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Hardingfele (Norwegian Violin)

La tête du hardingfele

The Hardingfele1 (violin Hardanger2), is the popular instrument of Norway.

It is a pearl inlaid violin, ink-decorated and has four or five strings resonance called sympathetic strings.

The vibrating string length is about 2 cm and smaller than half of a classical violin strings are finer and there are five different rods for twenty rope scordatura.

The most common agreement (which represents approximately 80% of the Norwegian directory) is : la2 – ré3 – la3 – mi4 for melodic strings, and (si2) – ré3 – mi3 – fa#3 – la3 for the sympathetic strings.
The peg of the instrument usually ends with a dragon’s head crowned.

Corps du Hardingfele
The trunk of the instrument has the same dimension as the violin but this only since about 1860 , originally the hardingfele was smaller with a more angular shape and had only two or three strings of resonance.

The Hardingfeles are cut so that a front view of the body of f is almost not visible in side view, the opening of the f up to 10 mm. The legs are acting on two different levels, the lower leg of f falls within the table.

The first mention dates back to 1646 lexicographical.
The oldest hardingfele bears the signature « Ole Jonsen Jaastad 1651 ». The date and signature were long disputed , but recent research (carbone 14, dendrochronology: tree-ring analysis) consistent well with the instrument.

« The musical instrument associated with the directory is considered as the most « authentic » Norwegian musical heritage which is also the most vital expression ». For the ethnomusicologist , this music , mostly composed of air dance has some fascination while presenting a challenge facing both remarkable mechanisms of tonal order harmonic , formal, and subtle phrases. The hardingfele produces a particularly dense and crisp sound , taking advantage of a dozen scordatura. His playing technique is characterized by a number of metric and rhythmic formulas rarely heard elsewhere. »3

Each year , there are in Norway , a contest : the landskappleik including first place is an international recognition.


1 In Norwegian hardingfele, perhaps female or male.
2 Hardanger is a region of southwestern Norway, where the practice and development of the instrument has spread to become today the national instrument.
3 Reidar Sevåg, « Love and Affection » Acts of international meetings around the instruments sympathetic strings, Limoges 28, November 29, 1992.

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