The Bishop Hill Heritage Association will sponsor a workshop Saturday, Aug. 2 (re-scheduled from May 10), on how Swedish immigrants learned to play hymns on the psalmodikon. The workshop will be at 2 p.m. in the Dairy Building, 410 N. Erickson St., Bishop Hill. It is free and open to the public.
Pete Ellertsen, a retired teacher and amateur musician of Springfield, will demonstrate how Swedish-American pastors of the 1840s and ’50s used the psalmodikon (pronounced “sal-MOW-di-kon”) to teach harmony singing from the Svenska Psalmbok of 1819 in rural congregations where everyone might not read music. The instruments, which looked like a modern dulcimer, were inexpensive and easy to play. Ellertsen, who plays the mountain dulcimer, has a replica of the psalmodikon in Bishop Hill’s Steeple Building museum.
Workshop participants will learn how to read psalmodikon tablature, known as “siffor-noter” (number notes) and convert it to sheet music; and how to sing simple melodies and play them on the mountain dulcimer or another musical instrument. All skill levels and all instruments are welcome. This workshop is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council.
Links to tab and sheet music …
- "Children of the Heavenly Father" (my article w/ tab) http://dulcimersessions.com/?p=297
- Wikipedia page on "Gubben Noak" http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gubben_Noak
- Project Runeberg text of Bellman's "Gubben Noak" http://runeberg.org/fredsang/135.html
- "Bjørnen Sover" dulcimer tab http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/tab/BjrnenSover.pdf
- Bishop Hill Calendar of Events (scroll to Aug. 2) http://bishophillheritage.org/news-events/calendar/
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