the violas come in e.g. the creation of the alto and the tenor violas. Crafting techniques allowed for more design advancements in the eighteenth century.

Classical Viola

As new techniques allowed for stronger tension and higher range and projection of the viola, thus came the advent of the classical viola in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

This viola has a smaller, thinner neck, higher tension in the strings, and has been adapted to be made with many different types of wood, strings, and the addition of a chin rest makes it easier to play.

Electric Viola

Surprisingly enough, these were created and sold, starting in the 1930s, and do not contain any sound boxes of f-holes. Because of this, they are generally used as amplification devices, to other instruments. They are very rare, particularly as classical violas are not as popular as violins.

Semi Electric Viola

The difference between a semi-electric viola and an electric viola is that the semi-electric produces sound acoustically and then uses an amp to project the sound out. This helps retain a more natural sound, versus an electric viola. The amp is added by using a “pick up”, and this can be added to any classical viola you want.

Viola Types: Genre

Generally violas have only four strings, however, there is another type that adds another string (five-string viola), which blends the viola and violin styles. This type of viola easily lends itself to fiddle music and can be somewhat tricky for viola and violin players to learn.

Viola Types Overview:

-Size differences include the alto and tenor, mainly. There are also children’s violas.

-Time Periods: pre-baroque, baroque, classical, electric, semi-electric

-Genre: five strings

The Ins and Outs of Viola Strings

There are many different types of materials you can buy for your viola. It all depends on the sound that you want, and what your budget is for your strings (as they do have to be replaced, but we will get to that later).

The three main categories for viola strings are gut, steel core, and synthetic core.

Viola String Categories

-gut

-steel core

-synthetic core

Viola Strings: Gut

Gut strings used to be the only type of strings that we used to play string instruments e.g. the viola. Originally, they were either actual guts from birds (or their tendons or intestines from other animals), it was not until the eighteen hundreds that the strings were made by wrapping gut around metal strings.

For those playing baroque or renaissance era music, gut strings are the most highly prized strings of all. However, these strings are a bit more temperamental than others, as they are very sensitive to temperature and humidity.

They are also harder to tune, go out of tune easily, and have to be replaced much more frequently than other string types.

Nowadays, silver and aluminum are mainly used as the cores of the strings.

Viola Strings: Steel Core

These strings hold their pitch a lot easier than gut strings, but not as easily as synthetic core strings. They are smaller in diameter and so their tone is very bright and focused, while they also adapt easily to the musician’s style. These strings are popular with electric viola players.

Viola Strings: Synthetic Core

Synthetic core strings are composed of materials that are synthetic e.g. nylon and mixes of various fibers. These are very popular among bow players, particularly as they have the best of gut tonally (a richness) and of steel core strings (durability). These strings are also much more dense, and stronger, which makes them less vulnerable to temperature and humidity changes.

Top Ten Viola Strings (Brands)

Dominant

These strings are made with a nylon core and were created in Australia. A very popular synthetic string, it soon became the yardstick upon which all other viola strings were measured.

These are multi-stranded strings that are flexible, offer a stable sound, maintain pitch, and offers a warm tone to your playing. These strings have a long life and are offered in six different lengths, as well as three different sizes (light, medium, and heavy).

Recommended model :

Thomastik-Infeld 141 Dominant Synthetic Core Viola Strings

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Thomastik Dominant up to 16.5″ Viola String

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Dr Thomastik Viola Strings 

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Spirocore

These strings are steel cored and are very responsive, as well as powerful. These are very popular with lower end viola players. They come in light, medium, and heavy sizes.

Recommended model :

Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings (S20A)

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Thomastik-Infeld Thomastik S20
Thomastik-Infeld Thomastik S20

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Thomastik Infeld Spirocore Viola String

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Evah Pirazzi

This is a synthetic core string that is wrapped in metal. Generally, it is available in aluminum or steel. They project a warm and complex tone, and are available in the following sizes: soft, medium, and strong.

Recommended model :

Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold Viola String Set

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Pirastro Evah Pirazzi up to 16.5″ Viola String

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Pirastro Evah Pirazzi Gold Viola G String

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Obligato

This contains the same core as the Evah Pirazzi, yet offers a single enhancement–it projects an amazing tone, which can help lighten up the darker tone of the viola instrument.

Recommended model :

Pirastro Obligato up to 16.5″ Viola String Set

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Pirastro Obligato up to 16.5″ Viola G String

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Passione

This string is interesting, as it is made up of stabilized gut–which helps it not be as sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations. It is stabilized by winding it with aluminum. This helps preserve the complex tone of the gut, but also help maintain the power of the string.

Recommended model :

Pirastro Passione Viola String Set 

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Pirastro Passione Viola C String

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Pirastro Passione Viola D String

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Larsen

These contain a steel core, and as such are darker in tone than the Dominant strings. These will project a very powerful sound, although it will not be as complex as other string types. These strings come in heavy, medium, and light.

Recommended model :

LARSEN Viola Strings

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Larsen up to 16.5″ Viola A String 

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LARSEN Viola Strings 

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Prim

These strings contain a steel core, and their bright, fun tone make them popular with folk songs and fiddlers. These are perfect strings for those who are just starting out or don’t play their viola very often, as they are relatively inexpensive. They come in the sizes heavy, medium, and light.

Recommended model :

Prim Viola Steel Strings

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Prim Steel Viola C String

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Prim Strings 4543S Viola G String

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Helicore

These steel core strings lack power and complexity that you would find in other strings and are used to play generally the most popular types of music. Their tone is clear and easy enough to play, so it is popular with beginners. They offer four different lengths and are available in heavy, medium, and light sizes.

Recommended model :

Helicore Viola D String 13-14

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Jarger

These strings are metal wound (usually in silver), and project a clear tone, warmth, and clear sound. They are also moderately powerful and have a surprising warmth and depth to their sounds. These strings are popular with musicians who like to mix up their string types. They are available in three sizes–heavy, medium, and light.

Recommended model :

Jargar 16.5″ Viola String Set Medium

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Brilliant

Low tension and synthetic core string, this is one of the most responsive strings on the list. It comes in two lengths, small and large.

Recommended model :

Warchal Brilliant 15″-16″ Viola D String

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Top Ten Viola Strings Overview

-Dominant

-Spirocore

-Evah Pirazzi

-Obligato

-Passione

-Larsen

-Prim

-Helicore

-Jarger

-Brilliant

Viola String Chart

viola
Label Core Manufacturer
Alphayue Synthetic Thomastik
Alliance Synthetic Corelli
Amber Synthetic Warchal
Aricore  Synthetic Pirastro
Ascente Synthetic D’Addario
Brilliant Synthetic Warchal
Cantiga Synthetic Corelli
Capriccio Synthetic Dogal
Chromcor Plus Steel Pirastro
Chorda Gut Pirastro
Chromcor Steel Pirastro
Crystal Synthetic Corelli
Dominant Synthetic Thomastik
Eudoxa  Gut Pirastro
Evah Pirazzi Synthetic Pirastro
Evah Pirazzi Gold Synthetic Pirastro
Fortune Synthetic For-Tune
Helicore Steel D’Addario
Jargar Steel Jargar
Jargar Superior Synthetic Jargar
Kaplan Amo Synthetic D’Addario
Kaplan Vivo Synthetic D’Addario
Kaplan Forza Steel D’Addario
Karneol Synthetic Warchal
Larsen Synthetic Larsen
Larsen Steel Larsen
Obligato Synthetic Pirastro
Oliv  Gut Pirastro
Passione Gut Pirastro
Peter Infeld PI Synthetic Thomastik
Piranito Steel Pirastro
Permanent Steel Pirastro
Prelude Steel D’Addario
Prim Steel Prim
Pro-Arte Synthetic D’Addario
Red Label Steel Super-Sensitive
Spirocore Steel Thomastik
Superflexible Steel Thomastik
Synoxa Synthetic Pirastro
Tonica Synthetic Pirastro
Virtuoso Synthetic Larsen
Vision Synthetic Thomastik
Vision Solo Synthetic Thomastik
Warchal Brilliant  Synthetic Warchal
Zyex Synthetic D’Addario

Viola Strings Comparisons

There are many viola string comparisons you can do–ultimately it is up to you as the musician to make your own decisions and experiment with the type of music you want to play or create.

However, with some brands, you can make several viola string comparisons.

Viola String Comparison Overview

-Evah Pirazzi and Obligato

-Evah Pirazzi and Dominant

-Dominant and Larsen

-Spirocore and Larsen

-Spirocore, Dominant, and Vision

-Helicore, Kaplan, and Prelude

-Brilliant and Karneol

There are so many viola string comparisons, it would take several pages to list them all!

Viola Notes

Viola Notes

As with any instrument, notes on the viola are limited, out of the seven notes available. These viola notes are C, D, G, and A. The treble (or G) clef is used to read notes for a viola composition, usually when the notes start getting high. The alto clef is used much more frequently with the viola, because it is lower than the violin.

Viola FAQs

Q: How do you know if you will like the viola vs. the violin?

A: The only way you can know this is if you listen to different pieces of music played by each instrument, particularly in styles and genres of music that you enjoy. Listen to what you like, and see if you think the viola improves it or not. If you think it does, then the viola might be an instrument you are interested in learning how to play.

Q: How old is “too old” to learn how to play the viola?

A: As with all instruments, the earlier you learn how to play an instrument, the better you will be at that instrument. However, it is never too late to learn an instrument and to love music. Whether you are five or fifty, or even twenty-five, don’t let your age and lack of previous experience get you to doubt yourself and not try to learn how to play an instrument.

Q: What are the differences in “clefs” between violas and violins?

A: Viola musicians read the alto clef, as opposed to the treble clef that violin musicians read on their sheet music. However, viola musicians should learn how to read both of these notes, because they are both used in advanced compositions.

However, viola musicians read the alto clef first, and more frequently than the treble clef. This all has to do with the range and tone of the music, as violas register in a lower tone than a violin.

Q: What are the best viola strings to buy?

A: The best viola strings to buy are: Dominant, Spirocore, Evah Pirazzi, Obligato, Passione, Larsen, Prim, Helicore, Jarger, and Brilliant.

Q: What are viola strings made out of?

A: Viola string material composition has a long and varied history, starting with gut, muscles, and tendons from animals for several centuries–particularly in the medieval era. As technology and crafting techniques became more polished and were developed, so did new strings. Steel core and Synthetic core strings are the fruits of that labor.

All three strings are still used to this day, to varying degrees of success. The type of string you use depends on the genre of music you are playing, the sound that you want to convey to yourself and your audience.

Q: What notes do you play on the viola?

A: The notes that are played on the viola are: C, D, G, and A.

Q: How many positions can you play the viola in?

A: There are seven regular positions that you can play your viola in. Beginners, those who have just started to learn how to play the viola will usually play in the first position. Intermediate skilled musicians, those who have some experience playing the viola will shift between first, second, and third positions.

Finally, advanced musicians can play anything from the first position to seven positions and those that are even more than advanced can go into the eighth position and beyond. However, once musicians reach that skill level, they are not as enamored with positions and just choose how best to play their piece.

Q: When should you replace your viola strings? How often should you replace your viola strings?

A: Replacement of your viola strings strongly depends on how often you play it. If you play your viola frequently–every day, for instance–then you should replace your strings every three to six months. If you do not play it frequently, then you can get away with not replacing your strings. In this case, generally, you can get away with only replacing your strings once a year.

However, there are also other factors to replacing your strings–as not only are they affected by how often you play them, but also the environment they are in. Temperature, humidity, pollutants, and tension all affect how long your strings last, and the condition they stay in.

Q: What are the signs that tell you it’s time to replace your viola strings, regardless of how long you have had them?

A: There are several signs that tell you when they should be changed, regardless of how old the strings actually are. If your viola strings are dirty or grimy looking, it’s time to change them. When it is producing dull sounds and getting duller by the day, it’s time to change them.

If your viola cannot hold a pitch for a reasonable amount of time, then it’s time to change the strings. A good rule of thumb is: If you cannot remember the last time you changed your strings, you should probably change them. It wouldn’t hurt, anyway.

Conclusion

Has this article convinced you to start playing the viola? Have you learned so much more about the instrument than you thought you ever would, particularly about viola strings? It is surprising and shocking to see how much history and design there is and has been put into four thin strings on an instrument.

The viola string order, the arrangement of the viola notes, matters immensely when it comes to creating sound. And we are privileged to be the recipients of several centuries worth of experimentation regarding the viola, as well as every other instrument in the viola-violin string family that built the instruments we play today.

Remember, no matter how new you are at playing an instrument, the most important thing you should do is be willing and eager to learn. It is never too late to learn how to properly play an instrument, just as it is never too late to learn about your instrument’s history or proper care for the first time.

How To Select Good Harmonium in 2020

How To Select Good Harmonium

Introduction:

A harmonium also known as a ”pump organ” is a keyboard instrument. It originated in Europe and is highly popular with Indian music. The harmonium is one of the most respected instruments in Indian music. The rising popularity of harmoniums has created interest from people around the world. Before we know the answer to the question “how to select good harmonium?” we have to know the origin of the harmonium.

origin of the harmonium:

You may be surprised to know that India was not the origin of the harmonium. It was first invented in Europe by Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein who was a professor of physiology at Copenhagen.

It grew an immense amount of popularity in churches and private homes because they could not afford expensive organs. Due to the different versions available, the harmonium popularity continued to grow throughout the 19th century.

They required no electricity, which allowed them to be a great fit for travel. The harmonium was first introduced to South India by Portuguese missionaries. The missionaries wanted to conduct their weekly prayers on Sunday morning, but couldn’t carry their organs around.

After it was introduced, it also became popular with Indian musicians for its simplicity and portability. Although the harmonium was initially a western instrument, the east made it their own and it became a staple of their culture.

Origin Of The Harmonium

most common features:

Now that the origins are covered, it’s important to know the most common features when deciding on how to select good harmoniums.

Harmoniums come with several parts. Keys, bellows, drones, stop, coupler, and reeds.

STOPS:

Stops also known as knobs, are larger than drones and are in the front of the harmonium. They provide an opening and closing of airflow into the air chambers.

DRONES:

Drones are the smaller knobs. They play a fixed note but can also be customized to the musician’s choice.

REEDS:

Reeds come in 3 different octaves: bass, male and treble. Bass is the lowest, male reeds are a bit higher and treble reeds are an octave higher.

BELLOWS:

Bellows are needed to pump air into the harmonium. It usually comes in 2- fold, 3-fold or 7 fold. But the fancier harmoniums have 7-fold.

OCTAVE COUPLER:

Octave couplers add an octave to notes, this helps with adding volume to your music.

How To Select Good Harmonium: Top Ten Tips

Before someone purchases a harmonium it’s important to first learn the different types. There are several techniques that musicians use when they’re deciding how to select good harmonium.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF HARMONIUM:

There are ways to ensure that you pick out a proper harmonium that fit your needs. Different types of harmonium brands give musicians various options to choose from.

STANDARD

COLLAPSIBLE

FOLDING

Standard harmoniums are ideal for almost everything except for air travel.

Bulkier but more reliable than folding models.

Folding harmoniums are small, less bulky and can be easily transported.

They have durability and are more reliable than collapsing harmoniums. 

It has fixed bellows with very  little possibility for leaking.

There are clips on the side of the harmonium that stabilizes it. But, these clips commonly break.

It has more durability and less moving parts. 

There is more reliability due to it having less moving parts than a standard.

Very clunky with lots of instability.

It comes with full sized bellows for optimal performance and air retention.  

It comes with full sized bellows for optimal performance and air retention.  

It comes with full sized bellows  for optimal performance and air retention.

It's quite bulky and doesn't break down for easy transit.  

It can be rocky as you pump because it isn't anchored to the base like folding models.

Very prone to breaking because of all the moving parts. 

However, many people don’t quite understand what to look for in a harmonium. So, here are 10 considerations to review whether you’re a beginner or a regular player:

1. PORTABILITY

Portability should be considered before making an investment in a harmonium. There are 2 different general types of harmoniums, non-portables, and portables. Non-portables are called stand-up or upright harmoniums and their box is just a single box, that doesn’t change shape.

However, portable harmoniums also known as collapsibles are made of 2 boxes, an inner box, and an outer box. They collapse into a smaller sort of briefcase shape.

2. RANGE

Some harmoniums have just 2 1/2 octave of range on the keyboard. Some have 3 1/2 and others may have more. The average harmonium is around 3 octaves.

Therefore, a 2 1/2 octave harmonium should be fine for beginner players. It will also be adequate for people who play the harmonium regularly.

3. FANCY HARMONIUMS

It’s important to not get blindsided by fancy harmoniums. There are some harmonium makers that put unnecessary special features on them. Most professional musicians won’t use these features.

So, beginners who are just starting out would be tempted to purchase this type of harmonium. It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that it is of better quality and has more value because of all the added features. This includes a scale changer.

Some people like it, but most people don’t actually use a scale changing mechanism. It may also come with tons of buttons called,” stops” that serve different functions. Some of them you just open them up to allow air into the bellows.

The other smaller buttons open up drone notes. More buttons/knobs don’t mean better. It’s important to choose based on what you need and will use.

4. REEDS

Take into consideration how many sets of reeds that the harmonium has. There are harmoniums that have just a single set of reeds that sound very thin.

However, most harmoniums have 2 sets of reeds, a low set, and a high set. They’re played simultaneously, so they blend together to provide a rich sound. This is what most players use because it sounds great.

There are other harmoniums with 3 sets and even 4 sets of reeds to provide a bigger, louder and fuller sound. More reeds would generally make the harmonium a lot heavier and less portable.

5. INSTANT KEYBOARD RESPONSE

If you’re testing out several different brands of keyboards, you’ll notice that some brands have a lag time when pressing a key on the keyboard. So even if you have already primed the keyboard there still might be a lag. In a quality harmonium, it should not take time to get the sound, it should be instant.

6. GOOD SUSTAIN

You want your harmonium to be able to maintain a nice even sound. Different types of harmonium brands have a variety of sounds. It should sound even unless there are leaks in the bellows. Sometimes this may happen because they’re shipped from India, so various parts of the harmonium could be uneven.

7. REPUTABLE STORE

Sometimes they’ll come from India in various states of disrepair. So, the stores that sell it to you are importing it and getting it in good condition before you purchase it.

Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that the store is reputable and that they’re doing good repair work. Also, if you’re getting one shipped from an online store, it may have minor problems such as buzzing reeds.

Occasionally, you’ll receive a harmonium with the key sticking down or a buzzing reed. These are quite easy to fix, but you’ll need the store that you ordered it from to talk you through it over the phone. It could take a little time to get fixed, which is why you need a reputable store to walk you through the process if it happens.

8. JOLLY

Often you’ll see on the top of a harmonium, a glass jolly. Jolly is a Hindi word that means window, it’s removable and it serves as a baffle or a mute. That’s where the sound is coming out of the reeds.

The jolly’s objective is to mute the sound or even it out so that it isn’t blasting out of the reeds. However, if you desire to play a lot louder you can always remove the jolly. Some harmoniums also have a wooden jolly with similar mechanisms.

9. ENJOY THE SOUND

Whether you are a beginner player or someone who’s more experienced, it’s important to love the sound of your instrument. Do you like the tone of the harmonium? Sounds and tones often change and sound differently depending on the brand that you’re using.

If you go to an actual store and make a purchase, listen to several harmoniums and you’ll hear the differences and fluctuations of tones.

10. TUNE

Making sure that the harmonium is in tune is an important consideration. A-440 is the international standard for tuning. It’s a certain pitch that all instruments in some way or another reference. An interesting fact is, a couple of centuries ago before American musical standards became the international norm, British standards were applied.

In Britain, they were using a standard of A-444, a different tuning frequency, and reference. So when harmoniums came from Britain, by missionary shops to India, the Indians liked them and started manufacturing them.

Some manufacturers keep A-440 and others may use A-444. Also, Indian manufacturing is not a very standardized and consistent process. If you’re not sure about the harmoniums tuning, then it’s important to ask the store to make sure that you’re getting A-440 tuning.

How To Select Good Harmonium

PROBLEMS

Sticky keys, rattling noises, and buzzing reeds are some of the most common problems with harmoniums. If you hear a rattling noise, it’s usually in the top cover. Removing the cover could help it go away.

If there are buzzing notes then something may be stuck between the reed and its frame causing the buzzing sound. To test if you have a leaky bellow, you can squeeze them gently until there is a little resistance.

When you’re squeezing the bellows and don’t feel any resistance, then there might be a problem. Beginners should ask lots of questions to ensure that they’re getting a high-quality product. Also, it’s a smart idea to get your harmonium tuned at the store to prevent future issues.

Additionally, you should bring a picture and a description of your ideal harmonium. Although there are some problems that you can fix on your own, there are also problems that you will need assistance with.

Most importantly, if you’re having problems with your harmonium and are not sure how to fix it, take it to a professional. Take it back to the store that you purchased it from. If you made the purchase online, then find a reputable store to help you or return the harmonium.

Harmonium Comparisons:

different types of harmonium

Before choosing your desired harmonium, make sure that you check out prices from different locations and choose the correct brand that is right for you. Since modern harmoniums are built in India it’s good to compare the two regional styles of harmonium construction.

DELHI STYLE HARMONIUM:

 • The Delhi style harmonium is quite inexpensive compared to other musical instruments.

 • It’s one of the most popular harmonium brands. You can use them if you’re a beginner or intermediate player.

 •It has a lightweight and portable design that is easy to maintain

 • It has a dynamic tone that can be used to play many different styles of music like folk, indie, ambient, etc.

 •Has an affordable price around the range of $500-1000

KOLKATA STYLE HARMONIUM:

• The design is very detailed and solidly constructed.

• It has 3-4 reed sets that play across a broad range of octaves, producing a full tone.

• The complex engineering, more labor, and material make this the least affordable option.

•The price is no less than $1200 and even higher quality is around $1800.

KOLKATA 9-STOPPER PORTABLE FOLDING
KOLKATA 9-STOPPER PORTABLE FOLDING

Click Here for Pricing & Reviews on Amazon

Conclusion:

Hopefully, this was helpful and you’d be able to find some clarity and understand how to select good harmoniums. With its rich cultural background, variety of styles and affordable prices, it’s no wonder why the harmonium is a popular instrument.

There are plenty of choices to choose from and brands offering different features to fit each musician’s needs. When proper research is done, both beginners and experienced players will enjoy the fulfillment that the harmonium can bring.

Viola Strings On Violin (2020)

Viola Strings On Violin

Introduction

Most musicians agree that in an orchestra, viola strings have a significant effect on both the intonation and tone of the viola.

However, finding the right set of viola strings can be challenging, especially if you are buying for the first time as there are many varieties available for purchase. furthermore, keeping this instrument in tune is rather difficult hence why it often is a source of ridicule among other members of an orchestra.

Since you cannot try out all the different kinds of strings in the market, we are going to take you through some key features to look out for in viola strings. Eventually, though, the best viola strings on violin depend on your technique, the style of music you play plus your personal preference.

Points considered for Viola Strings On Violin

There are some essential elements you should be looking out for when looking for viola strings. So discussed below are some of the things you must consider when purchasing viola strings.

Pick the Right Gauge

Most viola strings have different thicknesses, and this is known as gauges. Usually, with thinner strings, you get a brighter tone which has reduced carrying power, whereas thicker strings produce more volume which centers more to the sound.

Nevertheless, most musicians prefer the viola strings on their electric violin to be somewhat in between the two. But occasionally you will find a musician with a preference of one over another.

Therefore, the gauge you decide to use eventually depends on your choice. If you find that your viola is struggling to project sound, you should buy a thicker string, and a thinner string if you are aiming to project light, bright sound.

It is vital that you seek advice from your viola instructor on further guidance regarding which gauge you need to test out first.

How Often Do You Need to Change the Strings?

It is a vital factor you always need, and whereas some manufacturers claim their viola strings last longer in comparison to its competitors, there lacks any definitive proof.

Therefore, the most crucial factors which consequently affect the lifespan of viola strings is how strings are affected by your body’s chemistry plus how regularly you play your viola.

viola strings on violin

Typically, if your sweat contains a high concentration of acidic content, you might be necessitated to replace the viola strings on violin more often unlike someone who plays just as often as you but has lower acidic content.

So, you need to replace your strings whenever they are visibly deteriorating or damaged or the sound being produced is dead or dull.

How Often Do You Need To Change The Strings ?

What Material Is the String Made from?

Viola strings are of three main types, that is, the steel core strings, the synthetic core strings, and the gut core strings. Additionally, of these different type of strings has its advantages and disadvantages.

If you are an amateur musician, synthetic core strings are ideal for you because they offer you a perfect combination of affordability and comfort. Additionally, because it has a synthetic core, the tone unlike with gut strings is more consistent; nonetheless, it does lack several tonal qualities.

With steel core strings, the pitch produced is very stable, and it necessitates minimal tuning, and the subsequent sound it produces is somewhat different from that of the gut strings. It is because steel core strings usually produce a direct and clear sound which features extremely little complexity, whereas gut strings are full and warm.

As already stated, the sound that the gut strings typically produce is warm, features rich overtones, and filled with complexity. Nevertheless, these strings often go out of tune, and about one week after installation, it requires to be tuned preferably daily. Also, these strings are susceptible to changes adjustments in temperature and humidity.

How To Change The Viola Strings

It is essential that while changing the viola strings on electric violin, you do it one string at a time. Moreover, whereas the others are up to pitch, you need to maintain the tension at the top. Before you start the installation of the string, make use of a soft pencil on the bridge’s and nut’s groove because graphite acts a lubricant which minimizes the risk of the string breaking.

It is vital that you ensure that you do not push the strings against the pegbox as well as tightening them more than the usual pitch. In case your instrument’s grooves are uneven or broken, the breaking of the strings will be much easier. So in case of any issue, always consult your music instructor on what you need to do.

How To Change The Viola Strings

The Brand and Your Purchase Criteria

When looking to buy viola string, you need to consider a few exceptional brands such as Jargar, Spirocore, Dominant, Larsen, and Evah Pirazzi.

If you are a professional violist, you most likely use more than one kind of string to replace specific strings, thereby making it tricky to recommend you one brand which works on all string.

Therefore, to get a better understanding of the different combinations, you need to test out several brands to attain the specific sound you desire from your viola. With the guidance of your instructor, there are some recommended sets which you can buy and consequently save some money.

Usually, these brands feature more than one strings brand put in a combination which is identical to many of the frequently used sets found on the market.

Your Style of Play

Having at your disposal several sets of viola strings allows you to play different styles as well as the customization of your strings for every performance.

So, if you are a soloist, you most likely will require more than one string type as you need to have more control over your playing characteristics and sound. Nevertheless, if you are an orchestral player, for all the performances, you can make use of the same set of viola strings.

Nevertheless, because viola strings are relatively affordable, it will not be uncommon if you buy numerous different brands and style of strings to customize the impeccable viola sound. Likewise, having high-quality viola strings is much better as it saves you plenty of time replacing your old strings.

Effects of putting viola strings on a violin

It is possible to put viola strings on the violin and still be able to play the violin. By doing so, you subsequently are creating a fractional viola. Nevertheless, the strings have reduced tension, which is necessary to achieve C, G, D, A, therefore, resulting in poor responsiveness, lack of tone, and the strings having a spongy feel. Additionally, these strings are susceptible to getting rattled while on the fingerboard.

The effects of putting viola strings on an electric violin is a pitch which is marginally lower as viola strings are meant for relatively longer suspended playing length. Putting viola strings on a violin suspends the length for an inch, and this consequently causes the pitch to increase by a step.

To counter this, you will have to reduce the tension to lower the pitch at that specific length, and this might result in a slight pitch bend at the start of every bow stroke because of the reduced tension.

Conclusion

Therefore, having gone through this article, you now are better placed on some of the critical things you need to consider when looking for the ideal viola strings.

Consequently, when you make your purchase, you get to enjoy every minute when playing your instrument due to the impeccable sound being produced. In this article, you can also learn possible techniques to put viola strings on the violin.

Crystal Singing Bowls: Healing with the Power of Sound

Crystal Singing Bowls
Crystal Singing Bowls

Introduction

Singing bowls have been used for centuries to produce therapeutic healing sounds. Used in meditation and healing, they produce a range of sounds that restore the normal vibrational frequencies of diseased parts of the body as well as the parts of the body, mind, and soul that are out of harmony.

Traditional singing bowls are known as Tibetian singing bowls and are generally made out of copper, tin, zinc, iron, silver, gold and nickel. They are like an up-standing bell and play beautiful vibrating frequencies when rubbed around the rim with a leather-wrapped or wooden mallet.

History of Crystal Singing Bowls

Singing Bowls Crystal
Singing Bowls Crystal

Crystal singing bowls are a fairly recent enhancement of the singing bowl and have been used since the 1980s. Original alchemy singing bowls were made from 99.992% pure crushed quartz. The silica sand would be heated to 4000 degrees and spun in a centrifugal mold to set. They are more delicate than the ancient singing bowls, and also use a wooden or suede mallet.

The crystal singing bowls of late are superseding the traditional singing bowls, due not only to their aesthetic variety but to their alchemy. It is believed by many users that the crystal singing bowls’ sounds permeate the human body better since it is made of minerals that are more cohesive to our own bodies which contain water and a crystalline composition in our bones.

The entrainment between the crystal bowl’s sound and the human body is more fluid than that of the sound made from the copper bowl since the human body itself contains very little metal. Sounds of the original alchemy singing bowls pervade the body more fluently. 

What Are Crystal Singing Bowls Made From?

Crystal singing bowls can be clear, frosted, or a fusion blend of minerals: gemstones like amethyst, sapphires, and emeralds, precious metals like gold, silver, and titanium, platinum, and other precious crystals.

There are nearly hundreds of different crystal or mineral blends. The more common variety of crystal singing bowls are frosted and individually tuned to emit a specific frequency.

Therefore, multiple singing bowls can be used in the crystal set. Some crystal singing bowls are small enough to be played by hand, but medium and large-sized bowls are usually placed on a base ring. 

The original singing crystal bowls are made of pure quartz. Quartz is a vibrational transmitter that is used in most of our transmitting technologies today.

Human bodies are a perfect receptor: our cell membranes, tissues and organs respond well to the external stimulus of the sound made from crystal. Since the body is made up of 60-75% water, the body is imbued by crystal vibrations to a greater degree. 

Recommended Crystal Singing Bowl Models:

TOPFUND C Note Quartz Crystal Singing Bowl

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432Hz Perfect Pitch F Note Heart Chakra Frosted Quartz Crystal Singing Bowl

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Musical Instruments Crystal Singing Bowl

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TOPFUND D Note Quartz Crystal Singing Bowl 

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440HZ 8″ A Third Eye Navy Blue Chakra Quartz Crystal Singing Bowl 

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The Power of Sound

Have you ever experience an inability to concentrate while hearing high-pitched noise? Or perhaps changed the station from unwelcome sounds to another channel playing music more akin to your mood? Even the frequency of someone’s voice can produce calmness or irritation in another person.

Many people use noise to boost their productivity during work, exercise, and cooking. It sets the mood in parties and while traveling. In addition to being useful in leisure and entertainment, it is useful in crisis and distress.

One of the oldest baby tricks is soothing a crying infant with “white noise” and “shushing”. The soothing sounds present many frequencies that mimic the safety and environment of the mothers’ womb. The instantaneous response is a testament to the power of sound.

People are highly sensitive to sounds. Auditory conditions are the third most prevalent health issue in America. Terribly loud sounds can cause one to lose their hearing, temporarily or permanently leaving someone with a handicap.

While the damaging capacity is an extreme example, it allows us to visualize sound range on a scale with several functions. The scale contains sounds with corrective and healing functions.

Sound healing is quite established in Music Therapy for treating mental health conditions such as depression, trauma, and schizophrenia as a medium for processing grief, emotions and trauma.

The healing element of sound can not be underrated as a health-giving measure. Crystal singing bowls enable the common practice of balancing the stresses of everyday life. 

Crystal Singing Bowl Dynamics

There are a few factors at play when using crystal singing bowls. The singing bowls’ healing power is constituted by the material components of the bowl and the way the sound is received in the body. Receiving the sound evokes a transformation.

Upon releasing or clearing the mind, playing the notes and listening with the body facilitates the sounds with teaching the body a new direction. Often, this results in a shift in consciousness.

Some of the more popular benefits that crystal singing bowls generate are: relaxation, connection to the inner healer, reduction is stress and anxiety, less anger, lower blood pressure, better circulation, increased blood flow, pain relief, mental clarity, emotional clarity, stimulation of the immune system, happiness and well being, and chakra balancing.

Those who are working with different alchemy healing bowls often feel the acceleration. Different tones activate different organs and different chakras. 

How to Choose a Crystal Singing Bowl?

The tone or note of a crystal singing bowl varies upon the bowls’ size, height and thickness. When choosing a singing bowl, there are pitch variations to consider.

While some choose their tones are based on simple personal preference, others commonly chose bowls that are designed to heal a specific ailment, organ, and chakra. Just as people have different genre preferences, it is keenly so for singing bowls.

Perceiving sounds and detecting vibrations is contingent on the shape and condition of the hearing organs as well as the experiences supported by the human body and brain.

The Importance of Chakras

The chakras are centers of energies that are located along the midline of the body (also known as the meridian). The seven chakras correspond to different life functions and colors. Chakras are understood by the near organ system and vibration. This is what makes the crystal singing bowls so significant.

The frequency vibrations and musical notes from the different singing bowls communicate to the equivalent chakra and organ system. A balanced chakra reflects itself in a balanced emotional, physical, and spiritual life.

The seven chakras:

The corresponding chakras, notes, organs, and their colors and life functions are as follows. 

  • 1. The First Chakra is rooted in red and is linked to the person’s survival, willingness to live, as well as security and grounding; It is in tune with Note C and located along the base of the skeletal spine.
  • 2. The Second Chakra is rooted in the color orange and linked to the person’s emotions, sexuality, and desire; It is in tune with Note D and is located around the bladder and reproductive system.
  • 3. The Third Chakra is rooted in the color yellow and is associated with power, energy, vitality; It is in tune with the E Note and reaches the stomach and liver.
  • 4. The Fourth Chakra is rooted in the color green and promotes love, connection, balance, and circulation; It responds with the Note F and is located near the heart, lungs, immune system.
  • 5. The Fifth Chakra is in blue and is associated with expression, communication, creativity; It is responsive to the Note G and surrounds the throat and lungs area.
  • 6. The Sixth Chakra is in the indigo color and is linked to intuition, understanding, and clairvoyance; It is linked to Note A and located near the lower brain, the third eye, and sinus system.
  • 7. The Seventh Chakra is in violet and is linked to a person’s spiritual connection, high values, and enlightenment; It corresponds with the Note B and is located along with the upper brain, hair, and cortex.

Chakra Table:

1st Chakra Red Note C Survival/
Security
Tailbone/
Spine               
2nd ChakraOrangeNote DEmotions/
Sexuality  
Below navel    
3rd Chakra        YellowNote EPower/
Vitality  

Stomach/
Liver     
4th ChakraGreenNote F Love/
Connection          
Heart/Chest     
5th Chakra     
Blue       

Note G             

Expression/
Communication       

Throat/
Lungs                  
6th Chakra   Indigo Note A
Intuition/
Understanding      
Sinus/
3rd eye
7th Chakra        Violet Note BSpirituality/
Enlightenment
Top of head             

To examine your imbalances, you may take a chakra test or have your chakra read in person by a life coach or chakra healer. Once you are familiar with your aura and have evaluated your imbalances and blockages, you can choose a crystal singing bowl that is specifically tuned to the chakra frequency, or buy a set to channel all chakras.

The sound frequencies are projected onto the dis-eased location, and the harmonic pattern can be restructured and restored to its normal frequency. Just as the chart shows, each chakra and related organ system has its own frequency that can be reached through the harmonies of the tuned singing bowl.

The calming sounds channel a sense of peacefulness, and the relaxation resonates through and beyond the physical body. Disease, chaos, tension, and conflict within the chakras ring into balance. 

Recommended Chakra Healing Singing Bowl Models:

Chakra Healing Tibetan Singing Bowl Sets

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures & Reviews on Amazon

Chakra Healing Tibetan Singing Bowls (Set of 7)

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures & Reviews on Amazon

9″ G Throat Chakra Old Tibetan Singing Bowl

Click Here for Pricing, Pictures & Reviews on Amazon

Crystal Singing Bowl

How to Play a Crystal Singing Bowl

The crystal bowls can be played together; however, too many bowls together in a small confined space can cause them to shatter. “Singing” the crystal bowls should be done in a large room, and your head should not be too close to the bowl’s opening.

Some bowls are quite fragile and heavy and are not meant to be used in your hand, so consider the size and make of the bowl being played.

Sit the crystal bowl on top of it’s stand, the base ring. Some people begin by striking the bowl about a third of the way down with the suede part of the mallet to produce a nice chime and get the vibrations going.

Chiming the bowl first helps begin the sound so that it can quickly be picked up by rotating the mallet around the rim. Without chiming the bowl, it could take a few times around the rim for the vibrations to build up and resonate louder.

To make the crystal singing bowl “sing,” take the mallet with its suede cover, and hold it down at a 45-degree angle. Allow the mallet to touch the rim of the bowl at about a third of the mallet’s length.

Some players also hold the mallet like a pencil. With firm pressure on the rim, circle the mallet around the bowl. The slower the movement around the rim, the lower the sound.

The faster the movement around the rim, the louder and more powerful the vibrations become. This simple movement around the rim of the crystal singing bowl creates vibrations. It is similar to taking a wet finger and circling it around a crystal wine glass filled with water.

Going too fast, hard, and long around the crystal singing bowl can cause damage, so it is best to be intentional and attentive. A few bowls can be played together by ringing around the rim a few times of one bowl, then moving to circle the next bowl, and also by chiming the bowls like a bell.

While some players say that the direction the mallet moves is not crucial to receiving healing benefits, most players agree that playing in different directions creates different energies.

Going counter-clockwise produces grounding energy that goes down into the earth while going clockwise accelerates and moves the energy upwards. One may also recognize the different direction of energy vibrations used in groups versus the vibrations used when alone.

When playing for a group in a session, it is best to play “out” into the audience space in a clockwise motion. When playing for yourself, it is best to play into your healing with a counter-clockwise motion.

It is also a common practice for users to write down their intentions, wishes, and prayers on a piece of paper and inserting it in the hollow of the mallet. This amplifies the intention and mantra within the bowl.

Most crystal singing bowls come with a suede mallet. It is important to note the ends of the mallet which have a silicone dip on them and can be used to sing the bowl. Sometimes the mallet will be half-dipped silicone and half suede.

The silicone part is not to be used to strike or chime the bowl. The silicone end is too hard and could break the bowl. Always use the suede part of the mallet to strike the crystal singing bowl. If using a wooden mallet with a rubber tip for the smaller bowls, do not chime the bowl too hard.

Use a dragging motion around the bowl to create a smoother and gentler sound. If using a glass mallet, do not use it to chime or strike the bowl since they are fragile. The glass mallets amplify the clarity of the bowl very cleanly and powerfully and are best for more experienced users.

Clearing one’s mind is a beneficial practice before playing. Even though the crystal singing bowls in themselves promote openness, the vibrational conversation can reach further if the path to healing is unblocked and uninhibited from the start.

Healing and restoration can make a deeper and more productive impact on a person who is open and clear to it, than on a person who is closed up and stressed.

How To Play A Crystal Singing Bowl

Conclusion

Crystal Singing Bowls’ hold the vitality of the mind, body, and spirit with great consideration. Your meridian’s chakras will experience the benefits of a long-held tradition that has been improved and enhanced in recent times.

They are perfectly suited for simple needs such as adding depth to simple meditation, and for more deeply-rooted causes such as restorative healing. Crystal singing bowls are a both a scientifically beneficial and elegantly beautiful addition to one’s health practices. 

Parts Of Harmonium

Parts Of Harmonium

Introduction

A harmonium is defined as a small kind of reed organ. For centuries the harmonium has provided a calming soft sound that has been used for a variety of reasons.

These include everything from religious settings and music for festivals or events, to an individual musician playing for the challenge and personal enjoyment it brings to them. This is made possible thanks to the many different parts of harmonium.

The sound a harmonium brings is unlike anything else in existence. When you hear it you feel you are being transported to another place and time.

When looking at a harmonium you quickly realize there are many components that go into making this incredible sound. Unlike other instruments such as a piano, horn, or reed instrument the harmonium is fairly complicated and requires precise use of many parts.

This got me thinking about what are all of the parts that go into making a harmonium. How did we get where we are today and what did a harmonium use to sound like and how was it made?

In this article, we will look at parts of a harmonium to get a better understanding of what makes up this amazing instrument. To do that we will look back at how construction was in the beginning to how it has evolved to where it is today.

To understand the sound we need to understand the parts of a harmonium and how they are constructed to create the unusual sound only a harmonium can make.

History Of Harmonium

parts of harmonium

Over the years the harmonium has changed in appearance and the way it is built. This has also changed the way it is played.

You may be surprised to learn the harmonium did not originate in India. It was invented in Europe by Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein who was a professor of physiology at Copenhagen.

At the time this was the first reed free instrument in the western world and won him a prize from the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg in 1780.

Churches in Europe were quick to catch on to its use because of the size. A harmonium is much smaller than an organ and easier to move from one location to another because of its weight and how it is constructed.

Because of its size and parts used back then it was less expensive to build than a pipe organ. This led to a large market of buyers from chapels and churches.

Origins of Harmonium

Harmonium Construction

Harmonium below construction

The harmonium is made from one up to six sets of reeds. It is called a free-reed instrument because there are no pipes like you find in a pipe organ.

Although it is a keyboard instrument it is constructed in a way where metal reeds are screwed in place over slots in a metal frame. Foot-operated bellows causes a vibration through the metal frames creating the sound you hear.

Sound production

The sound is determined by the size and number of reeds and sound chambers used in the construction of the harmonium. How it is being used determines the number of reeds required to build it.

For example, a classical sound normally uses one reed where an Islamic devotional singing would find a musician using a 3 reed harmonium.

It sounds like a complicated instrument to construct because it is. There is a precision required to create the exact sound a harmonium makes.

Harmonium construction is a process. Each par is added to create what has become a popular instrument today.

A bank of brass reeds is put into each harmonium. These are metal tongues that vibrate as air passes over them.

The keyboard includes a pump as well as drones that are used as stops. When you see a harmonium it may look like an accordion, but it is different in how it is made.

This is how it is described technically. Instead оf thе bellows саuѕіng a dіrесt flоw оf thе air оvеr thе rееdѕ аn еxtеrnаl feeder bеllоwѕ.

It thеn іnflаtеѕ an internal reservoir іnѕіdе thе hаrmоnіum letting air еѕсаре tо vіbrаtе thе rееdѕ.

Design & Features

Thе dеѕіgn іѕ vеrу ѕіmіlаr tо bаgріреrѕ. It аllоwѕ thе harmonium tо аlѕо сrеаtе a sound that is соntіnuоuѕlу sustained.

In a two reed harmonium, a ѕесоnd ѕеt оf reeds can аlѕо bе асtіvаtеd bу a stop that mеаnѕ each kеу рrеѕѕеd will рlау both of them.

Three reed harmoniums are used professionally. They can be tuned an осtаvе hіghеr, оr in unіѕоn tо thе middle rееd to make the sound seem more full.

Some hаrmоnіumѕ also feature an осtаvе соuрlеr. This ореnѕ a vаlvе fоr a nоtе to be played an octave above or below the note played.

Another interesting feature that some harmoniums have is a mechanism that allows the musician to change the scale the note is being played in.

Parts Of Harmonium

Parts Of Harmonium

A harmonium has a number of different parts that are dependent on each other to create the desired sound. Let’s look closer at these now.

1. Body:

The box where all of the parts are built into is known as the body. There are two styles, one in a fixed position which and one that collapses.

Collapsible harmoniums pack easier into a case because they collapse taking up less space. These come in various styles depending on what your needs are and the price you want to spend.

2. Bellows:

These are the pumps. Depending on the type of harmonium there will be a side pump bellow or a top pump bellow.

These are also called an internal of external bellow. The location is dependent on the hinge being used.

External bellows are the most common. They are pumped by hand.

When pumping the external bellow it forces air into the internal bellow where it is held. Once the internal bellow pushes against a spring the air is forced over the reeds. We will go into more detail on harmonium bellow construction below.

3. Keys:

The musician plays these similar to a piano or accordion.

There are white and black keys. Unlike a piano with 88 keywords, a harmonium has a different number of keys depending on the style being built. A piano has 7 octaves whereas a harmonium only has three.

There are two different styles of keyboards in a harmonium.

A. Horizontal pivot pin style:

These keyboards were more common in an older style and scale changer harmoniums.

B. Vertical pivot pin style:

These are more common in portable harmoniums today. The pins move in a vertical motion when pressed by the fingers. This allows the reeds to vibrate as two holes are uncovered when the key is played.

C. Action adjustment screws:

Unlike a piano, you can make adjustments to how the keys play depending on how you want them to feel.

D. Key bounce:

Overtime keys will naturally stick leaving them with a continuous sound. To adjust the key bounce you have to adjust the spring.

When you play a key and press the bellows, it should release quickly and the note should stop. If not an adjustment is needed and this is when you may need a professional.

E. Scale changer:

It is interesting in a scale changer harmonium they keyboard can be moved right or left three keys by lifting a lever on the front. A performer will still play in the key of “C”, but the sound can be transposed into A, Bb, B or C#, D or Eb.

4. Cover:

This is a piece of wood that covers the actual components of the harmonium.

Some come protected with glass or cloth. Covers are expensive to replace. The cover is important as it serves two purposes.

A. Protect the harmonium from damage.

B. Muting the sound.

Some harmoniums have a panel that slides so you can mute a higher frequency and allow a lower frequency through.

5. Main stops:

These are the valves that control how the air flows into the harmonium reed chambers.

Most harmoniums have one stop for each reed chamber. In some instance, they may have more than one. If so it is often to serve a special purpose such as the pitch that comes from playing a note quickly.

Some harmoniums are built with stops that serve no purpose. Indian musicians tend to open all stops when they play as they feel there is no need for them.

6. Drone stops:

These are most common on Indian harmoniums. They stop airflow over reeds that are not keyed.

They are called drone stops because they drone their pitch. Drones can be set for any pitch. You see them set most commonly on A sharp, C sharp, D sharp, F sharp, and G sharp.

7. Handles :

Harmoniums are easy to carry around thanks to handles. A box style harmonium has two handles and a suitcase-style harmonium has one.

8. Reeds:

These are also referred to as metal tongues. Harmoniums come with 1, 2, 3, or 4 banks of reeds. These come with a different sound referred to as male, female, bass, or tenor.

Each key must have at least one reed while it is more common to see sets of two or three. Reeds are made of brass and set into a brass base. They vibrate as air passes over them producing a sound.

9. Coupler:

A key located an octave above the key being played is known as a coupler. It is called a mechanical arrangement because is produces a fuller sound than when the key is played by itself. The performer enables or chooses not to use this coupler.

10. Scale changers:

This is another mechanical arrangement allowing the whole keyboard to lifted up or down.

The benefit is you can transpose from one key to another without changing the keys you are playing. Once you learn one key you can play in any key. This has pretty much-eliminated sales of scale changing harmoniums which had a high failure rate anyway.

11. Reed board:

This is basically a piece of wood with holes.

Long holes are cut into the board and covered by the brass reeds. The reeds are arranged normally in a single, double, or triple bank.

A double-banked is known as a double reed harmonium. A triple bank is called a triple reed harmonium and is more expensive. It is considered to be the top harmonium. The board is set in a perpendicular baffle but can be flat.

Parts Of Harmonium (Infographic):

parts of harmonium
Infographic source: Parts of harmonium

Harmonium Bellows Construction

Bellows pump air into the harmonium. As you can imagine this makes the construction of them critical.

There are two sets of bellows, one internal and one external. They are constructed to have 1, 3, 5, or 7 folds.

Some musicians feel the higher the number of bellows the easier the harmonium is to control. Others feel the way you pump the bellows is the key.

Bellows can be opened on the top or on the side. This is more of a personal preference as opposed to the way the sound comes out.

Some top open bellows require more air and take more strength to play. Side pumping bellows have a softer pumping action and can be easier to play. Adjusting the spring is a way to make it easier to pump.

Conclusion

As you can see there are many parts of a harmonium. Each is reliant on the other to create the desired sound for the musician playing it.

Playing the harmonium takes skill which comes from many hours of practice. It is worthwhile to listen to Indian music to get a feel for what a harmonium should sound like.

Always play a key when pumping the bellows. Use your strong hand to play the keys and your weak hand to pump the bellows.

Singing Bowls For Beginners (2020)

Singing Bowls For Beginners

Introduction

Many people out there have found the use of a singing bowl helpful but from the start, how do you get it played. If you are a beginner and you are looking for singing bowls for beginners, take your time and get educated here on what you are looking, how to use it and what you expect to get.

These bowls are rated one of the best things that can change your life and even those of your close friends and even family members. They produce a tune and sound that is always soothing to the ear and directly to the soul.

You don’t have to get worried about how to play it, everything needs patience. But it is something that you can just learn in a matter of minutes. Let’s all be educated.

How to play singing bowl?

Singing Bowls

One major thing that you need to know about singing bowls, especially if you find those that have been designed with good and quality antique, they have a lot that you will desire.

For instance, singing bowls for beginners have a range of sounds that are going to be best for your practice and also the listening experience.

The only thing that you need to know is how to play the singing bowls, and once you master that, you will be able to bring out those unique different sounds through the use of diverse ringing elements and different techniques too.

For you to be able to highlight the different aspects of a bowl, you need to have different sticks, mallets, sticks, and also different playing methods.

Beginner techniques for Play Singing Bowl

the simplest Way To Play Singing Bowls for beginners :

Let me bring you up to speed on the simplest 8 steps that you can use to play a singing bowl

Step 1 :

  • Use your palm or fingertips to hold the base of the bowl. You are only required to just have the base of the bowl in contact with either your fingers or the palm. Avoid getting into contact with the sides because doing so will just affect the vibrations that emanate from the bowl.

Step 2 :

  • You need now to tilt the bowl towards you at a slight angle. This factor will allow you to move your hand or fingers around the bowl in an easy manner. Don’t over tilt the bowl because it will end up falling down, or your hand will be a bit uncomfortable.

Step 3 :

  • Use the mallet that was supplied with your bowl. Hold it with your fingers pointing in a downwards manner. While holding the mallet, you need to ensure that each finger is touching the mallet. The grip that you need to have should be firm but not too tight.

Step 4 :

  • Warm up the bowl for play. To do this process, all you are required to do is to strike the bowl gently by using the mallet in the side. don’t strike it too hard as that will cause interference with the kind of play that you are going to have.

Step 5 :

  • Your wrist should be kept in a straight manner always. When playing the singing bowl, it is advisable that your wrist should be in a straight manner. Just leave your arm to do the work for you. This way, you will avoid being fatigued.

Step 6 :

  • It is time now to rotate the base of the mallet in a slow manner around the rim of the bowl. If done correctly, you will realize that singing from the bowl will be becoming louder in a gradual manner.

Step 7 :

  • Use pressure that is even and constant speed to keep playing the bowl. The bowl has been manufactured in a unique manner. It should not be played too fast, lest it will produce or you will hear some friction between the mallet and also the bowl.

Step 8 :

  • You might have played the bowl for some time and you need to either take a rest. What follows is for you to remove the mallet form the side of the bowl. The bowl should continue playing for some time if you had played it long enough.

Why play singing bowl?

Some people might be wondering what is the need or the urgency of playing singing bowls. The kind of experience that you will get from playing is both relaxing and also invigorating.

You need to take your time out at least every day and play the bowl, maybe as part of relaxation or even for meditation.

The sound that is rhythmical is something that is very crucial and beneficial to our health at large. Get to enjoy that warm tone that emanates from gentle vibrations.

On the other hand, the harmonic vibrations will also give you many benefits that you even never thought of.

You can also share your experience with other people that are in your niche, like friends and even relatives. You can play the bowl either in a mediation meeting, classroom, play it with music, or even in yoga studios.

Never worry where you can play it. Sound has many uses and even if you don’t have a reason to play it, you will realize that it is going to be a nice treat at all times.

The importance of the use of mallets and cushions

A singing bowl that does not have the correct size of the mallet is never going to be of too much help to you. The market has a wide range and variety of mallets that are made for each bowl.

Remember that the size and thickness of each mallet will have a greater effect on the sound that will be produced. When you get to buy a singing bowl, it must have a cushion and two mallets.

It is good to note that each bowl has been given the correct size of mallet and you can even get to test it out before you make your purchase.

Mallets that have been wrapped with wool are rated as the best when it comes to striking a bowl. You can decide to use the wood end for playing the bowl just around the trim.

You can also not underestimate the importance of the cushions. When you have them put, you will realize that they ensure that the bowl does not slide when you are playing it. Like any other fragile item, singing bowls are fragile too. The use of cushions will prevent them from being damaged.

Recommended Mallets And Cushions of Singing Bowl :

Handmade Nepalese Tibetan Ring for Singing Bowls 

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Singing Bowl Cushion

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Tibetan Singing Bowl Cushion & Mallet

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How to strike a singing bowl?

Singing Bowls

It is always advisable that you strike a singing bowl with care, and of course, with the use of a soft mallet. But if you want to get a more percussive sound or tone, then you are advised to use bare wood. This type of wood will emphasize higher harmonics.

When striking the bowl, strike it from one side, but always at the rim. Striking it too far down might produce the necessarily required vibrations fully.

The tone that you will get also varies from the use of different mallets that have different diameters and materials. If you are having a new singing bowl, you will realize that the tone will vary by up to a partial tone.

There is always a sweet spot in every singing bowl. The advantage goes to those people that quickly realize or even locate this spot. To find such a spot, just turn the bowl in your slowly until you locate it.

This is the place that you will realize that the vibration is steadiest and also smooth. When you listen to the harmonic sounds, they will sound to be equal and other sounds pretty balanced.

Pros of using a singing bowl

  • A Singing Bowl will make you feel better
  • It aids you when you want to meditate, during yoga dances or in the event of a spiritual exercise
  • Singing Bowl can also aid you in teaching
  • Healing practices also find the singing bowl helpful
  • Can be used as a ceremonial object
  • To soothe those children that are upset
  • It can get disorderly kids in a class come to order
  • It can remind you of something that you might have forgotten.

Comparison chart of the size of bowls

Some of the important tips that you need to remember about singing bowls for beginners

  • Your hand should be held close to the rim, failure to do that, then it is going to be hard for the bowl to sing.
  • The tone is produced by the pressure, not by the speed. For a better tone, you need to slow down and ensure that the pressure that is applied is even.
  • When you here the bowl rattling, it means that you need to apply more even pressure. The rattling sound is brought by the stick that is vibrating against the bowl.
  • There are some bowls that are known to sing intensely. That means that you need to go over, very slow as you apply less pressure.
  • There are different types of mallets. There are wood mallets and solid plastic rods. The rods are known for providing the highest harmonics. But it takes time and practice to achieve this.

The cleaning process of singing bowls

Singing Bowls For Beginners

When you want to clean a singing bowl, you need to focus on different aspects. The basic one is to ensure that dirt never builds up on the floor or surface of the bowl. Then you need to remember that the item should be cleaned at definite intervals.

Cleaning Process

To give it that new feel and look, always ensure that it is well polished. Here are some things that you need to note: –

  • Wiping of the bowl is something that should be carried out frequently. This process is known to wipe off that dirt that has settled on the surface and leave it clean. By doing so, you are also helping the bowl not to develop tarnish as dust may contain chemicals and moisture.
  • The use of dry clothes is also accepted but use detergents/vinegar can be implemented. These detergents are vital as they will assist in the removal of the harsh chemicals or even fingerprints that might have accumulated on the bowl.
  • If your singing bowl has developed tarnish and you need to remove it, then it is recommended that you look for a metal cleaner that will do the job.

If you want to store the product, they should be kept above the cotton cloth. This will prevent it from coming to contact with the base.

Conclusion

You can now be able to get your singing bowl and use it in the right manner that you need to. The bowls have many uses and even if you are looking for singing bowls for beginners, the ones that you will get will never go wrong in your usage.

All you need to know is the simple instructions for taking good care of them. when you play them, with time, you will have learned how to make the most out of them, so don’t get bored from the first time when things don’t work.

Just follow the procedures that we have given you and you will make a better sound that is soothing from them.

The Best Violas In 2020: A Buying Guide

Best Violas

Introduction

The purchase of a viola is a complex process; therefore, it is essential that you have a clear understanding of the viola brand you intend to buy.

Furthermore, it is crucial that the viola brand you buy is famed for its high-quality workmanship. The two indicators of this are the sound it produces as well as the instrument’s external beauty.

So, in this review, we will take you through some of the best professional violas with the primary considerations you should consider are affordability and quality of the materials used.

Consequently, you will be in a position to purchase a viola brand of excellent value, which still is within your budget.

Here are some professional violas you need to consider.

viola

The Best Professional Violas Available in the Market

Professional Violas

Eastman Strings

Eastman Strings is often known for making amateur violas. Nevertheless, they also are renown for creating advanced violins as well as violas which produce super sounds. So this is the reason we strongly recommend it for advanced players.

So, it is no fluke that Strings Magazine named the Eastman VA305 as the best viola for advanced players because of its playability and tone.

Furthermore, all violas from Eastman Strings are handcrafted from one piece and feature a maple back that typically includes boxwood and ebony fittings.

The outings of these instruments often include a Wittner tailpiece that has built-in tuners plus base Despiau bridge which you can opt to modify after-market.

The cost of this professional viola for sale range s between $100 to $500.

After you have purchased its outfits on Amazon, you will be sent the instrument, without neither a bow nor a viola bow case.

Recommended Viola Model:

Andreas Eastman Model 405
Andreas Eastman Model 405

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DZ Strad

It is one of the best professional violas on the market and is perfect for intermediate viola players. Its users having plenty of praise for this instrument due to the outstanding sound quality it produces.

Moreover, the Model 400, in particular, is one which many of the intermediate viola players find very appealing.

The workshops for DZ Strad are situated in Minnesota and New York. Additionally, all the violas are made from Italian tonewoods that have been undergoing drying for 20 years.

After being dried, the wood is put into a drying room, with this uniform to the traditional European customs, safeguarding this wood from neither opening nor expanding hence ensuring stability.

Upon purchase of DZ Strad violas, you get two bows, a viola case as well as a viola. Usually, the two bows you get are a carbon fiber viola bow and an SZ Strad Pernambuco Viola Bow.

So, you get the option of playing your viola with two different bows, with this sufficient proof why this is best professional violas. To get one of these high-quality violas DZ Strad manufactures, the price you will have to pay will extraordinarily range between $1000 and $1500.

Recommended Viola Model:

D Z Strad Viola Model 101

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D Z Strad viola Model 120

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D Z Strad Viola Model N2011
D Z Strad Viola Model N2011 

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D Z Strad Viola Model 600
D Z Strad Viola Model 600

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D Z Strad Model 800 Viola Outfit
D Z Strad Model 800 Viola Outfit

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Recommended Handmade Viola Model:

D Z Strad Viola - Model 500 - Handmade Viola
D Z Strad Viola – Model 500 – Handmade Viola

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D Z Strad Viola - Model 900 - Handmade Viola
D Z Strad Viola – Model 900 – Handmade Viola

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Recommended Viola Bow Model:

D Z Strad viola bow Model 205
D Z Strad viola bow Model 205

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D Z Strad Model 300 Viola Bow
D Z Strad Model 300 Viola Bow 

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D Z Strad Model 302 Top Viola Bow
D Z Strad Model 302 Top Viola Bow

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D Z Strad Viola Bow Carbon Fiber Model 303
D Z Strad Viola Bow Carbon Fiber Model 303 

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D Z Strad Model 401 Viola Bow Carbon Fiber
D Z Strad Model 401 Viola Bow Carbon Fiber

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Master Antique Pernambuco D.PECCATTE Copy D Z Strad Viola Bow Model 900

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Yamaha

This company is famed in the music industry for the manufacture of affordable and high-quality instruments. These apply both to the violin family instruments as well as the piano, which are nothing short of top-class.

The violas Yamaha makes are significantly pricier as they usually range between $700 to $1400.

The reason these violas are these expensive is that they are hand-made in the Chinese factories making use wood and only using wood which is of the highest possible quality for this specific price range.

Therefore, this justifies why Yamaha often is considered as one of the best violas money can buy.

Yamaha violas come in outfits which are available in numerous sides. This includes a case, a Brazilwood bow, and rosin.

Additionally, these violas typically hand-made from maple, ebony as well as spruce plus come fixed with Winter tailpieces that feature four fine tuners which facilitate simple tuning of this instrument.

Lastly, top-quality DAddario Prelude strings are incorporated into Yamaha violas. Consequently improving the quality of the instrument as each of the strings is upgraded to either Dominants or Evah tePirazzis.

Recommended Viola Model:

Yamaha Model AVA5-140S 'Braviol' Student Viola
Yamaha Model AVA5-140S ‘Braviol’ Student Viola 

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Yamaha Model AVA5 Viola
Yamaha Model AVA5 Viola 

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Yamaha Model AVA7 Viola
Yamaha Model AVA7 Viola

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Yamaha SVV200 Silent Viola
Yamaha SVV200 Silent Viola

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Merano

Whereas this viola brand is of lower quality in comparison to the other brands. It does deliver by being very affordable. Usually, most of the violas they make are priced at slightly over $100 hence making this brand great. If you are a beginner and not entirely sure that you carry on playing after your first year.

Likewise, despite these violas not garnering high resale value, they without a doubt meet all your needs as a beginner on a budget.

The fingerboards on Merano violas usually are made from hardwood and not ebony just like Cecilio. Therefore, this means that you often will need to repair the fingerboards or upgrade to a more advanced model.

However, Merano violas are an excellent choice if currently, you cannot afford to buy a high-quality model.

Finally, after purchase, the outfits you get include an additional bridge, an extra set of strings, a case, rosin, music stand, shoulder rest, and electronic tuner.

Recommended Viola Model:

Merano 16.5" Student Viola
Merano 16.5″ Student Viola

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Merano MA200 16" Solid Viola
Merano MA200 16″ Solid Viola

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Merano 16" White Viola
Merano 16″ White Viola

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Merano MA200 15.5" Solid Viola
Merano MA200 15.5″ Solid Viola 

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Merano 15" Green Viola
Merano 15″ Green Viola

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Merano MA400 15″ Hand Made Solid Wood Ebony Fitting Viola

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Merano 14" Blue Viola
Merano 14″ Blue Viola

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Merano 14" White Viola
Merano 14″ White Viola

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Merano 13" Viola
Merano 13″ Viola 

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Merano 13" Black Viola
Merano 13″ Black Viola

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Merano 12" Viola
Merano 12″ Viola

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Merano 12" Green Viola
Merano 12″ Green Viola 

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Merano 11" Student Viola
Merano 11″ Student Viola 

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Merano 11" Purple Student Viola
Merano 11″ Purple Student Viola

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Primavera

Primavera makes excellent professional violas which are affordable and perfect for the intermediate viola player.

The cost of these violas usually ranges between $250 to $350, thereby making it slightly more expensive when compared to the amateur violas for sale.

Nevertheless, these violas are made from tonewoods of high-quality like spruce which has inlaid purfling plus hand-carved maple.

Moreover, both the fingerboards and pegs are made out of carved ebony as well as fittings. These violas usually have a “student-proof “feature, meaning it has a very sturdy composite bow which has an ebony frog and Mongolian horsehair.

The Primavera has undergone numerous adjustments in an attempt to drive down the cost of its violas whereas still improving the overall quality of the produced sounds.

A good illustration of this is the use of a metal alloy tailpiece which comes with four fine tuners instead of a solid wood tailpiece. Also, rather than make use of the traditional “pillowy” case, a Styrofoam is used in these violas.

However, the viola case is somewhat of low quality. But it functions quite okay and will ensure that your viola is safe from both the elements and drops.

Primavera viola outfits usually come in numerous sizes. So you always have the option of choosing one that perfectly fits your preference. Finally, most of the Primavera violas come together with a hardwood bow.

Stentor

The Stentor brand has gained a reputation as one of the viola brands with outstanding quality while still being very cost-effective. This instrument is often used by guardians to teach their children to play a transitional level viola.

The manufacture of these instruments is done in a Chinese workshop. But before it is supplied to either the store or your home, it passes through the United Kingdom office to be inspected for quality.

Furthermore, Stentor boasts having a wide range of violas available for purchase, ranging from intermediate to total beginners. Therefore, Stentor most likely has viola that suits your wishes.

The Stentor viola bows are made from robust tonewoods and feature a spruce best, pegs, an ebony fingerboard as well as fittings with maple back and sides. Additionally, the Stentor viola bows include trimmed purfling to prevent the splitting of the softer spruce wood.

The Stentor violas cost about $200 and come with rosin, horsehair and wood bow, usually brazilwood plus a cushioned rectangle case.

Recommended Viola Model:

Stentor 1038-12 12-Inch Student Viola Outfit
Stentor 1038-12 12-Inch Student Viola Outfit

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Stentor 1038-13 Student Viola Outfit, 13-Inch
Stentor 1038-13 Student Viola Outfit, 13-Inch

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Stentor, 4-String Viola – Acoustic (1505 14)

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Stentor 1038-14 Student Viola Outfit, 14-Inch
Stentor 1038-14 Student Viola Outfit, 14-Inch

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Stentor 1038-15.5 Student Viola Outfit, 15.5-Inch

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Stentor 1038-16 16-Inch Student Viola Outfit
Stentor 1038-16 16-Inch Student Viola Outfit

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Cremona

Violas made by Cremona are among the professional violas for sale ideal for amateurs. These are available at affordable prices and provide you with exceptional quality. While making these violas, only select tonewoods, and this includes hand-carved maple, spruce as well as ebony.

Additionally, you can opt to make slight improvements to these violas to improve its performance. But they still perform superbly on their own.

Some of the features present on Cremona violas include a prelude string which comes with it out-of-the-box, with this a satisfactory trait. However, when it comes to replacing this with a viola string of better quality, a significant difference is realized.

All the Cremona violas are usually made at the Cremona workshop. It is located in California, United States, and they all meet the standards set by MENC. It is the National Standards for Music Education which was recommended by the Music Educators National Conference back in 1994.

The role of the standard MENC set was to safeguard that all the violas are functioning properly upon arrival. It can be seamlessly integrated into any kid school orchestra or ensemble. Therefore, this justifies why both students and teachers prefer using Cremona violas instead of other violas.

Furthermore, all outfits feature the famous TL-33 case, Prelude strings by Daddario, A Breton VP-61 allow with four in-built tuners for a simpler tuning, a Kaufman chinrest, rosin, as well as J LaSalle Brazilwood bow of remarkable quality.

The price of these Cremona violas ranges between $200 to $700.

Recommended Viola Model:

Cremona SVA-130 Premier Novice Viola
Cremona SVA-130 Premier Novice Viola

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Cremona SVA-175 Premier Student Viola
Cremona SVA-175 Premier Student Viola

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Cremona Viola - Acoustic (SVA-500 15.5")
Cremona Viola – Acoustic (SVA-500 15.5″)

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Cremona SVA-150 Premier Student Viola
Cremona SVA-150 Premier Student Viola

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Cremona SVA-100 Premier Novice Viola
Cremona SVA-100 Premier Novice Viola

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Cremona SVA-200 Premier Student Viola
Cremona SVA-200 Premier Student Viola

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Cremona SVA-500 Premier Artist Viola
Cremona SVA-500 Premier Artist Viola

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Cecilio

It is one of the best violas in the market, especially if you are an amateur player. It is because it provides you with remarkable quality all at an affordable price, unlike the other famous viola brands as it will cost you less than $200.

Additionally, Cecilio hand-makes all its instruments with this thereby adequate proof of the tremendous quality of the device being manufactured. Due to this, devices from this manufacturer have become extremely popular, particularly among individuals who are still learning the tricks of playing the viola all across the globe.

Moreover, the construction of Cecilio violas is from hand-carved tonewoods that have spruce tops, inlaid purfling plus a flamed maple back and sides. It also features a chin rest, a feature often found only on high-end violas which are made from boxwood.

However, Cecilio violas have one main disadvantage, and that is the presence of maple instead of ebony fingerboards. Ebony fingerboards, unlike maple, are studier since ebony is a hardwood hence meaning the viola strings can withstand the continuous pressure of having fingers tapping on them.

Thus, you will have to often repair your Cecilio viola in comparison to other viola brands.

Lastly, most of the outfits of Cecilio have a Brazilwood bow, a quality boxwood peg, chinrest as well as a tailpiece which has four fine tuners.

The Cecilio, therefore, is an excellent viola if you are searching for the ideal instrument for a beginner as it incorporates all the essential components.

Recommended Viola Model:

Cecilio CVA-400 Solidwood Viola

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Cecilio CVA-500 Solidwood Ebony Fitted Viola 

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Cecilio CVA-400 14-Inch Solid Wood Flamed Viola

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Cecilio CVA-400 16-Inch Solid Wood Flamed Viola

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Cecilio CVA-500 14-Inch Solid Wood Viola

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Cecilio 16 Inch Viola with Tuner, CVA-600

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Cecilio 16.5 Inch Viola

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Other Popular Professional Violas Model:

 Mendini 16-Inch MA250 Viola
Mendini 16-Inch MA250 Viola

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 D'Luca PD02-16 Handmade Viola
D’Luca PD02-16 Handmade Viola

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Basic Viola Accessories

Viola Accessories

Apart from the instrument itself, there are other vital items you need to play this instrument successfully. These are;

Viola Accessories
Viola Accessories

Case

Professional Viola Case
Viola Case

Violas are very fragile, so it is prudent to get a viola case to protect it at all times. Lower-end viola models also come with this case. If the model that interests you does not have a case, you should buy another viola.

Recommended Viola Case Model:

Bam Contoured Hightech Viola Case
Bam Contoured Hightech Viola Case

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Crossrock 15"-15.5" Viola Case
Crossrock 15″-15.5″ Viola Case

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Pro Tec PS2165DLX Deluxe Viola PRO PAC Case
Pro Tec PS2165DLX Deluxe Viola PRO PAC Case

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Protec Viola MAX Shaped Case
Protec Viola MAX Shaped Case

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 Bam 2200XL Contoured Hightech Adjustable Viola Case
Bam 2200XL Contoured Hightech Adjustable Viola Case

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Featherweight C-3907V Viola Case 16″

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 Gewa Concerto 331 Adjustable 15"-16.5" Viola Case
Gewa Concerto 331 Adjustable 15″-16.5″ Viola Case

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Paititi 16 inch Professional Oblong Shape Lightweight Viola Hard Case 

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Bow

Professional Viola Bow
Viola Bow

In most cases, you need a bow to play the viola. Nevertheless, you might find that the bow that comes with your instrument is of low quality thus does not meet your needs.

To address this issue, you should buy a high-quality bow as this is the easiest method of upgrading the sound your instrument produces.

Recommended Viola Bow Model:

Cecilio Ebony Frog Brazilwood Viola Bow – Size 12″

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Cecilio Ebony Frog Brazilwood Viola Bow – Size 13″

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Cecilio Ebony Frog Brazilwood Viola Bow – Size 14″

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Cecilio Ebony Frog Octagonal Viola Bow – Size 15″

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Merano 13″ Viola Bow + others

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Merano 14" Viola Bow
Merano 14″ Viola Bow

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Merano 14″ Viola Bow

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Merano 15" Viola Bow
Merano 15″ Viola Bow

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Merano 16″ Viola Bow

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Merano 3/4 Size Cello Bow
Merano 3/4 Size Cello Bow

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Rosin

Professional Viola Rosin

All the instruments which have strings dependent on the rosin. This rosin provided the friction which is needed to make a sound.

So, if you slid your bow across the string and it seamlessly glides without producing any sound, it is most likely that you need to add to your bow some rosin.

Recommended Viola Rosin Model:

Melos Light Viola Rosin
Melos Light Viola Rosin

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Andrea Orchestra Cello Rosin
Andrea Orchestra Cello Rosin

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Andrea Solo Viola Rosin 1/2 Cake
Andrea Solo Viola Rosin 1/2 Cake

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Andrea Solo Viola Half Cake Rosin
Andrea Solo Viola Half Cake Rosin

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Shoulder Rest

best viola

It usually is placed on the viola’s underside, and it assists you to keep the instrument safe from slipping. Also, it might add some little height to the viola so that it meets your chin with minimal strain.

Shoulder rests are especially crucial if you are yet to become an expert viola player, but as you continue being more comfortable and accomplished with this instrument, you might decide to stop using altogether.

Recommended Viola Shoulder Rest Model:

D’Luca VV200-14 Viola Shoulder Rest 

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MI&VI Viola Shoulder Rest

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Everest Black EZ Series 15″-16.5″ Viola Adjustable Shoulder Rest

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Vizcaya Viola Shoulder Rest for 15” to 16.5” Violas
Vizcaya Viola Shoulder Rest for 15” to 16.5” Violas

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Kun Original Viola Shoulder Rest
Kun Original Viola Shoulder Rest

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Bonmusica 16" Viola Shoulder Rest
Bonmusica 16″ Viola Shoulder Rest

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Comparison with Different Viola

Professional Student Violas Professional Intermediate Violas Best Professional Advanced Violas
  Cremona   DZ Strad   Eastman Strings
  Cecilio   Primavera  
  Stentor   Yamaha  
  Merano    

Conclusion

Therefore, we have taken you through some of the best professional violas you need to consider if you are searching for this instrument. Subsequently, you will get to enjoy the sound produced.

However, it is vital to note that not all these brands come with the essential accessories like the rosin, case, and bow so it might necessitate you to purchase them separately.

Best Harmoniums Buying Guide (2020)

best harmoniums

Introduction:

When researching the best harmonium brands I was surprised at all of the harmoniums available on the market to choose from. This made writing this article easy in many ways and difficult in others.

No matter how young or old you are, you can always begin to learn how to play an instrument or gain instruction on how to better care or upgrade your instrument.

There are several different types of harmoniums. Your preference in types might be linked with previous experience with other instruments or no true preference at all.

If you have no preference or are hoping to expand your knowledge of the instrument, perhaps understanding the history of the instrument and the various types of instruments will give you a better insight as to what you want, and hopefully inspire you to learn a different variation of the harmonium.

The goal of the article:

This article will inform you about the best harmoniums and the best harmonium brands you could buy or experiment with to your heart’s content!

We will take a look at the best harmoniums focusing mostly on style, some on-brand, as well as zero in on their features and benefits. Not all harmoniums are created equally as you will see and the features really matter in finding the best harmoniums.

What is a harmonium?

A harmonium is a reed instrument that creates sound when air is pumped through its bellows.

What is a Harmonium

History of the Harmonium

At first glance, the harmonium might resemble a piano to you, if you are unfamiliar with it or what type of instrument it is. Its original design was just as bulky and cumbersome as the original piano or organ, luckily, the instrument has gone over several redesigns in the past few centuries.

Some sources suggest that the precursor to the harmonium, the free-reed organ was inspired by India’s mouth organ instruments. There is no definitive date on when the mouth organ instrument was created, however, the free-reed organ was created in 1770.

The harmonium instrument would not be created and legally patented until 1842, by a Frenchman–Alexandre Debain. The harmonium became especially popular and used frequently by those who could not afford to buy an organ e.g. small churches and private residences/homes.

Harmoniums were especially popular back in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries because a person did not need electricity to play the instrument.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, Christian missionaries, especially, began bringing the instrument all over the world, as it was a great fit with devotional and gospel music.

It was during this time that Indians altered the harmonium–they redesigned the instrument so that you did not need to sit in a chair to play it e.g. got rid of the foot pedals. Its most common form is a medium-sized wooden box that you sit on the floor with, and use your hand to pump it as you play it.

Several different versions of the harmonium were created, starting in the nineteenth century, and they stayed a very popular instrument until the electric organ was created sometime into the twentieth century.

Today, the harmonium remains a popular instrument in the eastern part of the world, mainly India.

History Of The Harmonium

History of the Harmonium Overview

  • Its creation was inspired by both India’s mouth organ instrument and the free-reed organ
  • Became popular in use for those who could not afford to buy an organ instrument
  • Its popularity increased due to it not needing electricity to be played
  • Christian missionaries popularized its use around the world for evangelizing, starting in the mid-nineteenth century
  • Native Indians redesigned the instrument so it would be less bulky e.g. got rid of the foot pedals and necessity for a chair to play it; you play it sitting on the floor or anywhere else you choose
  • Remains popular in India

Parts of a Harmonium

Parts of best harmonium
Parts of harmonium

Keys:

Keys are one of the first things you notice when looking at a harmonium. These look similar to the keys you find on the piano because they are black & white.

Cover:

Harmoniums come with a cover. This is a very important feature that serves to protect the harmonium. It also mutes higher frequencies if there is a need for that.

Bellows:

Bellows are used to pushing air as well as make the sound you hear from a harmonium. They are two types 1. multi-fold or 2. two-fold.

Stops:

You see the stops on the front of a harmonium. These are called knobs that control the flow of air. There are two types of stops, 1. Drone Stops and 2. Main Stops.

Reeds:

A harmonium has metallic strips which are called reeds. These help to create the sound a harmonium.

Coupler:

The final part that is important in creating a sound an octave apart is the coupler. When a key is pressed the couple enables the same key an octave higher to be pressed.

Parts Of Harmonium (Infographic):

Parts Of Harmonium
Infographic Source: Parts Of Harmonium
parts of harmonium

Every part is important in producing the best harmonium brands.

Styles & Features

There are several features that you can choose to add to your harmonium. Some are not needed, so this is where previous experience, or newfound knowledge of the type of music that you want to play, is very helpful.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up with a harmonium with a feature that, at best, you don’t need and never use while you are playing your instrument.

There are two primary styles, Kolkata, or Calcutta and Delhi.

Delhi Style

Best Harmoniums
Delhi Style Harmonium

This is where beginners will start learning to play the harmonium. Overall this is the most frequently played harmonium for professionals as well. This is because of three primary reasons.

Budget:

Delhi harmonium is comparatively less expensive than Kolkata harmoniums and less expensive than other musical instruments in general. They will come in a range of $500 to $1000.

Design:

One of the reasons the less cost is the simple design. They are light in weight as well as easy to take care of. For this reason, they are easy to travel with as well.

Sound:

Delhi harmoniums are heard in a diversity of music. This is due to its organ tone.

Specifications:

Box Types: Standard & Collapsing

Coupler(optional): right action, activated by wire mechanism located under keys

Exterior Construction: Traditionally pine or kale softwood, sometimes teak

Interior Construction: Softwood; sometimes composite or particleboard

Key construction: One-piece.

Length of Scale: 2 to 3.5 octaves, 25 -42 keys

Reeds: Punjabi: various levels of quality

Reed banks: 1 or 2, Brass, Male

Reed orientation: Horizontal

Scale changer: Not available

Weight: 13-28 lbs.

Kolkata Style

These are quite different than Delhi Style harmoniums in almost every way including feel, sound, price and how they look.

Kolkata Style Best Harmonium
Kolkata Style harmonium

Budget:

A Kolkata Style harmonium costs in the range of $1200-$1800. The most expensive ones can cost a price of $3000.

Design:

They are sold in construction with the ornate intricate design you can only describe as beautiful. Their engineering is very detailed.

Sound:

Kolkata’s produce a full tone because they are built with three, and four sets of reeds. This allows them to play easily in different octaves.

Specification:

Box Types: Standard & Traditional Collapsing

Coupler: typical, left action, activated by wooden bars under the keys

 –Exterior Construction: Teak, quality varies.

Interior Construction: Solid teak

Key construction: Two-piece

Length of Scale: 3 .3.75 octaves, 37-44 keys

Reeds: Palitana; various levels of quality

Reed banks: 3 or 4, Brass Male, Female

Reed orientation: Horizontal / Vertical

Scale changer: Available

Weight: 32-48 lbs.

Harmonium Types

Best harmonium

There are several different types of harmoniums e.g. standard and fold up, and beyond that, there are different variations in harmoniums that can drastically alter their sound.

standard harmoniums:

standard Best Harmoniums
standard harmonium

The number of reed banks, type of reed banks, whether or not the harmonium has a coupler, stops, drones, and bellows make a difference.

The number of octaves and whether or not the harmonium has a scale changer also influences how the harmonium sounds. Quality of the wood that your harmonium is made out of can also make or break the sound of your instrument.

Sound Quality depends on Quality of woods

The most important feature that you have to make sure is completely correct is the type of wood your harmonium is made out of. If your harmonium is not made out of quality wood, then it will drastically alter the type of sound you are trying to create.

Harmoniums should be made out of quality wood. If you do not plan to move your harmonium around very often, it should be constructed in a heavier wood e.g. teak or mahogany. This type of wood will give it a resonant sound if that is what you are looking for.

If you plan to travel with your harmonium, then it should be made of pine or fir, which are lighter woods. That should make it easier for you to carry it around.

Standard harmoniums have two handles on either side and are the most commonly used harmoniums around the world.

Recommended Models:

Harmonium by Maharaja Musicals
Harmonium by Maharaja Musicals

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Vrindavan Bazaar Premium Scale Changer
Vrindavan Bazaar Premium Scale Changer

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Harmonium by SAI Musicals
Harmonium by SAI Musicals

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Brand New Harmonium With Teek Wood
Brand New Harmonium With Teek Wood

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Makan Musical Instrument
Makan Musical Instrument

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Khushi Musicals Harmonium 4 Stopper
Khushi Musicals Harmonium 4 Stopper

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Harmonium Indian Sangeeta (PDI-DC)
Harmonium Indian Sangeeta (PDI-DC)

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Harmonica Brand Harmonium
Harmonica Brand Harmonium

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Fold up harmoniums

Fold Up Harmonium
Fold Up Harmonium

This type of harmoniums is designed and built specifically to make traveling with a harmonium a lot easier than with a standard harmonium.

There are two types of fold up harmoniums–one type folds up into itself, with the bellows covering its top and the other type folds into itself and has a separate lid to cover it. Generally, the latter type of harmonium is much more expensive and heavier than the former type of harmonium.

Recommended Models:

OM Mini Traveler Harmonium
OM Mini Traveler Harmonium

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Queen Brass Harmonium
Queen Brass Harmonium

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Folding Type Harmonium By Kaayna Musicals
Folding Type Harmonium By Kaayna Musicals

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Harmonium Sound Features

The sound of the harmonium is affected by several different elements.

Number of reed banks

The number and type of reed banks it has, for one. Harmoniums can have either 1, 2, 3, or 4 banks of reeds and each reed bank has a totally different sound.

Type of reed banks

They have different names e.g. male, female, bass, and tenor. A different, unique mix of these reeds can be placed in each bank, which contributes to the harmonium’s unique sound. The more reed banks a harmonium has, the more unique it’s sound will be. However, this means that it will also be heavier.

Coupler

A coupler is used to connect one key to its higher or lower, yet corresponding key. It can play two octaves of a note at the same time, which can give it the sound of having more keys/reed banks than it actually has. However, you will have to pump more air into the instrument to utilize this.

Stops

Stops are a feature that allows you to put more air into the harmonium by turning large knobs. Essentially you use these to control how much air goes to each set of reed banks.

Drones

Drones are utilized by smaller knobs that you can use to hear a fixed note when you turn the knob. Generally, these notes are C, D, F, G, A, or a selection of all of them.

bellows

Harmoniums have external bellows–either 1, 3, 5, or 7 of them–while also having internal bellows. Some use the bellows as a way to control the instrument–having a greater number of them–but a proper pumping technique mitigates most of the troubles in that area.

Number of octaves

Because there are different variations of keys per every harmonium, the octave ranges also vary. Most harmoniums have a range of 3 to 3.5 octaves.

Scale changer

Lastly, a scale changer is used to shift your keyboard from left to right. Most harmonium players will never use this feature because most do not need to change keys will playing a piece of music. It is very delicate, so it is not recommended for those who travel often with their instrument unless specifically needed.

Harmonium Types Overview

  • Standard
  • Fold up
  • Harmonium Sound Features
  • Number of reed banks
  • Type of reed banks
  • Coupler
  • Stops
  • Drones
  • Bellows
  • Number of octaves
  • Scale changer
  • Quality of materials used

What are the best harmonium brands?

Here is a list of the best harmoniums by brand according to The Top 10 on the Indian website.

  • 1. Kepler Harmonium: This is the top-selling harmonium at the Top 10 India website. A 9 Stopper, Chudidaar Bellow, 42 key, two reed, Baas Male, with Cover.
  • 2. Khushi Musical: The second best selling harmonium at the Top 10 India is a Folding (Portable) With Coupler 3.5 Octave 9 Stopper Rosewood.
Traveler Harmonium 4 stopper
Traveler Harmonium 4 stopper

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Traveller Harmonium 4 Stopper 2.5 Octaves

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Khushi Musicals Harmonium 7 Stopper
Khushi Musicals Harmonium 7 Stopper

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  • 3. Pal Music House: The third most popular selling brand in India.
  • 4. Bajaj collection: Comes in of #4 on India’s top-selling harmoniums
  • 5. Bina: They are a legend in the harmonium industry. Known for using only the highest quality wood. It is able to produce harmoniums that deliver the best tone available. Their staff is top-notch overseeing all aspects of the manufacturing process.
BINA No. 8 Harmonium
BINA No. 8 Harmonium

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 BINA PRO-GRADE INDIAN PORTABLE Harmonium
PRO-GRADE INDIAN PORTABLE

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BINA 23B Deluxe
BINA 23B Deluxe

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BINA PRO-GRADE INDIAN PORTABLE 9 SCALE CHANGER
PRO-GRADE INDIAN PORTABLE 9 SCALE CHANGER 

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FULL RANGE 3½ OCTAVE BINA PORTABLE HARMONIUM
FULL RANGE 3½ OCTAVE BINA PORTABLE HARMONIUM

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  • 6.Harmoniumwala Harmoniums: Makers of high-end Calcutta Harmoniums with designs and acoustics that rate at the top of the market.
  • 7. Paul &Co. Harmoniums: Built for longevity using only the finest wood. Performers tout them for their durability and elegance.
  • 8. Sharma Musical Store Harmonium: 8th best selling brand.
  • 9. Sur 0 Bani: # 9 on the list.
  • 10. Singh &Sons: Rounds out the Top 10 best brands of harmoniums in India.

Other best harmoniums brands:

  • Moharaja Musicals Harmoniums: With expert craftsmanship, they are able to deliver a quality product at a reasonable price.
  • MKS Harmonium: A fourth-generation company originating in Kolkata, they specialize in all of the technical aspects of harmonium manufacturing.
  • DiIjit Dosanjh Harmonium: Higher quality and priced brand available online from various retailers.

Recommended Models:

MOHARAJA MUSICALS

Harmonium #1

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Folding Harmonium

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Indian Sangeeta (GSB-DC)

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Harmonium Indian Musical Instrument (GSB-AAE)

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Mahogany Color (GSB-DB)

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Are the best harmoniums only made in India?

The harmonium was first created in Europe, yet any harmonium you buy today will have been made in India. And within India, generally, the harmoniums are made in either Delhi or Kolkata.

Delhi style:

The Delhi style of the harmonium is one of the most popular styles, and it is what you will see the majority of people playing, whether they are professionals or beginners.

It is one of the best harmoniums to use because it is lightweight and easy to move around if needed. Its sound is very common, but is very dynamic and can be used to play all sorts of music e.g. folk songs, ambient, and indie rock, etc.

Best of all, compared to other styles of harmoniums, this is relatively inexpensive to buy. It comes with 1 or 2 reed banks (bass and male) and a coupler. Its octave range is 2 to 3.5 octaves. It can weigh between 13 and 28 pounds.

Kolkata style:

The Kolkata style of the harmonium is very very different from the Delhi harmonium. This does not mean it is bad, or that it is the best harmonium instrument, but it is just different.

These are very solidly constructed and designed instruments and contain 3 or 4 sets of reed banks, which brings with it a wide octave range. The sound is very full and somber and are mostly used in Eastern music composition and styles, but can be adapted to suit Western music composition and styles as well.

The reed banks are either bass, female, or male. It comes with a scale changer and a coupler. Its octave range is 3 to 3.75 octaves. It can weigh between 32 and 48 pounds.

Delhi Harmonium Overview

  • Most popular
  • Lightweight and easy to travel with
  • Easily adaptable to several different genres of music
  • Comes with: 1 or 2 reed banks (bass and male), a coupler
  • Octave range: 2 to 3.5 octaves
  • Weight: 13 to 28 lbs
  • Cost: $500 to $1,000 USD

Kolkata Harmonium Overview

  • Very different and not as popular as the Delhi harmonium
  • Made of heavier wood and not as easy to travel with
  • Can adapt, with some doing, to western-style composition
  • Comes with 3 or 4 reed banks (bass, female, male), a scale changer, and a coupler
  • Octave range: 3 to 3.75 octaves
  • Weight: 32 to 48 lbs
  • Cost: $1,200 to $3,000 USD

What is the best quality harmonium brand to buy?

Buying a harmonium

There is no “best” harmonium instrument, per se. There are preferences and there are those that you want to buy. For most people, beyond cost, what the harmonium will be used for dictates what type of harmonium they buy.

For Traveling

If you intend to travel often with your harmonium, then it would not be advisable for you to buy a Kolkata harmonium.

Considering the size

When it comes to size, you should also be aware of just what a “small” and “lightweight” harmonium actually means. This does not mean that the harmonium will be “easy” to transport–it just means that it will be “easier” to transport than it was before, with its traditional designs and materials.

When you decide to buy a “small” harmonium, you are making certain sacrifices in its sound quality.

Because you have bought a smaller harmonium, the bellows will not able to get as much air through the reed banks, which creates an “inferior” sound–inferior to what it could have been with a larger harmonium. This doesn’t mean it’s bad–just different.

Budget

You will also want to buy quality harmonium and that costs money. If you do not, then you run the risk of buying a cheaply made harmonium that cannot retain air, which means it cannot create decent sound.

Lastly, make sure you know what you are buying. Just because a harmonium is identified as “small” does not mean that it is. Make sure you know how much the harmonium you are buying weighs, particularly if you are wanting to travel with it.

Harmonium Brand Quality Overview

  • Smaller harmoniums create a less complex sound
  • Cheaper harmoniums cannot retain air, which is not conducive to quality music
  • Always make sure to check the weight of your harmonium before you buy it

Conclusion:

Remember, the best harmonium is the high-quality harmonium that you buy, learn how to play, and experiment with!

No matter how old or young you are, it is never too late to learn how to play a new instrument, and the harmonium is perfect for those who are wanting to play a reed instrument, but do not want to buy a piano–of which even the larger harmoniums (Kolkata) would be easier to move and travel with, if necessary.

There is no rush for you to choose which kind of harmonium you want, or how many of its features you need. Take your time–evaluate not only your budget (because you will need to buy a high-quality instrument unless you want to keep buying cheap harmoniums as they break down) but also your lifestyle and the type of music you want to play.

Are you interested in playing more of western-style music? The Delhi harmonium is your best bet. But if you want to learn how to play traditional eastern style music, then the Kolkata will be the best harmonium for you to buy–if you can afford it.

There are many factors that go into a decision, and it should not be taken lightly–you have all the time in the world to decide on the best harmonium instrument for you!

Best Viola Strings In 2020

Best Viola Strings

Introduction:

One of the most important components of a viola would be their Strings. After all, about the only way to make the unique music that a viola is known for would be through using the proper Strings.

It might come as a surprise to you that there are actually many different viola Strings on the market today. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. Like everything else in life, there are people who swear by one particular brand and can’t stand another.

Brand loyalty can be very strong when it comes to viola Strings, so how do you go about finding the right one? One of the ways would be through comparing viola Strings on violin in a number of areas and taking an Individual look at some of the specific brands. When it comes to finding and maintaining good viola Strings, you should keep some of these considerations in mind.

Viola Players Often Have More Than One String They Are Looking For

Best Viola Strings

First of all, the four viola Strings are comprised of the letters A, D, G, & C, and nine times out of ten violists will pick a different String for each letter.

Moreover, there is no one “perfect” String combination that all violists will agree on. It all depends on what your priorities and goals are for each viola Instrument you have in mind. This leads us to our first point; In order properly locate the best viola Strings, you need to be aware of what some of the best combinations are.

Viola Strings

The most common combination to be aware of would be Larsen A, Larsen D, Spirocore Tungsten G, and Spirocore Tungsten C. What makes it even more confusing would be the fact that there are often better brands for each different String!

Viola Strings Are Usually Reviewed On More Than One Characteristic

Best Viola Strings

In order to obtain a good viola String, most individuals will be looking at a number of important characteristics, inducing the following:

Gauge and Thickness:

The widths and gauges can affect the tone of the sound that the viola String putting out. There are options such as thicker Strings, which are renowned by hobbyist for putting out a fuller and richer sound this can help a violist to differentiate themselves from a violinist for sure.

The Sound Created From the Materials:

Nowadays, the material of the String will impact the sound. You need to do your research to determine what type of material your String is made from, but normally they are usually made out of synthetic materials.

Ball vS. Loop End:

All of your Strings will either have a metal ball or a loop on the end. If you are utilizing fine tuners to maintain your Strings, you should be aware that only a ball-end variety will need these fine tuners.

Price:

Yes. Strings can be expensive. You should expect to have to pay around $100 annually in order to ensure your violas have the newest String accessories. Moreover, you will want to talk to an expert to make sure that you get a version that still has the best sound for the price you pay as well.

How to Install a Viola String:

Strings installation on your viola can be a crucial task. This video can help you to learn the methods of installation and replace them yourself with this guideline.

How To Install A Viola String

The Best Viola Strings on the Market Today:

What Are The Best Viola Strings?

Although it can be a bit perplexing to try to determine just which viola Strings are the best on the market, there are a number of guidelines that can help find the right one for your needs. First and foremost, you should always group the best viola Strings according to the ability level that they represent. Here are some of the best examples:

best viola strings
viola strings

Viola String: Thomastic-Infeld Dominant

Skill Level: Intermediate

Thomastic-Infeld Dominants are a sold example for those who are interested in producing a stable and warm pitch. A lot of Individuals rave over this String because it will usually work excellent with many different types of D, G and C Strings. Yes, their price is rather steep.

However, the Thomastic-Infeld brand has distinguished itself for many years for being an extremely durable viola String brand. The Thomastic-Infeld has set the standard for how other synthetic viola Strings are produced. These are both adaptable, stable, and can also provide a warm and excellent pitch.

Recommended Viola String Model:

Thomastik-Infeld 141 Dominant Synthetic Core Viola Strings
Thomastik-Infeld 141 Dominant Synthetic Core Viola Strings

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Thomastik-Infeld 4125 Dominant, Viola Strings
Thomastik-Infeld 4125 Dominant, Viola Strings

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Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings
Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings

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Recommended Vision Viola String Model:

Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings

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Thomastik-Infeld VIS200 Vision Solo Viola Strings
Thomastik-Infeld VIS200 Vision Solo Viola Strings

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Thomastik-Infeld VI200 Vision Viola Strings
Thomastik-Infeld VI200 Vision Viola Strings 

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Viola String: Prelude

Skill Level: Beginner

The Prelude viola String Is the perfect set for those who are just starting out and learning how to play viola well. It can produce a stable sound that will suffice for even the most discerning of tastes.

Additionally, the prelude Strings won’t break the bank. Unlike the Intermediate or expert Strings that average upwards of $80 apiece, the prelude Strings will usually only set you back $30 or less. Simply put, it’s a great way for you to learn and also minimize the financial risk at the same time.

Recommended Viola String Model:

Prelude Viola D String

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D'Addario Prelude Viola String Set
D’Addario Prelude Viola String Set

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 D'Addario Prelude Viola String Set  Long Scale
D’Addario Prelude Viola String Set Long Scale

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Viola String: Thomastic-Infeld Spirocore

Skill Level: Intermediate

This is classified as steel core strings, and they are popular among both the experienced and beginners alike. The Spirocore version can work well with the Larsen when it is a G and C arrangement and they are an excellent match for Jargar as long as the arrangement either an A or D String.

The Spirocore is also great for providing a remarkable sound that is both great for a single-string C pair and also many other String sets. It also comes in three different sizes: light, medium and heavy gauges.

Recommended Viola String Model:

Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings (S20A)

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Thomastik-Infeld Thomastik S20
Thomastik-Infeld Thomastik S20

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Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings (S24)
Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings (S24)

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Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings (S22)
Thomastik-Infeld Viola Strings (S22)

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Viola String: Pirastro Passione

Skill Level: Expert

Pirastro has truly redrawn the viola map with its remarkable passions line. The Pirastro Passione has first of all distinguished itself by redrawing the normal fluctuations in temperature and humidity that normally exist among stringed Instruments such as the viola or violin.

Additionally, Pirastro also has set themselves apart by winding the aluminum by hand. They also work on making the gut core in this example as stable as possible.

Indeed, one of the main reasons that so many accomplished viola artists are drawn to this example would be because of the freedom they have in playing it. There is no fear of a breakdown here!

Recommended Viola String Model:

Pirastro Eudoxa Rigid Viola G String
Pirastro Eudoxa Rigid Viola G String

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Pirastro Tonica Viola C String - 4/4 size
Pirastro Tonica Viola C String – 4/4 size

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Pirastro Chromcor Viola Strings - Set
Pirastro Chromcor Viola Strings – Set

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Conclusion:

Keeping all of this information and these tips in mind will definitely ensure that you will enjoy all your viola Strings activities for many years to come.

The Incredible Benefits of Singing Bowl (2020)

Benefits of Singing Bowl
Singing Bowl

Introduction:

There has been extensive research into the effects a singing bowl has on the health and wellness of those who play them. Singing bowls are often used spiritually or in alternative medicine. Many enjoy the relaxing and healing properties of the music produced by singing bowls.

Some also use singing bowls during their yoga or meditation practices to help align their chakras. Others simply enjoy the beautiful musical notes that can be played with singing bowls.

This article will inform you about the incredible benefits of singing bowl as well as the origin, the types of singing bowl materials and learning to play singing bowls for beginners.

What is the origin of singing bowls?

Origin Of Singing Bowls
Origin Of Singing Bowls

Origin Of Singing Bowls:

The singing bowl dates to as far back as the 16th century BC In ancient China, where It has been used in meditative and spiritual practices for millennia. It is originally known as the standing bell. It is a large, metal, bowl-shaped, upward-facing bell traditionally struck with a soft mallet to produce a deep ringing or gong-like sound.

When we research the origin of singing bowls we found historical significance and health benefits from the ancient time. Buddhist monks use the standing bell in religious ceremonies and during chant still to this day.

standing bell vS Singing bowl :

Though the standing bell is usually large, bowl-shaped, and made of metal, smaller versions have been produced and are known as singing bowls. Singing bowls have the same basic structure as their larger brother and are most often also made of metal.

There are other variations that may be made of quartz or other resonant materials as well. Other than size, the main difference between the standing bell and the singing bowl is how they are most commonly used or played.

Singing bowl:

The singing bowl is generally not struck with a mallet but is played by rubbing what is most often a wooden mallet or stick around the outside rim of the bowl. This sustained rubbing of the wood around the metal bowl produces a harmonic humming and ringing sound. This sound is very peaceful and conducive to meditation and relaxation.

If a singing bowl is small enough It can be held in the palm of your hand while it is played. If it is a bit larger, a small silk or satin decorative pillow is usually placed underneath it while the stick is rubbed around the rim. The pillow lets the metal bowl vibrate freely without Interruptions so that it produces a solid ringing sound.

If the bowl is gripped too tightly or sitting on a sold surface it often will cause the stick to bounce the outside which causes a banging noise rather than the desired peaceful hum.

types of singing bowl materials:

Types Of Singing Bowl Materials
Types Of Singing Bowl Materials

What are some different types of singing bowl materials and how do their purposes differ?

There are metal singing bowls and then there are quartz singing bowls. Metal bowls produce a ringing sound you may be more familiar with, while quartz singing bowls sound a bit more like crystal quartz glasses. So the sound is similar, but the resonance is different.

Quartz crystals have a special place in alternative healing practices because of their incredible energy-storing abilities. The energy and vibrations released while playing a quartz singing bowl are simply different from a metal singing bowl.

Quartz bowls are often much more expensive than metal bowls as well. This is largely due to the fact that they must be made from solid quartz rather than shaped out of the liquid and hammered metal.

Quartz bowls are also played differently from metal bowls. They have a different mallet which has a soft felt tip at the end. They are often lightly struck with the mallet, and then rubbed in a back and forth motion to Intensify the sound of the gong.

Different Types Of Singing Bowl Materials

What are the benefits of singing bowl?

Benefits Of Singing Bowl
Benefits Of Singing Bowl

There has been extensive research into the effects a singing bowl has on the health and wellness of those who play them. Singing bowl benefits are almost limitless.

Benefits Of Singing Bowl:

  • 1. Singing Bowls can help to reduce stress through the peaceful and harmonic vibration they produce.
  • 2. They help to align the cell functions within the body to promote wellness and healing.
  • 3. The sounds produced by the Singing Bowl have been shown to help with meditation and breathing practices, which help to focus the mind and calm the body.
  • 4. Many believe that through the reduction of stress, blood pressure can be lowered. It can help to reduce the risk of disease and heart-related Illnesses.
  • 5. The vibration of the bowl is thought to help improve circulation, as well as Increase blood flow throughout the body.
  • 6. In modern medicine, the application of a bone vibration machine is often used to help speed up bone healing bone breaks through improving blood flow to the affected areas.

Example:

Cats use the vibration of their purrs to help reduce stress and promote their own well-being. The earth vibrates on Its own frequency that actually synchronizes to the same vibrations in our brain waves.

  • 7. The more we study about sound waves, energy, and magnetic resonance the more we are beginning to understand the possibility of how helpful Item like the singing bowl may actually be to our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
  • 8. The actual vibrations and sounds produced by the singing bowl, the act of tuning In to the motion of playing the singing bowl is therapeutic on Its own.
  • 9. The slow, rhythmic movement needed to be able to produce the desired sound with the stick promotes a state of synchronicity between the player and the bowl. It becomes easier to tune out other noises around you and easier to focus on your own inner movements.
  • 10. This is one way in which the singing bowl helps to Increase the depth of a meditative state. You can time your breathing match the revolutions of your hand moving the stick around the rim of the bowl as well to Increase relaxation.

Benefits of Singing Bowl (Infographic)

Benefits Of Singing Bowl
Infographic: Benefits Of Singing Bowl

Learning to play Tibetan singing bowls for beginners:

Tibetan Singing Bowls
Tibetan Singing Bowls

The premise of playing a singing bowl is very ample. If you have a handheld singing bowl you should place It In your hand opposite of your dominant hand.

Then, take the wooden stick or mallet provided with the bowl in the hand you intend to play the bowl with. Hold the stick firmly, with the fatter end facing downward in your fist. If you hold onto the stick too loosely it will bounce around the bowl and will not produce a solid ringing sound, which is the desired effect.

Holding the stick or mallet firmly against the outside metal rim of the bowl, slowly rub in either a clockwise or counterclockwise motion around the bowl. You will start to hear a quiet hum at first, and as you gain momentum with each revolution around the bowl will begin to hear a louder ringing, humming, harmonic sound.

You will have press the stick or mallet against the bowl’s rim harder and harder to maintain a louder and louder hum as you progress, or It begins to bounce around the outside of the bowl.

Once you have reached the desired volume or tone, you can maintain the pressure required to keep the sound going. At this point when you will reap the greatest benefits of singing bowls.

Each person has their own preference for volume and tone with the bowl. So you can just do what works best for you. It may take a little practice to get to a tone you feel works for your needs. But that is part of the fun of learning how plays a singing bowl.

Once you have mastered the technique you can begin incorporating the singing bowl into more of your day to Increase wellness, relaxation, and Inner harmony.

How can you incorporate singing bowls for beginners into your everyday life?

Incorporating singing bowls for beginners into your everyday life is actually very simple and easy to do. It does not take long at all to learn how to play a singing bowl, and you can find them in almost any spiritualistic store or online.

Size of the singing bowl:

The most common size for a handheld or tabletop metal Tibetan singing bowl is around three to four inches in diameter.

They do not take up much space, and many come with their own wooden stick or mallet and pillowed cushion for ease of playing.

The best part about a singing bowl’s size is that it is very portable. You can carry it In your car for playing during long traffic wait, or for a few minutes every morning before you head into the office, or even after work and before heading back into your home in order clear your mind and body of the day’s negative energy.

During the breaks time:

You could keep a singing bowl at your desk for breathing and meditation breaks throughout the day. However, be prepared for others to ask what you are doing and why. This would be a great time to also introduce them to singing bowls as well!

If you are just now learning about the benefits of Tibetan singing bowls there is a good possibility that your coworkers are also unfamiliar with them.

Teambuilding activity:

It can be a great teambuilding activity to participate in group breathing session while using singing bowls. Or, it could be a fun Icebreaker activity to try with your team at work.

Use of a singing bowl into your yoga routine:

Subsequently, you may be helping them to Increase their own wellness outside of work. You may also want to incorporate the use of a singing bowl into your yoga routine. Much of yoga is about breathing and the balancing of your body with your environment.

A singing bowl is incredibly effective at improving both of these two aspects of the yoga methodology. Even If you only have a few minutes a day re-center yourself, the singing bowl can help you do so much more effectively.

The pros and cons of playing a singing bowl:

Pros

  • Increase in promoting positive feelings.
  • Reduction of general stress.
  • Reduction of high blood pressure.
  • Increase in Improved circulation.
  • Reduction of inflammation due to improved circulation.
  • Re-synchronization of cell function in the body.
  • Decrease In tension headaches.
  • Improved coordination.
  • Enhanced states of meditation.
  • Deeper meditative experiences.
  • Improved alignment of chakras.
  • Greater connection to self.
  • Greater senses of self-awareness.

Cons

  • Frustration at the beginning of the learning to play process.
  • Some people may need to experiment with a few Different singing bowls to determine which will produce the most pleasing sound and vibration frequency for their individual needs.
  • Some individuals may be sensitive to the ringing sound If they already experience tinnitus or other such hearing disorders (however, It likely will not bother everyone with this condition).
  • Not everyone will find playing the singing bowl to be beneficial. Those who do not embrace alternative methods of healing may especially be skeptical and may try to dissuade others from experiencing healing from using a singing bowl.

Don’t let them discourage you If you are interested in learning how to play a singing bowl, as It may be one of the best Investment you can make for your own well-being.

Where can you purchase singing bowls for beginners?

Singing Bowls For Beginners
Singing Bowls For Beginners

Singing bowls can be found almost anywhere alternative or Eastern medicinal products are sold. You can find simple handheld Tibetan singing bowls for around ten US dollars, or up to hundreds of dollars.

Factors Affecting Price of the Singing Bowls For Beginners

The price often depends mostly upon some factors like-

  • The material the bowl is made of,
  • The craftsmanship of the bowl,
  • Who made the bowl,
  • Where the bowl was made, and
  • What all comes with the bowl itself.

Recommended Singing Bowl Models:

Silent Mind ~ Tibetan Singing Bowl Set 

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Reehut 4.2” Tibetan Meditation Yoga Singing Bowl Set

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Innovahome Handmade palm-size Meditation Yoga Singing brass Bowl Set

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Conclusion:

As stated before, many singing bowls come in a set of the bowl, a pillowed decorative satin or silk cushion, and a wooden stick or mallet play the bowl with. You may be able to find a metalsmith in your area who design bespoke singing bowls.

If so, you could customize the design and size exactly to your own specifications. Keep In mind that this will probably cost much more to have your own singing bowl custom made than mass-produced singing bowls that are available on many online websites, but the quality and story behind your own special singing bowl will be well worth it if you should decide to go that route.

Good luck with your new singing bowl adventure.