Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bowing a psalmodikon, Part 2: "Den blomstertid nu kommer"

Link here to Part 1: "Some videos on how to make, tune and bow a Swedish keyed psalmodikon, also an American psalmodikon by Music Makers of Stillwater, Minn." --

It's all in the bowin'. -- Don Pedi, mountain dulcimer player, Madison County, N.C.

Gisli Olsen plays "Den blomstertid nu kommer" on restored psalmodikon

More tips on bowing the psalmodikon --

A couple of days ago Gisli Olsen, a psalmodikon player and builder in Sweden, posted a video that showed him playing a psalmodikon duet in a comment on my Facebook feed. I was interested in the way he held the bow, and I asked him about it. He replied with a clip of "Den blomstertid nu kommer" (the time of flowers has come now) an old Swedish psalm that is now traditionally sung at the close of the school year and the beginning of summer. He said:

On this clip you can see how i hold the bow. I think most psalmodikon-player´s do so. Here i have a children´s bow, the lenght is 470 mm. I have recently done some repair´s on an old psalmodikon and on the clip I tested the sound. Maybe the first sound for a very long time for this old instrument. Here I am playing a well known old Swedish Hymn, lyrics by Israel Kolmodin 1694. Best regards to you all.

I'm reposting it here so I can watch it while I practice bowing my psalmodikon.

Link here for tutorial on American psalmodikon -- bowing from 1:10 to 3:35 -- also a demonstration by Gisli Olson of a keyed psalmodikon he made. Sort of like a nyckelharp, keyed diatonically.

The American psalmodikons are Norwegian style, with "transposition sticks" marking out diatonic scales on a chromatic fretboard. They're made by Musicmakers, a luthiers' in Stillwater, Minnesota, and one of the transposition sticks matches with a mountain dulcimer tuned to DAD. (More information on their website linked to the blogpost above.

Bowing the Icelandic langspil

Hildur Heimisdóttir, a cellist from Rekjavik, wrote a study Langspil and Icelandic Fiðla: The history, construction and function of the two Icelandic folk-instruments, for here candidate studies project in violincello at the Jyske Musikkonservatorium, Aarhus, Denmark. She had this to say about bowing:

The bow grip is different from what a cellist is used to, since the direction to stroke in is not the same. A cellist strokes the bow to the left and the right but while playing langspil, one has to stroke forward and back. Therefore, the langspil player has to hold the bow in a hand position that reminds of how people hold pencils. (17)

I'm not sure what she means by that, but I thought I'd better include it here.

Den blomstertid nu kommer

Abc notation (in C) here:

It was N:o 394 in Svenska Psalmboken of 1819, and I have it the 1892 Chicago edition, but it didn't get into the Augustana Synod's English-language hymnals. Singable English translation in Pierre Radulescu, "Den blomstertid nu kommer," UpdatesLive 18 Dec. 2010

This arrangment, by Swedish pop artists Lill Lindfors and Nils Landgren is a lot of fun:

"Den Blomstertid ..." i en underbar blues/soul version med Lill Lindfors & Nils Landgren

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