Sunday, August 31, 2014

Misc. psalmodikon notes -- Psalmodikon in Småland; Statens Musikverket bibliography on Siffernotskrifter; more by Kiell Tofters on L.P. Esbjörn; and website for fiddle duo lydia and Andrea

Lofgren, Lyle and Elizabeth. A Brief Extended History of the Logfren/Johnson/Swenson Families Who Settled Near Harris, Minnesota (2003)

Item in Lofgren family genealogy at

Lena Stina Pettersdotter (Jan. 21, 1835 - Jan. 21 1912)= Carl Johannesson (Jan. 27, 1829 - Nov. 6, 1904)

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Julie Karlsson wrote in 1955:

My mother owned a psalmodikon [a one-string, bowed instrument with frets like a mountain dulcimer. It was considered acceptable for accompanying psalms, whereas the violin, because it could be used for dancing, was not permissible -- Lyle], with numbers and notes. She played and sang psalms and songs to it. When someone was ill in the neighborhood and she expected them to have joy of it, she brought the psalmodikon and went there to play and sing for them. She was alert as long as she lived. Her last illness lasted 12 days. She fell and broke her femur, but she was clear in her mind into her last moment. Her last words were: ”Söte Frälsare, Herre Jesus” [Sweet savior, Jesus -- Lyle]. My parent worshipped the words of the Lord and the mass. If we stayed home from church, we had to read the text of that Sunday. (Translated by Göran Lundkvist).

In introduction to the genealogy, __________ says:

The only old ancestors I know about were stuck for at least 5 generations in Elghult, a parish about 6 American miles from Målerås. The name means "moose thicket" (location 3 in Småland). There are no elk in Sweden, although there are caribou, called reindeer, in the far north. They do have moose, though, and elg is the Swedish word for moose. Our word "moose" is an Ojibwe Indian word (plural is moose-ug), so if Swedes had been a little quicker in settling the New World, moose would be called elk, which would be really confusing. Europeans were not notably observant. The American Robin doesn't look much like the European Robin, and "deer" comes from German Tier, meaning "animal." Where was I? Oh, yes. Elghult consisted of several large unprosperous farms, but, as of 1900, it also had eight glass factories. There was no rail service, so I don't know what they did with the glass. Maybe they piled it up and waited for customers to come.

Statens musikverk (Music Development and Heritage Sweden), has a 3-page PDF file listing material on the psalmodikon at

Förteckning av Inger Enquist
I arkivet finns sammanlagt åtta arkivkartonger tryckta siffernotskrifter. Innehållet i varje sådan volym har förtecknats för sig. Därutöver finns ett fåtal handskrivna siffernotskrifter. …

[lists 8 "volumes," some comprising several books, including Oscar Ahnfelt's Melodierna i sifferskrift till Andeliga sånger, Dillner, etc.

Statens musikverk, Torsgatan 21, Stockholm: "Its mission is to promote a wide-ranging musical offering throughout the country, distinguished by excellence and artistic regeneration, and to preserve and bring to life theatre, dance and music heritage." Funds an arts council, etc. Maintains Musik- och teaterbiblioteket:

Depth, knowledge and happy music making – opening the door to the worlds of theatre, music and dance.

This is one of the oldest and largest specialist libraries of its kind in Europe, accessible to all. The evolution of performing arts and the history of music are reflected in this extensive collection of books. Sheet music for beginners and professionals, for all settings and genres, is also widely available. There is drama – manuscripts and printed editions – in several different languages.

The rich collection of older publications, manuscripts and archives includes both theatre and musical material, amongst others the original manuscripts of several important Swedish composers and more than half a million photographs from the world of theatre.


44-page PDF file by Kiell Tofters on the bygdeband website

Abstract [?]

Lars Paul Esbjörn var en väckelse- och läsarpräst, som verkade både i Sverige och Amerika. I Östervåla tjänade han under både 1830-talet och 1860-talet. Under 1840-talet verkade Esbjörn i Hille utanför Gävle. Under 1850-talet var han i Amerika och startade församlingar, skolor och det svensk-lutherska samfundet Augustanasynoden. Esbjörn var en del av ett sammanhang, vi kallar det för kontext. För att förstå Esbjörns liv och verksamhet både i Sverige och Amerika, beskriver jag i denna uppsats hur väckelsen under 1830-, 1840- och 1850-talen växte fram och rörde sig i östra Svealand – Uppland, Stockholm, Västmanland – och södra Norrland – Gästrikland och Hälsingland. Esbjörn verkade under sin Sverigetid i Uppland och Gästrikland, men också i Hälsingland och Stockholm.

In this case, "folk revival" doesn't mean music. It's more like the revival, or "awakening," in the Great Awakening(s) in America.

lydia and Andrea, Scandinavian fiddle duo at

Blurb: About lydia & Andrea. Andrea and lydia [who spells her name with lower-case letters] have been playing Swedish-style fiddle together for the past decade, and have recently returned from an intense 2012–13 academic year studying in the center of the nyckelharpa universe, at the Eric Sahlström Institute. ... Much of their shared repertoire comes from central regions of Sweden, with a smattering of Norwegian and Danish and beyond, and their original compositions.

Interesting note on nykelharpa: "The nyckelharpa is the national instrument of Sweden, first known from a painting on a church wall dated to about 1350. It has 16 strings: 3 melody strings and 1 drone string that are played with a bow, and 12 sympathetic (resonance) strings, altogether encompassing a 3-octave range. On lydia's nyckelharpa there are 37 wooden keys (nyckel means "key"), each of which plays a single note on a single string. …" Links to American Nyckelharpa Association.

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