Swedish Folk Tunes for Fiddle and Nyckelharpa

Swedish Folk Tunes for Fiddle and Nyckelharpa
Location: Benslow Music, Hitchin, Herts
Fri 20 – Sun 22 January 2023

A weekend learning about traditional Swedish folk music. Led by Vicki on the Swedish nyckelharpa you will learn about the different type of polska, schottis, långdans and waltz and their place within a dance context.

What is the course about?

Vicki Swan is currently the country’s leading exponent of the nyckelharpa – the Swedish keyed-fiddle. The nyckeharpa has an evocative sound perfectly suited to the music of the frozen north. Vicki has been tirelessly promoting the nyckelharpa since 2012. She holds the Swedish Zorn award in bronze for the playing of the Swedish bagpipes and specialises in unearthing tunes from her home region of Småland in Sweden.

Over the weekend you will learn about the different types of polska – the typical three beat folk dance and how to place the elusive second beat. You will also be taught a mixture of other types of Swedish folk tune, the Schottis långdans and vals. Each day will begin with a gentle physical warmup to help build rhythmic awareness and to aid in whole body feel for pulse and beat of the music. During the course of the weekend you will also be introduced to the older types of nyckelharpa: the silverbasharpa (1800s) , the kontrabasharpa (1700s) and the moraharpa (1600s) to place some of the music in its historical context. Some of the key players of the fiddle and nyckelharpa will also be introduced. Each tune learnt will be played as two or three part harmony pieces.

What will we cover?

Stylistic playing of the polska, slängpolska, schottis, langdans, vals.
Introduction to some famous spelmän (folk fiddlers/nyckelharpaplayers)
Two and three part harmony playing
A brief introduction to the nyckelharpa (instruments will be available to try)

What will we accomplish? By the end of this course you will be able to…

Have a stylistic understanding of the three beat polska and the placing of the second beat.
Will also have learnt some schottis, långdans and vals.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is aimed at intermediate to advanced players of the violin family.
It is also appropriate for players of the viol or any other bowed instrument as long as it has a range of two and a half octaves from G.

How will the course be taught, and will any preparation be required?

The course will be taught predominantly be ear, but music will be available.
The participants will be taught as a whole group with break out groups as appropriate.
The course is entirely practical.
No preparation is required before the course.

Will music be provided in advance of the course?

Music will be provided by the tutor on the course. There is no need for prior preparation

Is there anything I need to bring?

Bring your instrument, a recording device (audio or video)