Ash’s Harmonium

Ash’s Harmonium


I bought this hand-pumped harmonium on a whim from a music shop called Haken & Bell (now sadly an estate agent’s) in Abingdon, Oxfordshire when I was sixteen in 1995. It’s a rather romantic instrument – in the sense that as much as I love electronic music and electronic tools, it’s nice to have an instrument manually powered and driven by reeds and air.

I did come upstairs once, however, to find that my three-year-old twins had completely dismantled it (it all slots together with wire pins and grooves – no screws) and were meticulously inspecting each constituent part, and spent days putting it back together again. Anyway, it’s as good as new and sounds as good as they day I bought it.

I recorded it with a stereo pair of AKG C1000S’ and have left it untouched other than a touch of EQing down the bottom end. I’d love to map volume intensity to the mod wheel for more expressive playing but I don’t know how to do that! Can anyone help a brother out?


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Beautiful authentic sound, very usable

5.0 rating
June 8, 2021

This instrument has a beautiful sound with no distracting noises. The instrument is clearly loved (and put back together very nicely!) and was recorded well. It is lovely just to play about on; and it would make a nice addition to a folksy ensemble for a project. For myself, I added volume to the mod wheel and shifted the start point back slightly for the samples (and then slowed the attack a little) as it facilitated faster playing. A little less authentic, perhaps… Thank you so much for this. Without my modifications, this works wonderfully for slow-changing chord patterns and sounds really great.
Also, Ash, I don’t know when this was posted (it probably says somewhere) or what version of Kontakt you were using at the time, and you might have solved this long ago; but to automate volume to the mod wheel in Kontakt 6, just go to Automation (on the Browser menu), left click and hold on CC1 and drag it to the volume knob. (Or do whatever the equivalent of a left click is for a Mac.) You’ll have to have clicked the tool icon on the instrument itself to open up the part on the instrument with the volume knob first, of course. I don’t know how to map variable velocity itself to the mod wheel, but that only makes a difference if there are multi-layered samples for different velocities of key presses and I haven’t done any real editing on such an instrument yet. (I’ve only just signed up, so I don’t know how to send you something; but if you’d like a copy of my edit of your wonderful instrument, I’d be happy to do so. I haven’t done anything that couldn’t be done in a few minutes, in any case.)

Bee Abney


A hand-pumped harmonium from a music shop in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

5.0 rating
5 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)
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