My 'new' Surokar harmonium

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ragarecords
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My 'new' Surokar harmonium

Post by ragarecords » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:21 am

I'm feeling a little disloyal to my ancient, simple, anonymous harmonium, old when I bought it 40 years ago and still fine. But I've seen the comments on Surokar here and on Lars' site so when one became available, I pounced. I bought it from a kirtan singer who'd had it made for her about six years ago, because she'd always wanted one. But in the event it was too big and too heavy for her to bring to classes, concerts etc. It IS heavy. Triple reed, non-scale-change, 3.3 octave collapsible. Just a few things to fix: a crack in the stop board (repairable), a few of the bass reeds not sounding because the reeds are bent too far from their frames. I could probably fix them but I'll wait for Ira Landgarten to use his far more experienced touch. Pretty much in tune with itself at A440, the drones are all about 7 cents sharp from the rest of the instrument.

I'd be curious to have any info on the status of the Surokar shop other than what's already been posted here (impossible to get, custom order only): Is Manikant Biswas still active? Swarup's is his son's business?

I thought I'd sell my old harmonium. But it is like an old, solid Chevy, the Surokar like a Bentley: obviously I need both!

--John
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John Wilton
Raga Records
www.raga.com

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ragarecords
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Re: My 'new' Surokar harmonium

Post by ragarecords » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:23 am

More pics:
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John Wilton
Raga Records
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ragarecords
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Location: West Village, New York City

Re: My 'new' Surokar harmonium

Post by ragarecords » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:30 am

Well it's not quite as in tune as my quick spot check seemed to show. The numbers are deviations in cents from A440 equal temper, as measured by Android Pitch Lab Pro.

How many cents deviation from the instrument's own average would be considered out of tune by a harmonium guy tuning a customer's instrument, below which it would be best to leave it alone? Perfect precision is impossible, subject to variables like temperature humidity and air (pumping) pressure.
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John Wilton
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Lars
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Re: My 'new' Surokar harmonium

Post by Lars » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:49 pm

ragarecords wrote:Well it's not quite as in tune as my quick spot check seemed to show. The numbers are deviations in cents from A440 equal temper, as measured by Android Pitch Lab Pro.

How many cents deviation from the instrument's own average would be considered out of tune by a harmonium guy tuning a customer's instrument, below which it would be best to leave it alone? Perfect precision is impossible, subject to variables like temperature humidity and air (pumping) pressure.
Right, it's impossible sort of. I use medium pressure to judge the tuning. If you're within 1 or 2 cents then it's ok as long as it agrees with your ear as well and harmonically with other notes, etc. The larger bass reeds will start out flat and drift sharp so try and find a happy medium.

I haven't heard any news recently about Mani, since I've known him (just a bit) he's dealt with some health issues and last time I went all they wanted to do was sell these crappy swarmandals they make. Harmoniums are wonderful but not worth the hassle it takes to try and get one there, not at least as a business person anyway. I had 4 of them total I think and it took years and a lot of aggravation. There's an even better maker(s) who made the Srishti harmoniums for me but changed his number and no way to find him. I just stick with DMS which are good and reliable and no Kolkata humdity problems. Nice find though, do enjoy it!

Lars
http://www.raincitymusic.com

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