Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Although the harmonium is slowly growing in favor with the public, its capabilities are at present 
very little known and greatly under-estimated. It appears to be the idea generally that any one who 
can play the pianoforte or the organ is therefore properly qualified, without special study or tuition, to play 
the harmonium. But it might just as reasonably be said that a fine violinist must necessarily be a good 
violoncello-player, or that a first-rate performer on the oboe should be an equally good bassoon-player. It 
is highly improbable, however, that the reader will be inclined to admit either of these propositions. 
The harmonium, like the organ, possesses the power of sustaining the sounds; but, unlike the organ, 
it can sustain them at varying degrees of intensity, according to the will of the performer, and without 
necessarily altering the combinations of the draw-stops. It is, in fact, capable of the most refined 
expression, and in this respect closely resembles the human voice. The only points of similitude 
between the organ and the harmonium are the key-board and the draw-stops. The same method of 
fingering, too, is common to both. In every other respect there is no resemblance whatever, the treatment 
required by each instrument being totally different. 
Constant practice of a sustaining keyed-instrument tends to induce a sluggish touch, to overcome 
which it is exceedingly desirable that a judicious course of pianoforte practice—which will be found to 
strengthen the fingers, and render them supple and agile—should precede, or run side by side with 
the study of the harmonium. For this purpose the “Pianoforte” Primer of this series is strongly 
The harmonium is suitable for solo performances or orchestral purposes, and forms an admirable 
accompaniment for voice or instrument. 
It is to be regretted that so few musicians are acquainted with the capabilities of the harmonium; were 
they aware of the variety of beautiful effects to be produced, it is not too much to say that they would, 
where possible, eagerly avail themselves of the resources which the instrument offers. 
To the composer of instrumental music the harmonium is simply invaluable. 
It is scarcely necessary to say that it will be greatly to the student’s advantage if his studies be 
superintended by a competent teacher. 
Figs, i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and io have been drawn specially for this work by Mr. Edward R. Barrett, 
for whose valuable assistance the Author here tenders his acknowledgments.


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