Icelandic Folk Instruments

My brother gives a presentation with a colleague at an elder hostel and elsewhere on the subject of Scandinavian music. He admits it is rather lame, and I have tried to help him research and put in order some of his information. So far he has not used anything I’ve discovered but he promises that will change in the future.

As a result I have learned quite a lot about Scandinavian music. We are of Norwegian and Swedish descent and do not come by the music of the other Nordic or Northern European music through our heritage. Maybe a little Finnish because we live in close proximity to the Minnesota Iron Range region. But there are other cultures in the pantheon including Danish, Icelandic, Faroese, Sami, Greenlandic, Ålandic….It’s quite an adventure.

The two Icelandic folk instruments I have encountered through research are the langspil, similar to the Norwegian langeleik which is related to the dulcimer, and the fidla, a bowed instrument.  It is my understanding that both of these were resurrected from the Viking era by means of reconstruction of museum pieces, but are now used widely in contemporary Icelandic music.


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