"Klangen før fela 2018": An inspiring weekend

 Langeleik (NF.1904-091) dated 1709 in the collection of Norsk Folkemuseum Photo by H. M. Harriss

Langeleik (NF.1904-091) dated 1709 in the collection of Norsk Folkemuseum
Photo by H. M. Harriss

I’ve been surrounded by music all my life, and was an active musician right up through college.  Primarily classical, but also forays into band and even some Hardanger fiddle/Norwegian folk music at the summer gatherings of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America.

Klangen før fela 2018

Fast forward a few decades, and I’ve finally dipped my toe back into the folk music waters.  I’ve now attended the “Klangen før fela” gathering (see this post), and it was an absolute blast!  We were three participants in the langeleik beginners group, and somehow we managed to get through two songs in the course of the weekend.  I’ll admit I had reservations about taking on an instrument needing eight strings tuned, but prior experience came in handy.  The primary challenge will now be deciding how to budget for an instrument.

Two excellent concerts presented both traditional pieces, as well as skilled musicians exploring the range of instruments in a more improvisational format.  One shared lecture presented how traditional pieces could ‘translate’ into the formats of the different instruments.
This was the third gathering of “Klangen før fela”, and I’m already looking forward to the next one in two years.

Moving forward

Another participant suggested the article “Langeleiken i Noreg—spelet og tradisjonen” (in Norwegian) to me when she heard of my interest in older history.  It gives some clues for further study on langeleik in the 16th C.  Perhaps I can view the oldest known surviving langeleik in Norway, an instrument dated 1524, at the Valdres Folkemuseum this coming summer?

At any rate, I have decided I need to get music back in my life, even if I must wait for a langeleik.  One seljefløyte (willow flute) and several albums were purchased this weekend, and another two small ‘recorders’(fløyter) are on order from Naturinstrumenter, and hopefully arrive in a few weeks!


  • Aastad, Knut.  Langeleiken i Noreg—spelet og tradisjonen on the Immateriellkulturarv website of the Kulturrådet (Arts Council of Norway).  Last updated June 15, 2017. Accessed February 17, 2018.  Available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0 license.  https://www.immateriellkulturarv.no/bidrag/langeleiken-i-noreg-spelet-og-tradisjonen/
  • Hardanger Fiddle Association of America (http://www.hfaa.org/)
  • Naturinstrumenter Magnar Storbækken (http://www.naturinstrumenter.no/)
  • Norsk Langeleikforum (http://www.langeleikforum.no/)
  • Norsk Lur– og bukkehornlag (http://www.lurogbukkehorn.org/)
  • Valdres folkemuseum (http://valdresmusea.no/vfm.asp?nid=463&lid=1)


  • Langeleik (dated 1709) from the collection of Norsk Folkemuseum, Norway.  Photo by Harriss, Haakon Michael. Shared under the Creative Commons BY-SA license. https://digitaltmuseum.no/011023128864/langeleik