Students will be subject to normal admission requirements for international students at Telemark University College Norwegian Folk Music


Norwegian Folk Music is a full credit(30 ECTS) one semester, undergraduate level program taught at the Rauland Campus of Telemark University College. The program is designed for foreign students with an interest in Norwegian Folk Music.The program can be a part of a Bachelor degree in Folk Music or a part of a Master degree in Traditional Arts. It may also be combined with other subjects towards a Liberal Arts degree, either in Norway or abroad.

Target Group and Admission Requirements

The study is intended for Scandinavian or other foreign students who want to get acquainted with Norwegian traditional music. The course can be an integrated part of the student`s home study program or part of a Norwegian study program.

Students from Norwegian institutions can be admitted after application, if they already are following a degree program ( bachelor/master)

Minimum requirements to the course are 60 ECTS within the subjects music/folk music or 60 ECTS within other relevant subjects.

Aim of the Programme

The main goal of this program is to give students a thorough understanding of the roots of, influences on and performance of Norwegian Folk Music. The students will develop an understanding of the rich variation in form and function found in Norwegian Folk Music. The main sources of this music will be discussed in a broad academic perspective, where musicology, cultural history and sociology are used to create an integrated theoretical basis for learning. Comparative study of culture’s traditional music is a natural part of this process.

Further Education opportunities

The program may be combined with other higher education programmes within the cultural sphere or form a part of a BA degree.The programme may be an approved exchange semester from the studies in the home country. The programme gives access to an international network of folk musicians and folk artists and may open for further careers.

Curriculum and structure

The program is designed around 3 modules: Performance, Ethnomusicology and a Guided Study. Ethnomusicology and the Guided Study provide the theoretical basis for Performance, which is the ultimate goal of the program. The different modules are based on similar modules in our program for Norwegian students, Folkemusikk 1.

The Program




  • Individual Performance/major instrument
  • Group Performance/minor instrument
  • Folk dance

Guided Study



Total credits


Students are encouraged to audit other available theory courses offered in the Bachelor program. This is arranged in cooperation with the faculty.

Students can choose between two kinds of exams. Students who are performers are encouraged to choose to be examined in the performance of their instrument (oral exam a).

Students with more theoretical background may choose to present a lecture on a given topic to be decided by the faculty (oral exam b).



Performance training aims to give students an experiential understanding of folk music’s expressive diversity. Each student is expected to develop a repertoire with traditional song or instrumental music under the mentorship of a faculty member. This forms the basis for learning through innovation and experiment in both group and individual settings. It is also a goal for the students to become aware of and to understand the synergy created between teacher and student. During this process students learn to be keen aural and visual observers.


The teaching methods are both traditional and contemporary. Traditional teaching methods are based observation and oral transmission. Through this method the students learn the performance lineage of each piece, and integrate this into their own performance style. Students also learn by using phono- and videograms and reading music notation.

Students are expected to participate in music groups, and to be active in social settings in which folk music is a natural part (student recitals, folk music competitions, gatherings, classroom settings, etc.).While the emphasis will be placed on traditional music, students will also be introduced to contemporary folk music. Folk Dance is also an integral part of the learning experience.


Main instrument

Each student will choose a main instrument under the guidance of a faculty member. Students can choose to focus on one or more musical traditions in agreement with the faculty, but all students are expected to gain knowledge of the major musical genres of their main instrument.

Students may also choose a main instrument, which is not a traditional Norwegian instrument. In this instance, the main focus will be on developing a repertoire and musical expression, not on technique.

Minor instrument

The choice of the minor instrument (one or more) will depend on instrument availability.

Group performance

Different groups will be established depending on performance plans: concerts, social gatherings, visiting community groups and recording.

Folk Dance

Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the various regional dance melodies. They are also expected to learn one or more of the most traditional dances (gangar, pols or springar).

Vocal Music

Students will learn examples of certain types of vocal music, like lullabies, shepherding calls, ballads, stev, folk songs, etc. A special emphasis will be place on training the students to recognize tonality and ornamentation styles.

3.b Norwegian Ethnomusicology


This course aims to give students an overview of the diversity of living music traditions in Norway as well as an understanding of the historical conditions from which they arose. Unique musical expressions from specific historic periods will be given special emphasis. But emphasis will also be place on understanding the ways in which folk music is a synergic creation of impulse and tradition, new and old, Norwegian, Scandinavian and European / Global influences.


Norwegian ethnomusicology will be taught for the most by Rauland faculty, but we will also invite guest lecturers and performers whose unique knowledge cannot be found in books. Audiovisual materials and Internet sites will be integrated in the lectures and in the students own work.


Understanding the terms “folk music” and “society”

What is folk music? What is traditional music? These terms, and many others are used both in formal and informal contexts. Folk music will be explored as a socio-historic phenomenon.


The many different genre of folk music will be explored, both through demonstration and through an understanding of the genre’s historic and cultural background.

Instrument / organology

This unit will cover the different instruments and techniques used in Norwegian traditional music (playing, geographic distribution, history, etc.).

Group performance

Different instrument combinations and the roles each instrument has played in these combinations will be discussed. By approaching this through studying folk dance repertoire, students will gain a clearer understanding of the relationship between dance and music.



The guided study provides the student with a chance to pursue a topic he or she has found particularly interesting and relevant. Students are expected to choose a topic that relates to the main goals of Norwegian Folk Music for Foreign Students. The Guided Study is designed under faculty guidance.


The Guided Study can be based on theoretical sides and/or creative sides of Norwegian Folk Music for Foreign Students. A final paper, minimum 10 pages, is required for completion of the Guided Study.

Teaching and Learning Methods


Teaching methods include hands-on experience with music and dance, as well as lectures, seminars, field study, independent study, papers, individual and group projects and presentations. Teaching sessions are generally scheduled for weekdays.

Audio-visual aids will at times be used during lectures. The importance of active participation from students is emphasized.

Each student will receive individual instruction on his or her main instrument. They will receive continual evaluation of their progress from their teacher. Group instruction is given on the minor instruments. Students are encouraged to organize their own performance groups, and to initiate house-recitals.

Students receive three hours individual advising for their Guided Study.

Theory and Practical Training

Performance has a central place in the study. However, students who want to concentrate on more theoretical aspects will have the possibility to do so.

Assessment Methods



Both oral and written exams will be given in addition to the Guided Study Paper.

Written Exam

The written exam in Norwegian ethnomusicology is four hours long and graded from A to F, with E being the lowest passing grade.

Oral Exam, a

The students will be tested on their major instrument in a repertoire of approximately 15 minutes. If a student wishes, their minor instrument can also be included in the evaluation.

Grades from A to F will be given, with E being the lowest passing grade.

Oral Exam, b

Students who are not proficient on their instrument will be required to hold a lecture covering an aspect of Norwegian Folk Music. The topic for the lecture will be chosen for the students by the faculty. The lecture must be 45 minutes long. Students may use various teaching aids during the lecture like video, segments or recordings.

Guided Study Paper


The Guided Study Paper will count for 20% of the final grade.

The written exam will count for 40% of the final grade.

The oral exam will count for 40% of the final grade.

Grades from A to F will be given, with E being the lowest passing grade.

Each separate part must have a passed grade if the mainsubject is to be passed.

The Regulation of Exams for the Telemark University College gives further details.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Frode Nyvold <>, last modified Bodil Akselvoll - 13/04/2007