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Are your Harmoniums tuned to A440?

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Q: Are your Harmoniums tuned to A440?

A: Some are, some aren't. Traditionally in India harmoniums tended to be quite sharp of A440. This was partly due to the European standard of A444-A445. Many Indian harmoniums are even sharper that A445. In ensembles of Indian Music, all the instruments will tune to the harmonium, so the only thing that really matters is that the harmonium be in tune with itself. Lately, with the popularity of this instrument in America, there is more of an emphasis on A440 tuning. Now a much higher percentage of harmoniums come from India tuned at, or close to, A440. Keep in mind that the reeds change with the climate (they go sharp in cooler conditions) so a harmonium that is nicely tuned at A440 in hot, humid, India, might not be the same when it reaches cold, frigid, Michigan.

Q: Does it matter if a harmonium is tuned to A440?

A: The most important thing is that the harmonium be in tune to itself – that the octaves and different banks of reeds match. In Indian Music most instruments (drums, tanpuras, other stringed instruments) will tune to the harmonium. Thus A440 tuning matters only if you are playing with fixed pitch instruments like a piano of flute. We check and tune all the harmoniums that we sell.

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