Keyboard Harmonium Lessons In Desi Style

Free Desi Style Lessons by Music Director Nisar Bazmi

Desi Style assumes you have no prior knowledge of music or playing the keyboard or harmonium or you play without correct approach. One of our main reasons in creating this website was to put together a comprehensive and easily accessible resource for Indian classical music theory, simply explaining and demonstrating all the basic concepts from scratch so that anyone, whether with a background in music or not, can understand.

Today, when the world is experiencing corona, depression, fear, illness and uncertainty, we go out of harmony, out of tune. Raga Sangeet music awakens the vibrations of peace that is deeply embedded in each one of us, restoring us to the natural rhythm of life. Music is a very important aspect of our lives. As babies, before we started speaking we started making musical sounds and singing. When we get stressed, depressed, tired, confused, ‘over it’, anxious, our natural rhythms change and we go out of tune. Our energies and mind become scattered and ‘all over the place’. Disconnected from our true nature which is always peaceful, happy, clear and wise. In this situation listen learning and playing music relaxes us. Music can have a profound effect on mood. Everyone (or almost everyone) is moved by music in some way. Everything in the universe has a rhythm. “This is a known fact, when we listen to good and soothing music our brain responds to every task we perform. It calms down our brain and provides healthy effect in our life.”

Keyboard offers a wide variety of instrumental sounds, in addition to the basic piano sound. Even fairly inexpensive ones usually also offer preprogrammed rhythms or styles and “auto-chord” accompaniment, which provides a harmonic background against which you can play a melody. Higher end keyboards have touch sensitivity, allowing you to vary your volume by how hard you strike a key, and midi capacity, which lets you connect your keyboard to your computer to use -writing and practice with music software like Cubase, Logic Pro, Pro Tools and Fl Studio etc. In a electronic keyboard instrumental sound you choose is called a voice. Before you play a song, choose a suitable voice that you like. Practice selecting different voices of electronic keyboard and remember the setting for the ones you prefer. Look your keyboard owner’s manual to help you. When you play the songs you can use any sound you wish. The rhythm controls of the keyboards provide drum beats to play along with melody. Music beats containing tabla sounds are called tabla styles. For best Yamaha tabla styles you may visit www.TablaStyles.com

Nisar Bazmi

Nisar Bazmi brought a new flavor into the world of music. His tunes mainly had urban touch to them. He also gave many new singers to the industry like Runa Laila, Naheed Akhtar, Mehnaz, Arshad Mahmod and Alamgir. The duo of composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal were his assistants in India before the independence. However, he is primarily remembered for his compositions in the voice of playback singer Ahmed Rushdi. Nisar Bazmi composed music for film “Jamana Paar”, in India in the year 1946. After partition Nisar Bazmi migrated to Lahore. Nisar Bazmi worked for many famous movies of Pakistan like Umrao Jan, Tehzeeb, Anjuman, Andleeb, Laakho Mai Aik etc. Nisar Bazmi also composed some of the most memorable national songs.

Great Music Director Nisar Bazmi Sahib

In a electronic keyboard instrumental sound you choose is called a voice. Before you play a song, choose a voice that you like. Practice selecting different voices, and remember the setting for the ones you prefer. Look your keyboard owner’s manual to help you. When you play the songs you can use any sound you wish. The rhythm controls provide drumbeats to play along with. Music beats containing tabla sounds are called tabla styles. In these harmonium lessons learn harmonium with free harmonium lessons and with teach yourself harmonium eBooks.

The drum rhythms can be changed to suit the kind of song you are playing. Melody keys are used to play the tune of the song with your right hand. The chord keys are used to play chords with your left hand. This makes the song sound full and beautiful with harmonic voice. If you do not know how to play chords then you may use auto chord along with the melody. A MIDI keyboard is a piano-style digital keyboard device used for sending MIDI signals or commands to other devices (computer) connected to the same interface as the keyboard. MIDI is an acronym for musical instrument digital Interface (protocol). The basic MIDI keyboard does not produce sound. Instead, MIDI information is sent to an electronic module capable of reproducing an array of digital sounds or samples that resemble traditional analog musical instruments. These samples are also referred as voices. An encoding scheme is used to map a MIDI value to a specific instrument sample. The data composed via the sequenced MIDI recordings can be saved as a Standard MIDI File (SMF). MIDI data files are much smaller than recorded audio files.

Keyboard VS. Piano

Keyboard is an electric version of the piano. The sounds from a piano are made by the mechanical action of the keys hitting mallets (hammer) on strings. In other words we can say a keyboard is electronic instrument whereas a piano is a percussion instrument meaning it makes it’s sound by being struck. Pianos are referred to as an acoustic mechanical instrument which produces its own unique sound. Keyboards usually refer to electronic instrumentation with various digital voices, however the keys are laid out the same as the piano. Even a high quality keyboard isn’t a substitute for the sound of a good piano, but it’s an affordable way to get started playing with keyboard, and has the advantage of portability. If you’re considering buying a keyboard, we would suggest going for one with full size 61 keys, as opposed to the “miniature” options out there. You don’t have to have the full 88-key range of the keyboard but 61 key keyboard is a better selection.  It is important that the keys themselves should be the same size as piano keys. Yamaha PSR SX-900 keyboard is a good choice which have mic/guitar input for use when singing or collaborating with other performers.

About Harmonium

The harmonium was invented in the West, but today largely used in the East, particularly in the Indian subcontinent; so much so that many mistakenly think it to be an Indian instrument. It is a modified version of the reed organ, with keys like the piano and bellows to pump air into the instrument. The harmonium is now widely used as an accompaniment in vocal music and also in religious music across the subcontinent. The modified harmonium plays 22 micro tones that are used in Indian music but that cannot all be played on a standard harmonium. The modification consists knobs under every note other than the first and the fifth, to be pulled out when a higher micro tone is needed. In order to understand the functioning of the Harmonium more closely, one can compare it to the Accordion, wherein air is similarly pumped into a closed space. The reeds that are affixed to the opening that produce the vibrating sounds. Even though one hand was used to pump the air, playing the harmonium was never difficult. Moreover, Indian music is more melody-based and therefore one hand was enough to play. With the passage of time, Indian music has witnessed a change, as it has employed a lot of chords. The harmonium too has been revisited by various composers and has grown in its popularity. Largely, the harmonium was used for a small scale ceremonies at home, and were more suitable for Bhajan singers who required a low pitch.

Classification of Melody

Music consists of three primary elements: melody, harmony, and rhythm. Melody provides a concise and natural description of music. Melody describes single notes that are played in a time sequence, one after the other. Harmony describes multiple notes that are played together, all at once. It is to notify that melody is far older than harmony. Melodies in Indian music are classified by an ancient system of ragas. A raga is a collection of pitches, kind of like a scale or mode in Western music. Each raga is defined, however, not only by the pitches themselves, but also by specific formulas for using them. Like scales in Western music, ragas help set the mood for a piece of music—but in much greater detail. Traditionally in Indian music, each raga was itself associated with a very specific emotion. However, the exact causal mechanisms by which musical sounds generate emotions are still unclear.

In modern times, the ragas are often still associated with a particular time of day or season. Within a raga, there will be prescribed ways of ascending and descending the scale, as well as specific melodic phrases that can be performed during improvisation. There are 72 parent ragas from which other ragas are obtained. Neural research proves that 72 ragas can control 72 nerves in the human body . Raga Ahir Bhairav and Todi are prescribled for patients suffering from hypertension. Indian classical music considers a raga as depicting a specific mood. An appropriate mood has to be evoked in the listener’s mind before initating musical treatment. For example Raga Kafi evokes a humid, cool soothing mood while Raga Pooriya Dhansri evokes a sweet, deep heavy, cloudy and stable state of mind. Ragas do heal when rendered properly. Even a single swar has immense strength. Ramzi a harmonium player suffering from a heart condition said “I mainly use my harmonium for meditations as I find the sound of the instrument bringing healing to me.

Each raga is constructed from five or more musical notes, organized into one ascending sequence, and one descending sequence of notes, which together comprise a single melodic framework. Performance of a raga is restricted within the note sequences of its ascending and descending halves, but is improvised in all other respects (e.g., timing between notes; sustain, attack of each note). Ragas are not only used in just Indian Classical Music, but also in Bollywood Music as well. Some great modern composers who use ragas to make their songs are Shankar Mahadevan and Ar Rahman.

Shuddh or Achal Swaras

Sa and Pa swaras are called pure swaras (shuddh swaras) and have a fixed position. They are also known as Achal Swaras. It is common belief that “shuddh swar” ragas are easier on beginners than “komal swar” ragas.

Vikrit Swaras – Komal and Teevar

Each swar has its definite place, but when it is placed by shifting its place, either upwards or downwards, it is called vikrit swar. Swaras other than Achal swaras can be sung half note above or below their original position.They are known as Vikrit Swaras. Re ,Ga,Dh,Ni can sung half note below and are known as Komal Swaras. Ma is sung half note above it’s original note and is known as Teevar Ma.Thus in total there are 12 swaras – 7 shudh and 5 Vikrit. Out of 5 Vikrit swaras, 4 are Komal and 1 is Teevar.

Great Music Director Nisar Bazmi Awards

Nigar award for best composer for the film “Saiqa” in 1968.
Nigar award for best composer for the film “Anjuman” in 1970.
Nigar award for best composer film “Meri zindigi hai naghma” in 1972.
Nigar award for best composer film “Khaak aur khoon” in 1979.
Nigar award for best composer for the film “Hum aik hain” in 1986.

Raga Sangeet Website Is The Winner Of Nisar Bazmi
Award At Arts Council

          Nigar Award

Ornamentation in Indian Classical Music (Alankars)

If you have a simple melody that can stand on its own, ornamentation is what is added to this to make it more appealing. There are many different kinds of ornaments (alankar) in Indian classical music. Some add finer refinement to the melody, others give it texture. Together, the various ornaments play a very important role in giving body and expressiveness to a simple melody, making it complete in and of itself without the need for accompaniment. Alankars are different sets of the swars that will enable you to practice and familiarize yourself with the different sounds. You should practice these till you can play them correctly without looking at the keyboard or harmonium. While you practice, please sing-along with notes so that you can improve your voice.

Important Alankars are of four types:

There are almost 33 types of alankars but few are being used these days for example, kan sawar, meend, andolan and murki.

Kan swar

Notes can be sung straight, but they are often sung with kan swar (grace notes; literally “a small quantity of a note”) borrowed from an adjacent note in a musical phrase. This lends pleasing expressiveness to the melody. A kan swar can be sung before or after the note it ornaments, and it can be borrowed from a note below or above it, but whatever the case, the main note is held for the longer duration while the kan swar is more subtle. What kan swar is used and when largely depends on the raga as well as the musical phrase in question, and it takes experience to know what sounds appropriate in which context.


In its simplest form, a meend is a smooth glide from one note to another. During slower parts of a melody, kan swars also become meends. However, meends can span much longer intervals too. Although a meend spanning a distance of several notes technically includes all the intermediate frequencies, only selected frequencies are given enough importance as to be identified clearly. Sometimes only the starting and end notes of a meend can be clearly identified, but at other times, other specific notes are also given importance. Not all meends travel directly from the starting to ending notes – some meends take twisting paths, touching notes that do not fall between the notes in question.


An andolan is a slow oscillation applied to a note. It usually features in ragas that use micro-tones and is applied to the notes in those ragas that involve the use of micro-tones. Micro-tones are unstable pitches that fall between two notes and are difficult to sustain. Artists can use this natural instability to their advantage by mastering the andolan and oscillating the note in a controlled fashion, rather like a graceful tight rope walker.


A murki is very much like a trill in that it usually involves two or three neighboring notes being alternated very swiftly and lightly. In fast-paced folk-derived compositions, murkis are rendered to sound light and sharp. In slower, more sensuous compositions, such as the thumri, they are smoothed over a bit, to sound more languid than sharp.

Here in our website you will find some more Alankars for practice; try to play them continuously for an extended period of time; its extremely important that your fingers move smoothly on the keyboard because when you are playing a metered melody, an extra second’s hesitation is enough to send you out of synchronization with the taal or rhythm.

What is special & what student will learn free from this website:

  1. The information provided here is sufficient to learn harmonium or Keyboard
  2. Learn to play keyboard harmonium in desi style with raga-based songs
  3. Play songs on the Harmonium or Keyboard with easy notation samples
  4. Easy understandable “Mix Eastern and Western” approach
  5. Harmonium exercises and finger warm ups
  6. Indian Classical Music Theory (Swars, Sargam, Ragas)
  7. Lakshan sangeet of raga videos provided with lyrics
  8. The most easiest teaching technique applied in these lessons
  9. Simple language and easy to understand notes diagrams
  10. Guaranteed success after 30 days practice.
  11. Learn to play electronic keyboard in Indian Classical style
  12. Personal support through blog.

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