The Harmonium was first patented by Alexandre Francois DeBain in France on 9th August 1840.
It was imported in India by British Officers ruling India, this was around the 1860s and since then, the Harmonium has remained as one of the most popular musical instruments in India.
Today, it is being played actively not only in Classical music but also in Folk music, Dramas, and Cinema music. The position of Harmonium has however remained controversial in Indian Classical Music, so much so that it was even banned by All India Radio from 1940-1971.
This was allegedly due to the 'European' tuning of the instrument which did not provide any of the 'Indian' 22 Shrutis.
However, having been played for over 150 years, the Harmonium has become a part of most Indian homes that follow and cherish our rich culture.
I started playing the harmonium ever since I remember as both, my mother and her father were harmonium players.
Later, I was very fortunate to learn harmonium solo/accompaniment for about 25 years from my Guru, Late Pt. Govindrao Patawardhan.
During my music career, I observed that the harmonium did not have a universal acceptance from Indian Classical Vocalists due to what was called as the 'tempered tuning'.
Conversely, string instruments such as the Sarangi or the Violin were considered more acceptable for accompaniment by vocalists. When I made enquiries about the details of the so called 'tempered' tuning and it's differences from 'Indian Classical' tuning, to my surprise, I found very little information, and that too, inconsistent.
At that point, I decided to plunge into this 22 Shruti research in 2004, after I had just retired from my pharmaceutical career.
Fortunately, after 2 decades of beginning this work, the research work and its applications are now getting a lot of awareness in many parts of the world.