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Frequently asked questions
The harmonium, frequently referred to as the reed organ or pump organ, is a keyboard instrument that produces sound using foot-powered or hand-powered bellows. The tone of a harmonium is a pleasant, reedy sound characterized by a breathy raspiness. This tone comes from the use of wind to generate sound. The pumps feed air into a pressure-equalizing chamber, in which metal reeds vibrate over corresponding slots to produce pitches. These reeds vary in size and shape to make different tone colors. The space around the reeds also affects the tone, with constricted chambers creating stronger vibrations and clearer tones. Harmoniums are often used in non-Western music, such as Hindustani vocal accompaniment, religious music across northern India, and Islamic Qawwali music. In Western music, it has been popularized by bands like Sigur Ros and The Beatles.