Lesson 9: Norway

NORWEGIAN FOLK MUSIC is as closely intertwined with the folk music of Denmark as the history of Norway is intertwined with that of Denmark, which is quite intertwined. (You knew Denmark ruled Norway from 1380 until the early 1800s, didn’t you?) As in Denmark, the primary instrument in Norway’s folk music is the fiddle; in Norway, the most distinctive fiddle is the Hardanger. (Learn everything you’d want to know and more about the Hardanger fiddle.) Some cool Norwegian traditional instruments include:

Beyond Danish-inspired Norwegian folk, Norway’s folk music generally is either “North Germanic” or “Sami.” North Germanic Norwegian music focuses on two kinds of songs:

— kvad (ballads), like the ballad “Rolandskvadet
— stev (improvised songs), like this one performed by Sondre Bratland and Kirsten Bråten Berg (the singing starts at 0:17).

There are several kinds of North Germanic folk songs, like skillingsviser, which are old printed ballads, such as “Hjalmar og Hulda.”

“Sami” music is the music of the Sami people of Northern Scandinavia. We’ll learn about them next week when we explore the music of Sweden and Finland.

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