I play the fiddle. There will be more here in due course …

… and there now (April 2018) is. This was a holding page whilst I was still deciding how to rationalise my blogging – and the real website has won out over Facebook 🙂

I first heard the nyckelharpa a long time ago (maybe 30 years?) in the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh. Two Swedish nyckelharpa players were supporting Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain in a concert.

Another fiddler I know has confirmed that he was also at the concert, so I know I’m not imagining things!

The sound of the nyckelharpa had me completely hooked.

Many years later I started to hear the instrument again ….

(this was the holding article in this category)

After a lot of work planing the piece selected for the top to thickness (about 3.5 to 4mm), it was ready for steaming. Unfortunately the piano soundboard was made from lots of butt jointed pieces, and I had to have a flat panel made from three of these, since there are lots of bits attached to a piano soundboard which restrict the areas clear from holes. I knew that the joins would be glued with hide glue – so were guaranteed to come apart during the steaming process! However, I was pretty convinced that I would be able to re-glue them once the top was shaped.

Here’s everything put together, and slowly cooking.

steaming Continue reading

Originally I thought I would make the top from glued pieces, and cut it out to shape with chisels and gouges. However, once I started to use wood from the old piano, I thought it would be good to try to make the top from a flat piece, steamed into the curve, as is usually done with modern nyckelharpa construction. OK, the kontrabas has a very deep curve, but other people do this so I thought it to be worth a try. It needs a strong forming mould to hold the steamed pieces in the correct shape though, and so that has to be made first.

Here’s the mould assembled. There are guide pieces at the end to hold it together in the right orientation.

bending frame Continue reading

Fantastic weekend at Halsway! I think this was at the Friday pre dinner session. Thanks Linda 🙂

nyckelharpa player
Photo by Linda Hall

What a wonderful weekend! My long road journey was made pleasant by listening to three wonderful CDs from our tutors: Pengobilo by Cassard (Johannes), Storis Limpan Band (Magnus) and Paper of Pins (Vicki and Jonny). Lots of extra lovely tunes on these to think about playing once I’ve consolidated what we’ve done over the weekend.