The Instruments

The most common questions we receive have to do with our instruments. Here’s a quick breakdown of who plays what, and an introduction to the instruments themselves:

  • Bart: chromatic nyckelharpa, kontrabasharpa, vocals
  • Anna: chromatic nyckelharpa, vocals
  • John: guitar, cittern

The Chromatic Nyckelharpa

The chromatic nyckelharpa dates to the mid 1920s, during a time when instrument makers were experimenting with new form and function. Eric Sahlström was the most successful with the redesign, and is widely considered the father of the chromatic nyckelharpa. A great musician in his own right, he also composed some of the most famous tunes associated with the nyckelharpa, and helped to make it more applicable to present day musicians. It has a sweet, full tone with lots of resonance.

The Kontrabasharpa

The Kontrabasharpa is an older variation of the nyckelharpa we know today. It was popular in the 1700s, and actually has blue notes built into the musical scale. The kontrabas has a light, but raw sounding tone to it, and is right at home with the older tunes we play. Bart is one of only a few people world-wide who still play this version of nyckelharpa.

Want to learn more? click here to read an article Bart wrote about the nyckelharpa.

Nordic Folk Music, Freshly Wrapped