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Bram Heemskerk

nyckelharpa or Swedish Key violin.

November 18, 2007 at 10:33 PM

First I learned from Bilbo Prattle that the instrument on the 50 krones money of Sweden is a Swedish Key violin. Now I learned from Corwin Slack that it is also called "nyckelharpa" ( here more about the nyckelharpa or Swedish Key violin on Wikipedia) and gives Bach on Youtube on this instrument:

The nyckelharpa or Swedish Key violin
From Corwin Slack
Posted on November 19, 2007 at 12:43 AM
I had never heard of it before your last post so I did some googling of my own. There are several Youtube performances. Thank you for sharing this and piquing my curiosity.
From Bilbo Prattle
Posted on November 19, 2007 at 2:54 PM
Also search on "Hurdy Gurdy" which is very similar but uses a spinning wheel rather than a bow.

Interestingly enough, there is a Hurdy-Gurdy used prominently in the movie version of "The Polar Express" put out a few years ago.

From Ray Randall
Posted on November 19, 2007 at 3:41 PM
Vibrato looks super tough. I want one so I can play in tune.
From Bernadette Hawes
Posted on November 19, 2007 at 5:45 PM
Bit like you'd imagine a bowed guitar (?) :-)
Fascinating instrument - that was fascinating - thank you Bram. I wonder if it's any easier to learn than traditional violin.
From howard vandersluis
Posted on November 20, 2007 at 1:38 PM
It was pretty, in a weird sort of way, but the constant clicking of the keys was distracting and annoying.

It's hard enough getting a standard violin on the plane- imagine having to travel with one of these contraptions!

From David Blackmon
Posted on November 20, 2007 at 5:20 PM
The Swedish group Vasen uses one of these instruments. Do a you tube search for Vasen .....Great listening !!

David Blackmon

From Bram Heemskerk
Posted on November 20, 2007 at 7:40 PM
"I wonder if it's any easier to learn than traditional violin." Yes Bernardette, you don't have intonation problems with your left hand, because the (piano-)mechanic pulls down the strings to the fingerboard.

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