The Norwegian Hardanger fiddle was brought to the USA by Norwegian immigrants where it ( and the fiddle) played a role in the upper midwest’s music by it’s early settlers. Because there is much sharing of culture, music and genetics by Scandinavia and Ireland, I was wondering if any parts of Ireland had the Hardanger in it’s early culture before the 1900’s?

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Can’t imagine much direct contact in the normal line of events between people from Ireland and people from Norway at that time, unless fishing crews from the one country docked in the other or met in, say, a Scottish port. In the late c19 there was a huge herring industry based in the Shetland Islands, which Norwegian boats have always visited, and it’s likely the odd Irishman might have gone there to work, but I don’t think Irish boats got up there on a regular basis.

The Irish-Norse - settlers and descendants of Norse settlers in early Mediaeval Ireland - are supposed to have been driven from Ireland after Brian Boru won the Battle of Clontarf at the start of c11. Many settled in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales and other parts of N. England, their presence indicated by place-names. Norway held the Isle of Man, some of the Hebrides, and in particular the Orkney and Shetland Islands for appreciably longer, the latter passing into Scottish hands late in c15.

The Hardanger fiddle was invented in c17, long after Norway had ceased to rule any part of Britain or Ireland. Shetland had had a two-stringed instrument called a "gue" - whether bowed or unbowed I don’t know - which died out in due course after the Scottish takeover and the advent of the violin. Maybe there are elements in Shetland music that derive from this earlier Nordic instrument and its sound / tunes, or even from the Hardanger fiddle, but Shetland tunes seem much more likely to have reached Ireland, if they did at all, filtered through Scottish players / tunebooks / culture, than by Irish musicians going to Shetland, let alone Scandinavia.

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Seems a pity they didn’t, because the instruments often are so beautiful, with highly decorated fingerboards and purfling.
We’re used to seeing the vomited Book of Kells on the dancers’dresses, and occasionally on harps, and record sleeves, but most instruments in ITM look very plain.

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True Pete.

Man Hardangers are SO COOL!!!

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And expensive.

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Pretty hard to feel any connection between ITM and music for hardingfele

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I also love the hardingfele—-one fiddle sounds like two, and two sound like a whole string section! They might not have had much influence on Irish music, but you can really hear the influence on Shetland fiddling—-fiddlers there often play two strings at a time, and have for a long time. Jennifer Wrigley (Orkney) also plays a Hardanger on some pieces.

I’m definitely not accustomed to Norwegian dance rhythms, though. Can’t figure out what kind of time signature they use!

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I agree with these replies… I haven’t found any evidence that the hardanger fiddle was ever used in Ireland… Now the age of the instrument I will disagree… this link shows that the fiddle in NorwAY MAY BE MUCH OLDER THAN ONCE THOUGHT… http://www.hfaa.org/reference/archive_files/how_norwegian.html

The Hardanger may never have caught on in Ireland but some of the Norwegian tunes did…

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Caoimhín O Raghallaigh plays the hardanger fiddle these days.

Re: Hardanger Caomhin O Raighailigh & Mick O Brien

The Hardanger and the Uileann pipes sound fantastic together.

Please tell me what are the names of the tunes they are playing-

I can’t quite read the names on the mini-screen.

This is really music for the soul!!

James Doyle

Re: Hardanger & Ullean

Many thanks, Jeff

I’ve downloaded the music!

This is truly music for the soul.

Now to get practising!!

Go raibh maith agat aris!

James .