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In perfect harmony

DNIND4867 | 11/28/2011 | Author : Asheesh Kumar Shukla | WC :336

Renowned harmonium player Dr Vidyadhar Oke, in the city to receive an award, gives After Hrs a glimpse of his vast and in-depth expertise on his instrument

He is a third generation harmonium player, as well as a doctor who trained in management at the London Business School. For years, he gave his services in the pharmaceutical field, but at 52, dedicated himself to music. Since then, not only has he researched extensively on the subject but also developed new instruments.
For some time in 1942, the harmonium was banned on All India Radio. Why?
When I was training under Pandit Govindrao Patwardhan, I would ask him the same question. He told me I that the classical singers on AIR—used to performing with a tanpura —were not very comfortable with the harmonium. It was said that it was a tempered instrument and not up to the mark of classical instruments.
And what was your inference?
Well the harmonium is actually a 12-tone instrument, and was invented by the British in 1840. To gel with tanpura, an ideal instrument should be made on 22 tones called Shruti, which are the base of every string instrument. I think that was responsible for the basic disharmony. However, I have invented a 22 Shruti Harmonium which is free of all defects.
Where do you find time to  research and innovate?
My need for money ended when I was fifty. I am a doctor and in that capacity, I have been associated with several organisations. I have also been part of different companies. I love music and for the past ten years, have been dedicating myself completely towards researching string instruments.
How has Indore responded to your performances?
Indore has been very receptive and it is always a pleasure to perform in front of an audience that loves and understands music. I think no performance can ever be complete without authentic listeners. Indorians listen with so much interest and dedication.
After so many achievements, what are your future plans?
I am planning to develop a harmonium which can have a meend, something which has not been done till now. Those who understand classical music would automatically understand what I mean by this.

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