Old Time Music

Unnamed Swedish Tune

Barb Zavon has known this tune since the 1980s when she learned it at the fiddle festival in Wieser, Idaho. Barb plays this on her traditional Swedish instrument called a Nyckelharpa, accompanied by Mark on fiddle. This instrument belongs to the same class as the French Vielle and English Hurdy Gurdy. It’s sort of an elongated violin with four melody strings that are noted with wooden keys and many sympathetic strings. The oldest representation of a nyckelharpa is found on one of the gates to Kallunge Church in Gotland dating about 1350. Many variations have been made over the centuries and Barb has a modern version from 1925, made from a design by August Bohlin. I have searched for evidence of this instrument in early America, since the first Swedish settlement was New Sweden in the Delaware Valley in 1638. But if they brought a nyckelharpa, they did not tell anyone. Barb on nyckelharpa and Mark fiddle.

A New Beginning - painting