Norwegian Folk Music 30FMUS1U

Course Objectives

The main goal of the study programme is to provide students with a thorough understanding of the roots, influences, and performance of Norwegian Folk Music. Students will develop an understanding of the rich variation in the form and function of 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. A comparative study of the traditional music of various cultures constitutes a natural part of this process.

Course Description

The study programme 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 study programme. The different modules are based on similar modules in our study programme for Norwegian students, Norwegian Folk Music I.

The study programme




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


Guided Study


Total credits


Students are encouraged to study other available theory courses offered in the Bachelor’s degree study programme. This will be arranged in cooperation with the faculty.

Students may choose between two different kinds of examinations. Students who are performers are encouraged to choose to be examined in the performance of their instrument (oral examination A).

Students with a more theoretical background may choose to present a lecture on a given topic to be decided by the faculty (oral examination 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 develop awareness 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 modern. Traditional teaching methods are based on observation and oral transmission. Through this method, 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, such as lullabies, shepherding calls, ballads, stev, folk songs, etc. A special emphasis will be place on training the students to recognize tonality and ornamentation styles.

Norwegian Ethnomusicology

This module aims to provide students with 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 historical periods will be given special emphasis. However, emphasis will also be given to 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 mainly at the Rauland campus; however, we will also invite guest lecturers and performers whose unique knowledge cannot be found in books. Audiovisual materials and Internet sites will be integrated into the lectures and into the students own work.

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

Guided study

The guided study provides the student with an opportunity 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.

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 on weekdays.

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

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 organise their own performance groups, and to initiate house-recitals.

Students will receive three hours individual guidance for their Guided Study.

Assessment Methods


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

Written Examination

There will be a 4-hour written examination in Norwegian Ethnomusicology, which will be graded A to F, where E represents the lowest passing grade.

Oral Examination A

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

Grades from A to F will be given, where E represents the lowest passing grade.

Oral Examination 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, which will be of 45 minutes duration, will be chosen for the students by the faculty. Students may use various teaching aids during the lecture, such as, video, segments or recordings.

Guided Study Paper

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

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

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

Grades A to F will be given, where E represents the lowest passing grade.

Each separate part must receive a passing grade in order for the course to be given a passing grade.

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

Publisert av / forfatter Ian Harkness <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 12/11/2010