Norwegian Fiddles

When we were asked to find a cultural artifact that we connected with, it was easy for me to decide what to look for: some type of traditional musical instrument. After spending a bit of time in each city, I’ve decided on this type of violin from the Norwegian Folk Museum.imageIt is called the Hardingfele, or Hardanger fiddle. It is similar to the violin in terms of how it is played and the general shape/construction, but there are a few key differences. This instrument has significantly more decoration than a typical violin. The typical violin also has the scroll on top (the part on the end that looks like a swirl) while the Hardanger fiddle usually has some animal carved into the head of the instrument, like a dragon or a lion. It also has more strings than a typical violin. You still only play on four strings, but this instrument also has several strings under the strings that are played, and these strings resonate in response to the main four.

Obviously, being a music major, I will choose a musical instrument as my artifact, but I chose this one in particular because it was probably the strangest instrument that I have seen on this trip, and I knew the least about it out of those that I have seen. I found it very interesting, especially when the girl in the photo played it during the demonstration at the museum. It was used for dances, and you could tell it took a large amount of skill to even be able to play simple dance music. I knew going into this trip that I wanted to see instruments, but I was not expecting anything like this strange instrument.


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