Here is a sample article about Nordic traditional music, this one
taken from the English notes to a CD by Norwegian Sven Nyhus. The
article is very brief, but does give the reader some idea of what
this music is like. It was written by Gordon E. Tracie and chosen
randomly by me from a stack of CDs:

"Sven Nyhus is without a doubt the best known exponent of eastern
Norwegian folk music today. Born in 1932 in the heart of 'flatfele'
country, Österdalen, the son and grandson of noted country fiddlers,
Sven got his first fiddle at the age of nine. By the time he was
nineteen he had mastered his father's entire repertoire - over 200
tunes! Eager to further his extend his knowledge, he sought out
other older fiddlers, not only learning their melodies by ear, but
committing them to paper as well, for he realized that he had a
cultural duty to preserve this valuable legacy for posterity. Sven
is considered to be one of the most skilled annotators of fiddle
music in all of Scandinavia.

With the introduction of tape recording in the 1950s it was possible
to greatly expand the scope of collected material. Subsequently Sven
became director of an outstanding fiddle archive, Norsk Folkemussik-
samling (Norwegian Folk Music Collection) in Oslo. A superb
technician on both Hardangerfiddle and ordinary violin, Sven is also
very active as well in duets which often include his brother Olov.
Sven also runs an old-time dance orchestra which performs
extensively throughout Scandinavia, and which had made numerous long-
playing recordings. In 1974 the Nyhus brothers were among a
delegation of thirty-three folk musicians and dancers from Norway,
Sweden and Finland who were brought to the United States by the
Smithsonian Institute to perform at the Expo '74 World's Fair in
Spokane, Washington.

This recording was made in Sweden, produced by Swedish fiddler Björn
Ståbi, a folk music colleague and close friend of Sven Nyhus.

Thanks to the lyrical genius of Edvard Grieg, the world at large is
considerably more familiar with the folk music idiom of Norway than
that of Sweden. A native of Bergen, on the West Coast of Norway,
Grieg was profoundly inspired by the music of Norway's national
instrument, the 8-string 'Hardingfele' (Hardangerfiddle), which is
indigenous to the western and southern districts of the land
(Specifically, Vestlandet: Hardanger, Setesdal, Telemark, Numedal,
Hallingdal, and Valdres). Much of this music reflects the distinc-
tive tonal effects brought forth by this unique folk instrument.

In eastern and northern Norway (Specifically, Österdalen, Gudbrands-
dalen, Tröndelag, Sunnmöre and Nordmöre and beyond) the folk music
tradition is carried on as it is in neighboring Sweden, by the
ordinary violin, called the 'flatfele' in Norwegian. Although there
are several rhythmic and melodic similarities in the music associat-
ed with the Hardanger-fiddle and regular fiddle, there is a signifi-
cant difference between the relatively free-form structure of west-
Norwegian tunes and the more rigid motif developments of east-Norweg-
ian tunes. Their respective individualities are further accentuated
by the fact that the Hardanger-fiddle and ordinary fiddle have very
little common access to melodies which are related.

To a great dgree the folk music of eastern Norway is more similar to
the folk music of Sweden that that of western Norway. For despite
the formidable Kjolen (The Keel) mountain range which so dramatical-
ly divides Norway and Sweden geographically, there has hardly been
any musical border between the two lands. Throughout the centuries a
thriving commerce has flourished along the old trade routes between
the mining town of Röros in Österdalen (The East Valley) of Norway
and the great copper center of Falun in Sweden's province of Dalarna
to the west. Not surprisingly, there was a corresponding cultural
exchange as well, and so the tradiational music and dance of the two
areas exhibit many similarities, having likely sprung from the same

The most deeply-rooted dance rhythm in eastern Norway is the 'pols',
which is the Norwegian counterpart of the Swedish 'polska' (not to
be confused with the polka, a Continental rhythm of much later
origin). In triple meter, some hundreds of years older than, and un-
related to the waltz, the 'polska' reigned supreme as the national
dance of Sweden for over two centuries. The best preserved example
of this old dance form, however, is that which survives in the Röros
district in Norway. Though the Rörospols, as it is called, has
retained the figures which are today found only in fragmented form
in various parts of Dalarna across the border, its rhythm has
acquired a distictively Norwegian character.

Of musical modes in east Norwegian folk fiddling, Sven Nyhus
says: 'Most Röros tunes are played in major keys these days. But
many things suggest that the older fiddlers operated in an area of
tonality where the steps of the scale simply did not have fixed
intervals. In other words, from today's point of view, the tunes
came out being somewhere major and minor.'