the nyckelharpa

The nyckelharpa (or Swedish key violin) is well known in Swedish folk music. The instrument has been continuously played in Sweden for the past 400 years. In the 15th century the Nyckelharpa was spread all over Europe, and especially in our region in the 17th century, thanks to Praetorius, a German composer in the early Baroque period.

Nowadays however, barely a few know this marvelous instrument with its typical and unique sound. Few if any people realise the importance it had in music history and which organic strength is hidden behind its bizar look.

The nyckelharpa is a violon-like stringend instrument, equipped with a keyboard system. the strings are brushed with a short bow, and instead of shortening the strings with the fingers of the left hand , wooden slats( the keys) provided with a stick are pressed against the strings to form notes. Aside from its four melody strings (tuned in quint) the nyckelharpa has a series of resonance strings witch lend the instrument its typical cathedral-like sound.

nyckelharpa build by Joos sanssen, Jean-Claude Condi

didier francois nyckelharpa composer sculptor bronze