Swedish folk music is an extremely popular genre of music centered mainly on early folkloric collection dance work which started in the late 19th century in Sweden. The most prominent instrument of Swedish folk music, in common with other European traditions, is the fiddle. However, other common instruments are the lute, mandore, jute, fula, recorder, kronor, recorder, and the sammelie. These instruments are all used in traditional folk festivals and other traditional gatherings.
Another common musical instrument in Swedish folk tradition is the accordion. Accordions come in many varieties such as the flamenco, sextet, upright, folk, lute, and other forms. Many people think that the accordion was named from the resemblance that the instrument has to the bird called “already” which is derived from Latin for “already settled”. Another interesting similarity between the Swedish accordion and the ancient lute is that both are played by plucking.
Early Swedish Folk Music The very first known record of the sounds of the first Swedish folk musicians can be found in the works of Ole Andreas Nilsson (Oliars) in 1891. Nilsson’s musical style can be characterized as “folk music with a dramatic effect”. His compositions are characterized by their use of folk instruments. For instance, in his “Nissa”, the first song written in this genre, and which can be found in the first Swedish volume “Sweynen” (published in 1892), Nilsson plays the lute very lightly while his accompaniments consist mainly of strings, brass, woodwind, and melodious strains. The same style is adopted in the later works by Nilsson, which are characterized by more distinct instruments.
The First World War Nilsson’s life was full of tragedy and he served during the World War I as an instrument maker. After the war he settled in Sweden and worked until he died in 1970 at the age of 33. He had many influential friends in his country and also travelled extensively to give concert in other countries. During these trips he made quite a number of music and these include songs which have become major hits in their own right including “Folk Drama”, “Carol of the Rapids”, “Gangs of Love” and “The Chase of Lovers”. All of which have been recorded on the Swedish album “Viking Guitar” which is considered to be his finest work.
The Development of Swedish Folk Music After the end of the World War II, a number of avant-garde composers from all over western Europe came to Sweden to help make the country known as a leader in contemporary classical music. Many of these composers included Uffe Ohs, whom they considered to be the most skilled of all Gothic society. Other names included Jan Munch and Pontus Gardeth.
In the late nineteen eighties and early nineteen nineties the Popular Music of Sweden changed when the country experienced a period of profound social and political change. This change was marked by the introduction of a new popular music, which combined elements of the old, traditional folk tradition with the popular styles of the time. This movement did not last long. In fact it fizzled out as quickly as it arrived. However, it left behind a number of important and enduring traditions in Swedish folk culture, such as the use of folk instruments and traditional motifs. Today these songs are still well loved by many people.