Dari Language Blog

Afghan Music (Harmonium) Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in culture

Short Information regarding Harmonium     (معلومات کوتاه درباره هارمونیم)

When the British came to India in the 18th century, they brought their harmoniums also. Although the foot pedal was still retained, the hand pumped version was introduced. When the harmonium came across to North Indian musicians, they immediately favored this instrument for few reasons. When the hand pumped version came out, it did not require foot pedals. For an Indian musician, it was discipline and practice to sit on the floor. Thus, this format of a floor organ worked well. Secondly, the harmonium was able to go with the flow of the voice pretty well. One hand was required to pump air; it was not a problem, because Indian music does not have chords. Since Indian music is primarily melodic, only hand was needed to pump and one hand was needed to play the melody.

Now countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are using this instrument, the harmonium has been used in almost all genres of music.


PARTS OF THE HARMONIUM (پارتهای هارمونیم)

 BELLOWS– (پکه) the bellows is a series of metal tongues which allow the air flow. The bellows must be pumped by hand allow air to flow into the harmonium to produce sounds. The left and right ends of the bellows usually has a metal bar or latch. These latches are on both sides to assist right and left handed players at their comfort. More about left and right handed positions in the next chapter.

KEYBOARD- (کیبورد) this is the most important and unique feature of a harmonium. The keyboard allows one to play melodies. Each key, when played, produces a unique sound. The structure and format of the keyboard resembles a piano. The function and theory will be discussed in great detail in the second unit.

MAIN STOPS- (بندهاې بزرګ) Main stops are the bigger knobs on the harmonium. The purpose of the main stops is to direct air flow. Selecting a certain number of stops in a certain order can affect how the sound comes out.  If no stops are pulled out, then no sounds will be produced, regardless of the amount of air being pumped into the harmonium. There are a few things that your harmonium might not have. Stops are one of them. If you do not have stops, don’t panic. You will still get sound, but the whole harmonium will be having a uniform sound.

DRONE STOPS (بندهاې کوچک) (not shown) – The function of these stops are to produce a constant sound of a single note. Again, not all harmoniums will have this feature.

پکه – Bellows- also means Fan

بزرګ – big

کوچک – small

بندهاې – stops

پارتهای – Parts

موسیقې – music



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About the Author: aniazi

Amir M Niazi, Bachelor of Science in MIS - Bellevue University; Bellevue, NE Associate in Microcomputer Programming, Minor in Networking - Community College; Omaha, NE Bachelor of Science in Medical technology - Kabul, Afghanistan Past 10 years working with Dari, Pashto, Farsi and Urdu languages for different companies. Hobby: - playing music


  1. Atiq Alborz:

    May God bless Afghanistan