Langeleik

 

 

Langeleik is a dulcimer or zither type of instrument that has roots in the Middle Ages. It uses a long, thin,rectangular resonance box, with or without a bottom, and a variable number of strings that are strung from one end to screw attachements at the other. The string nearest the player passes over a series of frets where the melody is formed. The langeleik is first mentioned in documents from 1622 that refer to a 1619 incident. There, the instrument is called langspill (lit. long play)- a concept that was common at that time. The oldest langeleik known in Norway was found at Vardalsåsen near Gjøvik, in the Oppland district, only a few years ago. The year 1524 is inscribed on it.
We know that the langeleik was played in all of Norway through the centuries, even all the way north in Finnmark where the instruments is mentioned in connection with witch hunts around 1660. However, it is only in Valdres that we find an unbroken slåttemusikk tradition on this instrument. In recent years, the langeleik has become widely used several places in the country.


 
back to musical instruments