Nyckelharpa – Josefins Dopvals (Josefine´s Baptismal Waltz)
A nyckelharpa (literally “key harp”, plural nyckelharpor or sometimes keyed fiddle) is a traditional Swedish musical instrument. It is a string instrument or chordophone. Its keys are attached to tangents which, when a key is depressed, serve as frets to change the pitch of the string.
The nyckelharpa is similar in appearance to a fiddle or the bowed Byzantine lira. Structurally, it is more closely related to the hurdy gurdy, both employing key-actuated tangents to change the pitch.
A depiction of two instruments, possibly but not confirmed nyckelharpas, can be found on a relief dating from c1350 in one of the gates to Källunge church on Gotland.Early church paintings are found in Siena, Italy, 1408 and in different churches in Denmark and Sweden, i.e. Tolfta church, Sweden, c 1460-1525. Other very early pictures are to be found in Hildesheim, Germany, from c1590.Also during the 16th and 17th centuries, the ’Schlüsselfidel’, or “nyckelharpa”, was known in Germany: the instrument is mentioned in “Theatrum Instrumentorum”, a famous work written in 1620 by the German organist Michael Praetorius (1571–1621). The Swedish province of Uppland has been a stronghold for nyckelharpa music since the late 16th century, including the 1970s revival which drew on musicians like Byss-Calle (1783–1847) from Älvkarleby.