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An Instrument Ringing Throughout the Centuries

Learn about the Nyckelharpa!

Sometimes called the “Swedish fiddle,” the nyckelharpa has existed in one form or another for over 600 years. The origins of this uncommon instrument can be found in Norse mythology, as well as accounts of secular life throughout Scandinavia and Europe. There have been multiple versions of this stringed instrument, and it has evolved over the centuries. One might say it looks like an instrumental marriage between a violin and a wooden keyboard.

Join musician, composer, and UMS artist facilitator Grant Flick as we take a musical journey through time and learn about this ancient fiddle. To learn more about the history and how to play the nyckelharpa, explore the accompanying slides and worksheets.

Recommended Ages

Grades 5-10 (ages 10-15)

Accompanying Presentation

View on Google Slides or download as a PDF

PDF Worksheets

Instrument Combinations
Parts of a Nyckelharpa
The Story in the Song
Word Search


About the Artist

Grant FlickGrant Flick is a performer, recording artist, composer, and educator currently based in Ann Arbor, MI. He plays many instruments including violin, nyckelharpa, mandolin, tenor guitar, tenor banjo, and viola. Primarily, his interests are new acoustic music, jazz manouche, jazz/swing, bluegrass, and American old-time. His current original music projects, Westbound Situation, Warren & Flick, and Hannah O’Brien and Grant Flick, explore the fusion of chamber music with the influences listed above. In these groups, he writes pieces influenced from many styles that feature the collective spontaneity and imagination of the fellow improvisatory musicians with whom he collaborates. Examples of his writing can be heard on “Accord” (Westbound Situation), “Tomorrow Worries About Itself” (Grant Flick), “Windward” (Hannah O’Brien and Grant Flick), and “Waxwing” (Warren & Flick).

Grant has received numerous music awards including the 2013 Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin. Grant has been selected as a two-time participant (2015 and 2016) of the Acoustic Music Seminar held at the Savannah Music Festival in Savannah, Georgia. He has taught workshops at numerous camps throughout America including Augusta Bluegrass Week, Charm City Django Fest, the Tenor Guitar Gathering, and River of the West Mandolin Camp. Grant also tours and performs regularly and has played at many music festivals including Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, ROMP Fest, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the Savannah Music Festival. Frank Vignola, Mike Marshall, Julian Lage, and Darol Anger are just some of the notable musicians with whom Grant has appeared on stage. Grant recently completed a Master’s degree at University of Michigan in Improvisation.