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Playing the Harmonium Part-1

I have a passion for music and playing a native musical instrument as well as singing songs and therefore, the birth of this article.


A harmonium is a musical instrument available in our part of the world. It is great for singing solo as well as in a chorus. In a country like ours, the harmonium is available plentifully all year-round, and it is the musical instrument girls and boys interested in singing first learn to play.

How I Came in Touch with my Harmonium

When I was in grade 9, my younger sister and I asked our parents for a harmonium and a singing master to teach us songs. And that was how I came in touch with my harmonium. Now I am into my 40s and the harmonium has been shifting places as we have been shifting, and it has been lying in a corner inside a box all the time.

A  Photo of My Harmonium

A Photo of My Harmonium

The Music from My Harmonium

The music from my harmonium is still great. You have to insert air into it just like in an accordion and open out the first two big knobs in front, and music will play smoothly and loudly by hitting black and white reeds meaningfully.

The Songs I Play on My Harmonium

There are two established memorable and renowned poets in my country whose songs all male and female singers like to play. They are Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore. Their well-written songs- lyrics and music are popular in our country generation after generation. Some will choose one of the poets and sing his songs.

But our parents were liberal in the matter and wanted us to learn both the poets’ songs. Although I didn’t get to the point to learn to play just any song because our studies got harder at school, and I just abandoned singing for a while. But it was hard to get a good singing master again.

So I stayed with what I learned so far and played songs that I remembered on the harmonium from time to time. Now into my forties, I can recollect only five of the songs from my childhood and remember them vividly as I play them rhythmically on my harmonium.

My Most Favorite Song

My most favorite song is "A Butterfly" song written and composed by the poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. My most favorite stanza of the song is as follows so that you get a feel for it and understand what I am trying to exemplify:

"Butterfly, butterfly

Where did you get such colorful wings?

I do not like to go to school

Butterfly, take me as your friend

With You

Butterfly, where did you get such colorful wings?"

This is just a mere translation of the original Bengali song, and I do not demonstrate any rhyming words in it. The music of the song is splendid and so are the lyrics.

A Video about Myself Singing the Favorite Stanza in Nazrul's Song

The Other Songs I Play

The renowned poet, Rabindranath Tagore composed a song, “Light, My Light.” This is one of his songs I love. The first stanza could be translated into something like:

“Light, my light, light, my dear is all over the world

Light is my eye, my smoke, light fills up my heart

Light dances, dances, o brother, near my soul

Light rings, rings, o brother, near my heart.”

Two of the other songs by the other poet that I love are, “Dry leaves form her anklet" and "Dances Iran's Girl". These are fast-paced and rhythmical songs. On the other hand, Tagore's songs are slow-paced and flowing which are beautiful as well. One can play Nazrul’s songs when in elevated, high moods while Tagore’s songs can be played in graver, heavier tones.

“Dry Leaves Form Her Anklet” goes like this in the first stanza:

“Dry leaves form her anklet

With shining colors glimmering

she goes picking up waves.”

“Dances Iran's Girl” has the first stanza as follows:

"Dances Iran's girl

Dances Iran's girl

Looks like there is half moonlight beside the tent

Looks like there is half moonlight beside the tent

The Gipsy boy seems to play his flute

The Gipsy girl seems to play her drum

In her addiction to dancing, he whistles

Dances Iran's girl

Dances Iran's girl."

The contrast between the two poets’ songs is great, and it adds flavor to one's mood. A singer can choose which poet's songs to sing as her mood, the people around and the environment speak.


This article dealt with what a harmonium is and the songs I like to play on it. A contrast between two glamorous poets’ songs has been highlighted, and which ones would be ideal for a national singer to sing depending on her choice and occasion.

© 2019 Rosina S Khan

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