Nyckelharpa Etudes

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Collection of etudes for daily use by Marco Ambrosini


The nyckelharpa is a stringed instrument in which the strings are bowed. The pitch is changed with the keyboard, the “keys”. Resonant strings contribute to the special sound. Depending on the design, the instrument has one or more rows of keys.

The nyckelharpa has been known since about 1350, and it was used until the 17th century. played in various European countries. It is also described as a key fiddle by Praetorius and Agricola. From the 17th century it was used exclusively in Swedish folklore.

Anyone learning a classical musical instrument is very familiar with etudes, as they are the appropriate way to improve playing technique, flow and speed.

To master the musical potential of the nyckelharpa, a collection of exercises by internationally renowned virtuoso Marco Ambrosini is now available to musicians.

The etudes are notated for both 3- and 4-row “Swedish” tuned instruments (sixth-quart-quint), as well as for “continental” tuned Nyckelharpas (fifth-quint-quint), which is preferred especially for instruments of Central European manufacture.

With this book, the author has provided profound working material for the growing scene of nyckelharpa players. With his work in the CADENCE project and with this textbook, he has made a fundamental contribution to ensuring that the nyckelharpa receives the attention and dissemination it deserves. A comparable etude book will probably never exist for other traditional instruments.

All texts and explanations in this book in Italian, German and English!

Marco Ambrosini

As a lecturer for early music and nyckelharpa Marco Ambrosini is active at the Akademie Burg Fürsteneck (D), at the Scuola di Musica Popolare di Forlimpopoli (I), the two birthplaces of the European Nyckelharpa Training, and at the Conservatoire Intercommunal de Musique des deux vallées Milly la Foret (F).

Vita: Born in 1964 in Forlì, Italy. Studies of violin (with A. Casagrande) and composition (with M. Perrucci) at the Music Institute “G.B.Pergolesi” in Ancona and at the Conservatory “G.Rossini” in Pesaro, then collaboration with the Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana and various ensembles of early, baroque and contemporary music in Italy. 1982 Foundation in Innsbruck (with Peter Rabanser) of the international ensemble Oni Wytars. Since 1990 soloist with the Clemencic Consort in Vienna, since 1991 artistic director (with Katharina Dustmann) of Studio Katharco – sound:creations. Concerts as soloist for the Royal Swedish Concert Agency, the “Alla Scala” Theatre (Milan), the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Philharmonie in Cologne, Berlin and Moscow and for the Camerata Nordica, among others. Jazz concerts and recordings in collaboration with Carlo Rizzo, Jean-Louis Matinier, Valentin Clastrier and Michael Riessler. 1993 “new-comer” & composer at the New Jazz Meeting of SWF. Co-author (with Michael Posch) of the textbook “Introduction to Medieval Music”. Worldwide concert activity, more than 100 CD productions, as well as radio and television recordings as composer, soloist or as a member of Ensemble Oni Wytars (Germany), Els Trobadors (Spain), Ensemble Unicorn, Ensemble Accentus, Clemencic Consort, Armonico Tributo Austria (Austria), Ensemble Kapsberger (Rolf Lislevand-Norway), Camerata Nordica (Sweden), Jean-Louis Matinier, Michael Riessler and others. ECM musician (as soloist), SONY/DeutscheHarmoniaMundi with the ensemble Oni Wytars. Lecturer for Nyckelharpa and Early Music at the Academy Burg Fürsteneck (DE), at the Scuola di Musica Popolare di Forlimpopoli (IT) and didactic coordinator of the EU-project CADENCE.

As composer (selection): Music for the music theater production “Kaiserkrönung”, commissioned by the Frankfurt Fair, for the 1200-year anniversary of the city of Frankfurt. 1995 the music theater production “La Divina Commedia”. 1996 at Swedish Radio as performer and composer for the Nordic Jazz Meeting.

In collaboration with Katharina Dustmann: 1997 for the Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Italian Cultural Institute: “The Return of Marco Polo”. 1999 World premiere of “Between Heaven and Hell” at the Maschinenhalle Zweckel. 2000 premiere of “misch:lagen” 2001 of “ZechenZirkus”. 2002 of “illumina” (for EUROGA 2002+) and “QuasiBolero” (for the designation of Zeche Zollverein as a cultural heritage site by UNESCO). 2003 “ILLUMINA 2”, “ExtraSchicht” & “Ensemblia”. 2004 “Magic Illumina” and “Centro”. 2006 “Water Quintet”. 2007 “The Penny Snail Jonathan”. 2011 Works for the EU project “CADENCE”. 2011 “The Praise of Folly – La Follia & Other Crazy Grounds” (sony music).

Order no:

ISBN: 978-3-943060-04-1
Format: DIN A4
Number of pages: 112 pages
Cover: Wire-O spiral binding


Nyckelharpa Exercises for Daily Practice – by Marco Ambrosini.

Ambrosini is an accomplished musician and teacher, lecturing on the nyckelharpa at the Academy Burg Fürsteneck and giving master classes at the Musikhochschule Trossingen, both in Germany, and the Scuola di Musica Popolare di Forlimpopoli in Italy. He is the didactic director of the European Nyckelharpa Training ( For more information about Ambrosini, check out his website:

In this book, Ambrosini addresses the increasing demand for etudes for players to practice and improve their technique with the nyckelharpa, collecting 21 exercises, each arranged for instruments in multiple tunings, to ensure that all players can benefit from the work regardless of whether their instrument has 3 or 4 rows of keys, or uses the traditional Swedish (CGCA) or ‘continental’ (CGDA) tuning.

The book also includes an introduction discussing the different tuning styles and their practical differences, what those differences mean to students and teachers of the instrument, and advice for how best to approach the exercises which are the core component of the book.

The book is written in Italian, German, and English.

Additional information

Weight 0,51 kg


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