We play folk music from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. While much of what we play is dance music, we also play a selection of listening tunes. Our repertoire consists of gammaldans tunes, tunes that are played for dances like schottis, waltz, polka and hambo, and tunes for bygdedans or village dances. Village dances are classified by region, with each region having its own styling for these unique tunes, often known as pols or polska. These tunes typically have three beats to the measure, with emphasis on beats one and three, creating a rhythm that, when tapped, sounds like a heartbeat. To hear a sample, click below.
The Lilla Spelmanslag members learn their tunes in the traditional way, by ear, without
written music. We play it very slowly, break it into small pieces, and then eventually put
the pieces back together, and bring the tempo up as the musicians feel more secure with
the notes. For those students who have not played as long, we make harmony parts that
are simpler, yet very valuable as they often support the demarcation of the dance rhythm.
Musicians are also given a CD with tunes recorded so that they may listen and practice at
In addition, members of the group learn about rhythm and styling of tunes by dancing.
While we rarely have formal dance instruction, we often walk in rhythm or move in
rhythm as a part of rehearsal. This helps the musicians to feel the music in their bodies and
understand how the music must move to appropriate for dancing.
Teaching occurs at twice monthly rehearsals, in the months from September to June, our
season. For more information about our schedule and rehearsals, or to visit a rehearsal,