Langeleik, also langleik (Norwegian, " long play " ), is an elongated fingerboard zither, which is in Norwegian folk music, especially in the regions Valdres and Hallingdal traditionally played by women. With a melody and drone strings usually seven of langeleik heard as the historical Scheitholt to Bordunzithern.


Bordunzithern have evolved from single-stringed zither rod (music bars ), the simplest addition to the music sheets form of a stringed instrument. The European zithers go back to the built in Ancient Greece for educational purposes monochord. It consisted of a rectangular wooden box with a sliding bridge, over the passed a string. Claudius Ptolemy handed in his music theory works harmonics from the 2nd century AD, a zither with 15 strings of equal length, which was used as a teaching tool and in an ensemble. In the same function and to determine the length of organ pipes such a monochord with a zwischer and eight strings is mentioned in several sources of the 10th and 11th centuries. After a manuscript, which is located in Cambridge, St John 's College, and after BECOMING Psalter, which is preserved in Berlin, both from the 12th century, translated minstrels the monochord one along with other musical instruments. Presumably they had the moving webs replaced by frets, thus creating the first fingerboard zithers. The development proceeded straight to the Bordunzithern that were equipped with a constant body in addition to the playability of a game series drone strings. Close to it is the trumscheit in the 12th century, a one-stringed bowed instrument without fingerboard, where the string was being sounded by contact with the thumb in the harmonic series. By resorting to the basic shape of a monochord, the Swedish preacher Johann Dillner invented in 1829, the one-string, equipped with frets Psalmodikon, which was played with a bow. It was widely used in Scandinavia and the Baltic States as an aid in the classroom.

The name Scheitholt is the first time in Michael Praetorius Syntagma Musicum in his work. II De Organographica 1619 is a zither with two melody and drone strings two. The first log Holte had no bottom, two plucked with the thumb playing strings and drone strings to ten. To type a long rectangular box, one in France, the épinette des Vosges. Developments with an inherited from the mandolin, bulged on one side of the body are the Southern German Scherr zither and widespread in northern Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark Bumblebee Humle in Denmark is called. In Sweden, this instrument is called langspil långspel or långharpa in Iceland. A particular variant in Finland is the Finnish kantele from the name of the box zither derived jouhi kantele (also jouhikko ), which is played with a bow and typological one of the string lyres. The Estonian kannel with five to twelve strings being plucked, as well as the similarly shaped Lithuanian kankles and the larger triangular Kokles in Latvia. The Dutch noordse balk has an elegantly curved, symmetrical body, which is divided in the middle of a fingerboard, run over the six playing strings.

In Vardal at Gjøvik the oldest langeleik was founded in 1980 with the year 1524 found. This find is older than the previously known written sources to the Bordunzithern. The oldest known picture shortly after 1560 comes from the Rynkeby Church in southern Denmark. The first mention of a roll-call langeleik is the description of a guest at a wedding, which took place in 1619 in the village Hemne, 90 kilometers west of Trondheim. The guest was because he was drunk, no longer remember the song he had sung, but still knew that a girl had accompanied him on the langeleik. It says so in a 1622 report by the Bishop of Trondheim.

End of the 17th century, the langeleik was a popular accompaniment for dances and songs in Hjartdal in the southern Norwegian county of Telemark. The same is stated in the 18th century for the nearby town of Tinn. Probably the langeleik was played in many parts of the country. Beginning of the 20th century seemed to be the instrument no longer appropriate and disappeared around 1930 from broadcasting programs. The tradition was then limited preserved in the southern Norway Valdres and Hallingdal regions. Since the 1970er/1980er years there has been a certain revival, Langeleiks are to buy in music stores and are taught in some schools.

Design and style of play

The body is oblong and flat, with many instruments are tapered at one end and some are slightly bulged on one or both sides. The strings pass over a flat ceiling to a built- in cabinet or remote and bent down pegbox. The oldest examples from the 17th century are simple, made ​​of planks attached rectangular boxes without a bottom. The number of strings varies in older Langeleiks between four and 14, now a melody string and seven drone strings made ​​of steel are common. Up to three drone strings can be shorter in some instruments. The free length of the melody string with a modern copy was 72 centimeters.

The distance between the frets on earlier instruments showed unusual musical intervals that lay between a tempered semitone and whole tone. A semitone is not found. The Pythagorean fifth and octave according to form the framework of the tone scale. The intervals at various ancient instruments exhibit considerable differences. Today, a diatonic scale for the melody string is common that begins at the root c1 The drone strings are tuned in fifths and octaves or as a major triad.

In the 1920s there was some controversy among musicians and composers on the musical scales used in the Norwegian folk music. Erik Eggen published in 1923 a study Langeleiks old and came to the conclusion that folk music is based in part on a natural scale, especially in the eighth to twelfth overtone, while Eivind Groven even more pronounced in highlighting the importance of the natural harmonic series. Another theory led the unequal pitches back to the unconscious simultaneous use of different scales. As the basis of the investigations were still 100 corresponding functional Langeleiks serve that belong to the total number of 200 specimens that were preserved from the period between the mid-17th century and the 19th century. Another study from 1974 provided the unifying result that differ in many Langeleiks the intervals of the lower and the upper octave and hardly a clear interval usually can find a whole except fifth and octave.

The langeleik lies transversely in front of the seated players on a table. The melody string and some or all of the drone strings are plucked with a plectrum long in his right hand; Index finger, middle finger and ring finger of the left hand shorten the melody string. The thumb is in principle not, the little finger with some musicians used. This way of playing is applied to the accompaniment of folk dances at a constant pace, with other tunes, such as the klokkeslåtter ( Klokke - Latt, " bell ", " bells melodies " ) in tempo rubato can occasionally single chord strings to the tune of education are plucked. Mentioned in a swinging arc in an up and down motion plectrum produces the rhythm. The downward movement is pressing it more firmly against the strings so that the melody string sounds louder than the other strings, so that the melody falls on the basic beat. In some upward movements the pick sweeps only the melody and the first two or four chord strings. Fall between the ground strokes generated with the plectrum during the downward movement rhythmic subdivisions by pressing on the string fingers of the left hand. During the middle or ring finger depresses the string, the index finger can pluck the string for an additional intermediate tone. Similarly, results when only one finger is resting on the string and when you lift the string pushes sideways. A second effect arises when a finger of the left hand the melody string strikes directly onto a collar and adds so higher than the already depressed ( with the middle finger ) and battered with a pick tone. Both game left hand techniques result in conjunction with the basic strokes of the plectrum maximum four -division rhythmic patterns.


In the Norwegian folk music are still several traditional stringed instruments in use. The old instruments to which long wooden trumpets were ( lur ) are, however, disappeared from the rural areas. The langeleik traditionally falls within the sphere of women. In rural areas, the women held in the summer with the cattle on the high pastures ( Soeter ). Here is a special song genre was developed in connection with the everyday tasks. Certain smørbon called songs describe the production of butter, it was melodic configured calls for goats ( geitlokkar ), cows ( kulokkar ) or to an understanding of the Shepherds ( laling, huving ) over long distances. In the early evening the women were busy on the Soeter with needlework or contributed instrumentals ( lydarslåttar ) with Langeleiks ago. Later in the evening they played at social dances. Concert and dance accompaniment remained the two applications of the langeleik.

Written sources from the 17th century tell of a regular Sunday evening concerts taking place in which women played langeleik. Nevertheless, there were some men who were known as professional langeleik player. Ragnhild Viken ( about 1810-1985 ) was a professional langeleik - player, which occurred at markets and at celebrations. She brought the instrument with her son John Viken (1844-1936), who is also a well-known musician. In just such a reputation was Berit Pynten ( 1809/1812-1899/1900 ), who lived in a farmstead in Valdres. In its base lodge she received in the 1880s visit by Edvard Grieg, who was their audition and dance songs listed on paper. Grieg and other Norwegian composers studied in the 19th century folk music, which they valued as an element of national culture. From Berit Pynten is narrated that they had secured during the game a little dancing doll with a string on her right hand. In the course of the 17th century, various forms of the violin came on, which took over the two applications of the langeleik and gradually pushed him into his core area. The European string instrument spread among the names flatvele ( " flat violin " ) and venleg vele ( " ordinary violin " ), primarily in the north and east of the country, while the Hardanger fiddle ( Hardingfele ) with an additional four or five sympathetic strings under the fingerboard in an almost unchanged form is played in the south and west since about 1700.

Played on the langeleik tracks are divided into dance songs and tunes to listen. At the dance songs are named after its home region of Hallingdal, lively and fast played dance style halling, the ganger and in Valdres, Hallingdal and Telemark of standing in a strict asymmetric ¾ time Springar. Several composers took over rhythm and melodic forms of Springar, including Edvard Grieg in his folk music adaptation Jon Vestafes Springdans Opus 72 / second In the popularization of folk music Grieg were the violinist Ole Bull (1810-1880) and was preceded by the composer Ludvig Mathias Lindeman ( 1812-1887 ). Lindemans extensive collection of Norwegian folk songs Ældre og norske nyere Fjeldmelodier ( " Older and newer Norwegian Mountain Melodies" ) was published in twelve volumes 1853-1863, a sequel came out in 1867. His piano arrangement of the dance piece Springlått contains, according to the Norwegian pianist Einar Steen- Nøkleberg to be played by the left hand melodies typical of langeleik.

Concert music belong to the group of klokkeslåtter or huldreslåtter ( " Huldrenmelodien " Huldra is a trolls related beautiful girl in the Scandinavian mythology).