Builders’ seminar and spelträff

This weekend ESI hosted the semiannual gathering of nyckelharpa builders — beginning with a Friday evening gathering, at which a number of us performed a short set of tunes in prep for the upcoming Xmas concert, and then a full day of Saturday programming, all organized by Esbjörn Hogmark. We were invited to join them for the presentations and discussion. There were maybe a couple dozen builders present altogether, and each brought his (they were all men) latest instrument(s), completed or in progress, to share. A couple of ESI students who are instrument-shopping used the opportunity to play some of the new harpas.

I especially enjoyed Per-Ulf Allmo’s latest slides of historical representations (mostly church paintings) of nyckelharpa predecessors. (If you haven’t seen his recently published e-book on History of the Nyckelharpa (PDF), complete with lots of cool photos and even a map, check it out!)

However, I could have done without the long meandering discussion, late in the afternoon, in which a bunch of non-web-tech harpa builders look at each other’s web sites to no apparent purpose. (A gallery of dozens of pictures in no order, really? Featuring your cat, really?)

After he wrapped up the afternoon proceedings, Esbjörn carved out some time to fix a couple of my most problematic loose tangents, so I’d be able to play the Xmas concert with a well-behaved instrument. Yaay! The fix involves pulling out the offending tangent, cutting a notch in its base, whittling and inserting in a small wedge to make the base a little wider, and gluing the wedge into the peg. The operation all looks quick and easy when performed by a master, but I am pretty sure it would take me longer than 20 minutes to do them myself.

In the evening, I took the train to Uppsala and hitched a ride with Sture Hogmark to another spelträff at Alice’s house in Grillby. It was a very pleasant evening featuring glogg (with nuts and raisins, of course), yummy dinner, and many tunes.

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