CADENCE Nyckelharpa Project

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Final report of the nyckelharpa project with enclosed CD


Cultural ADult Educationand Nyckelharpa Cooperationin Europe

With the support of the European Commission, the educational institutions “Eric Sahlström Institutet” in Sweden, “Akademie BURG FÜRSTENECK” in Germany and “Scuola di Musica Popolare di Forlimpopoli” in Italy have established the CADENCE cooperation as a “Grundtvig Learning Partnership”.

A multinational study group of 18 participants (and additional guests) visited all three institutes between January and October 2010 to exchange information about organization, methods and activities, especially in adult music education. Since the teaching on the nyckelharpa is the outstanding unifying element of the partner institutions, this instrument was used as an example for the joint studies.

Nyckelharpa or key fiddle

The nyckelharpa is a stringed instrument. The strings are bowed and the pitch is changed with a keyboard (the “keys”). Resonant strings contribute to the special sound. Since the late Middle Ages, illustrations and descriptions of the key fiddle in a north-south axis can be traced precisely in the three participating countries, Sweden, Italy and Germany.

It is thus part of the common cultural heritage of Europe. But since the baroque period, the nyckelharpa has only been played in Sweden, especially in the Uppland region, in an unbroken tradition as a folk instrument. Thanks to innovative musicians in Sweden, notably August Bohlin (1877-1949) and Eric Sahlström (1912-1986), and a number of enthusiastic musicians in continental Europe who discovered the instrument from around 1980, the nyckelharpa is now being revived worldwide and used in an increasing number of musical styles.

The study visits to the three countries lasted between five and six days. The program consisted in each case of a detailed presentation of the inviting educational institution with its local peculiarities, of music lessons to experience the typical methods of musical adult education in each case, of public conferences and concerts to present the project and the nyckelharpa, as well as meetings with the local mayors and small tourist-historical excursions.

The aim of the partnership was to compare topics, didactic methods and management of cultural adult education. In particular, musical and music pedagogical approaches, construction and playing techniques of the nyckelharpa, as well as peculiarities of general music education in the three countries were studied. The successful courses in folk music and nyckelharpa at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm aroused particular interest.

The nyckelharpa cooperation gave the impetus to a complementary partnership of the three municipalities of Forlimpopoli, Eiterfeld and Tierp, on whose territory the educational institutions are located. For their part, the municipalities supported the CADENCE project.

This booklet presents reports on our CADENCE Grundtvig program, the genesis of our partnership, the music taught during the visits and played in the concerts, and references to other articles and notes that will be published separately and on our website at

The book is written mostly in English.

If you order this printed edition, you will receive free of charge the enclosed CD with the recording of the Nyckelharpa concert at Fürsteneck Castle (broadcast by DEUTSCHLANDFUNK on October 09, 2010).

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Format: DIN A4
Number of pages: 80 pages with CD
Cover: Softcover

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Weight 0,2 kg


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