Target Group and Admission Requirements

Students must meet general admission requirements or possess prior experiential learning (please refer to the requirements for being evaluated on the basis of prior experiential learning). It is desirable that the applicants have a musical background and experience with music.

Aim of the Programme

The study programme’s main goal is for students to develop an understanding of the rich variation in form and function found in Norwegian folk music. We will examine the central topics based on a broad professional approach, where music theory, cultural history and social-science viewpoints will jointly form the basis of the study programme. Through this study programme, students will gain skills and experience in mediating knowledge of our folk music. Students will also develop their understanding of song, instruments and dance.

Curriculum and structure

Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V) S3(A) S4(V) S5(A) S6(V)
60FMUS1 Norwegian Folk Music 1 60.00 O 30 30        
Total: 30 30 0 0 0 0
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

Although the theoretical introduction to Norwegian folk music comprises the largest part of the foundation study programme, we have tried to present the study as a living heritage by using practicing tradition-bearers as teachers. The theoretical common component of the study programme constitutes around 60% of this part of the course, while the practical and individual component makes up the other 40%.

The common component of the study programme covers the following topics:

  • Knowledge of traditions
  • Folk music and society
  • Music theory
  • Listening theory

Individual / practical part:

  • Main instrument
  • Ensembles/ secondary instrument
  • Project work
  • Dance



Traditional knowledge is the largest topic in the curriculum. It will provide students with an overview of Norwegian folk music traditions, both with regard to the scope of the living tradition and with regard to understanding the historical conditions that have created it. Understanding how traditional music is created in the tension field between impulse and tradition and between new and old will be emphasised.


The goal of the study programme is to provide students with skills in planning, justifying and assessing the consequences of the dissemination of traditional music in various contexts.

To be able to consider these questions -- what, why and how -- the student must acquire an understanding of how the concept “folk music” has evolved historically. Further, they must acquaint themselves with some basic social sciences concepts and theories in order to be able to better understand the relationship between folk culture and society and the performing (folk) musician’s place in society and in different historical epochs. The Norwegian and Nordic culture should be understood in a European / global context. On the basis of this, students will be able to independently discuss the content of the folk music study programme and the place the programme and folk music have in modern society.

Students will be able to convey their experiences from practical work within the field of folk music by gaining knowledge about project work and the report writing related to this. They will also gain knowledge of elementary communication theory. Students will practice the practical dissemination of folk music by organising concerts / folk competitions (kappleik). Students will participate in a compulsory study trip during the course of the academic year, to take part in and experience a folk music event.

The study programme will provide the theoretical basis for discussion and analysis of folk music forms. The programme deals with general music theory and more specific areas where it is necessary to go more in depth, for example, regarding tonality, form and meter in folk music and the relationship between music and dance. General music theory concepts form the foundation for a more in-depth examination of the material. This part must be considered in the context of aural training.

The programme analyses in detail the theoretical aspects of our folk music forms and the instruments that are used. The programme will discuss whether or not common musical concepts are sufficient when describing and understanding folk music forms.


Students will develop musical awareness and an understanding of musical relationships. The programme will build a bridge between theoretical concepts and practical performance activities. They will develop the ability to actively listen to music, to understand and replicate musical elements, and to interpret notation.

In building subject knowledge, it is important for students to develop the inner ability to remember melodies, keynotes and metrical structures. This must be developed through melodic and rhythmic exercises and is a precondition for the development of tools with regard to notation and the interpretation of notation. Students will be able to read and analyse a score and notate music.

Exercise material will mainly be based on traditional Norwegian folk music, but the universal, the general and the more particular aspects of folk music will be considered. Various topics will be discussed and worked on simultaneously.

Students will work with different listening exercises, interval training, and various exercises in identification and rendering of melodies and rhythms. Reading exercises and practice in notation through melodic and rhythmic dictation will also constitute typical activities in the programme.


The practical part of the course will enable students to gain insight into, and understanding of, different aspects of folk music’s many forms of expression. The student will build and develop a repertoire of traditional songs under the supervision of the subject teacher. On this basis, it will and could be a challenge to take this further through experimentation and innovation, e.g. through various forms of ensemble playing.

It is intended that students will develop an understanding of what is the core in the transference process of folk music in a learning situation, “learning by imitation” or “see-hear-replicate method”.
Students will receive practical instruction and guidance in song and the various instruments which form the basis of the Norwegian folk music traditions; which instruments are available will depend to some extent on what teachers are available.

Main instrument

In consultation with the subject teacher each student will choose a main instrument within the Norwegian vocal and instrument traditions. In consultation with the teacher the students will specialise in one or more traditions, but during the course of the academic year all students will gain knowledge of different types and genres as played on the instrument they have chosen. Students will gain experience in using different sources for learning, learning by imitation, phonogram and notes.

Secondary instrument

Students will have an option of learning to use a secondary instrument. The instruction for this is usually organised in groups, and is limited by access to instruments and teachers.

Ensemble playing

Students will gain experience in ensemble playing in different combinations, through concerts, various forms of dissemination assignments and work in the recording studio.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching and learning methods will include practical work with music and dance, lectures, seminars, excursions, independent study, written home assignments, projects (dissemination exercises) and group work involving presentations. The instruction is usually on fixed weekdays throughout the year.
The lectures will to some degree use audio-visual aids and discuss various themes. The study programme requires active participation on the part of the students. Group work is especially useful in the different types of dissemination assignments, and students should form study groups.

All students will receive 20 hours of individual instruction on their main instrument. There will be an opportunity to qualify for further instruction on the main instrument. This will take place during the auditions in the first semester. Instruction if any on the secondary instrument will be organised into groups.

Ensemble groups may in some cases be organised by the students themselves. It is hoped that students take the initiative to hold in-house concerts. Students will receive continuous assessment on their main instrument and feedback on their progress from the subject teacher.

At the start of the studies, an intensive course in basic music theory will be arranged for those students who feel they need it. The subject, aural training, will be organised as practical group teaching. After the first semester, a test will be held in music theory and aural proficiency. A student’s performance in this must be approved before the student will be allowed to take the examination.

Courses related to the formulation of the problem and the completion of the individual project assignment will constitute themes in the joint teaching of theory. Students will receive 3 hours’ individual supervision in relation to the project.

At the end of term event the department opens its doors to the public. Students present the work they have completed throughout the academic year, in the form of exhibitions, concerts and impressions. Folk Music 1, one-year study programme, arranges a large end-of-term concert.

Winter Folk festival / festival is an annual event that is added to the beginning of the spring semester. All Folk Music 1 students will participate in the planning and implementation of this event.

Assessment Methods

The course assessment of written and oral examinations, and the student portfolios.
Written examination in subject theory, 6 hours.
Oral examination:
Instrumental and vocal performance on the main instrument. Students will be assessed on a repertoire of approx. 15 min. on their main instrument.
The secondary instrument can, on application, be included as part of the assessment.
Portfolio assessment:
Each student has a portfolio in which work, tests, assignments, the subject teacher’s evaluations etc. will be systematically included. This material will provide an overall impression of the student’s academic level.


The various parts of the assessment will be weighted as follows:

  • Written examination 3
  • Oral examination 2
  • Portfolio 5 (where the individual project assignment counts for 1.5)

In courses which require compulsory attendance, students must apply to the department to be awarded a diploma if absence in the respective course exceeds 20%. The application will be processed at our discretion.
A single grade will be entered on the diploma; the study programme will be graded A to F, where A is the highest grade, and E the lowest passing grade. Each course unit must receive a passing grade in order for the major course unit to receive a passing grade.

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

Publisert av / forfatter Frode Evenstad <Frode.EvenstadSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Bodil Akselvoll - 09/07/2012