Norwegian Folk Music 2 60FMUS2

Course Description

The course consists of two main components, a common component and a specialisation component. The common component covers cultural policy issues in addition to professional musical and educational aspects. Students may complete the elective course at an educational institution abroad.

The common component includes the following major course units:

R & D Methodology


Composition and Arrangements


Folk Music Mediation


Folk Music and Society


Traditional Knowledge and Sources


Practice and performance will also relate to the major course units in the common component.

In the specialisation component the students will normally be able to choose from:

Folk Music Mediation




The common component and the specialisation component comprise 30 ECTS each. How many of these courses will be offered during the academic year will be decided by the university college.

Folk music mediation is an important aspect of all the major course units, so the common lectures and group work is the same for all students no matter which courses are chosen. The instruction in traditional music mediation will therefore be given more focus than suggested by the weighting in the common component (see above).

  • Elective course. Period of study abroad.

Electives: It is possible for students to include a 3-month study-period abroad. The stay may be at an educational institution or be in form of fieldwork planned in cooperation with the subject teacher and the department’s administration. The elective replaces practical training in the spring semester and the obligatory study trip. The elective will form part of a specialisation course.


Major course unit 1 - FOLK MUSIC MEDIATION

The mediation of the material is an important part of the course, both for students who have chosen the specialisation course, General Mediation and those who have chosen Performance. The course Folk Music Mediation is therefore common to all students in the second year.


The objective of the course is to make students aware of the different elements that are important in a mediation situation, both in practice and theoretically. An attempt will be made to develop the communicative ability of the individual student through lectures, practice and discussion. The course will be considered in close relation to practical training.


The expression “folk music mediation” is interpreted widely, and the course will deal with theories about the choice of material (music and lyrics), stage performances, verbal comments, body language, knowledge of and the relationship to the public. The what, why and how of music mediation, and folk music mediation especially, will also be focused on.

The course focuses closely on the preparation of practical training and the students’ experiences. The practical training may vary from year to year depending on the students’ interests and experience. The course will emphasise the development of students’ awareness regarding mediation. The course includes both performative and pedagogical practical training for all the students. Students will individually and in groups prepare and implement various mediation projects. For instance, arranging a concert or local performance, mediating material from the archive or playing at a concert.

Course units

  • Scene preparation (body language, voice, comments, etc.)
  • A variety of musical cultures and dissemination / performance traditions
  • Knowledge of the public / choice of repertoire
  • Music mediation and identity
  • Didactics
  • Marketing and media
  • Listening to music and psychology
  • Preparation of teaching practice / performance practice
  • Children and musical development

In the teaching of Folk Music Mediation, practice and theory will be discussed and placed into context in the preparation for mediation practice: both with regard to concerts, presentation of material and teaching sessions. The group will take on the role of the public and provide feedback when individual students perform. Concert planning is also dependent on all the students in the group participating; consequently, all the teaching in Folk Music Mediation is obligatory, unless other arrangements have been previously agreed upon.

Main course unit 2 – FOLK MUSIC AND SOCIETY

Through social science and cultural-historical approaches, and musical theory (music anthropology), the student will further develop a critical and nuanced view of folk music and the folk musician’s role in today’s society. An international and comparative perspective will form the basis of a deeper understanding of Norwegian folk music.

The goal of the course is to provide students with the ability to plan, justify and assess the consequences of folk music mediation in various contexts. Students will be able to view Norwegian folk music in a historical perspective and in relation to the musical expressions of other cultures. The goal is for students to gain an awareness and ability to reflect upon traditional folk music as a phenomenon of our times, locally, and globally.

The course builds further on the topics discussed in the one-year study programme, and examines questions concerning identity and passing down traditions . Students will be introduced to a representative selection of music from around the world.

Course units

  • The local, national and global. Identity, ethnicity and nation. The importance of folk music considered in an international perspective. At least one European folk music culture (not Norwegian) will be focused on.
  • Folk music as a modern phenomenon. What is the future of folk music? Keywords: professionalism, the market and creative aspects.
  • Music systems and instrumentarium in a selection of non-Norwegian musical cultures. Information about other music cultures, Western and non-Western.

A major field trip abroad (usually Hungary and Slovakia) will take place in the spring semester.

Students who are unable to participate in the field trip, must complete alternative assignments.

Major course unit 3: R&D - METHODOLOGY

Research and Development Methodology will provide students with the skills necessary to be able to carry out simple projects and assignments related to the subject of traditional folk music mediation, and they will be able to assess critically R & D work. The course will help students to find methods for data collection from museums, archives and other sources and equip them to use this material in practical and theoretical work, thereby achieving the goal of preservation, continuation and renewal of traditional folk music.


Students will primarily work on appropriate strategies and methods in relation to the mediation of folk music.

Course units

  • What is R & D?
  • Topics
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
  • Report Writing

Major course unit 4: Composition and Arrangements

The course will enable students to organise traditional music in accordance with both traditional and modern innovative practices.


Course units:

  • Polyphonic Modes – Ethnomusicology
  • Polyphonic Modes in Norwegian Traditional Music
  • A Selection of Composition Techniques
  • Chord Progression Theory; Playing Chords
  • Basic Principles for Arranging
  • Composition Approaches within Traditional Music
  • Ensemble Playing

Major course unit 5: Traditional Knowledge and Sources


The course builds further on the traditional knowledge in the 1st year, and will provide students with more opportunities to specialise in different traditions, in relation to both musical and cultural-historical aspects. Students will also learn how to critically evaluate source material.


Approach to the material will be accomplished through lectures and group work where the use of literature and audio material will be important. Various texts, monographs, collections, CD releases and other phonographic and film / video – material will be discussed with a focus on a close examination of various traditions and an analysis and evaluation of sources.

Course units:

  • Regional Characteristics and Variation

The course will take as its starting point various books, publications and archive materials that document and describe the various traditions, performers and regions. Through a practical and theoretical approach to this material, students will gain a basis for assessing the delineation of regional stylistic features and distribution of types. They will also critically examine the concept of dialect in Norwegian folk music and the individual’s position in the formation of Norwegian folk traditions.

  • Instruments

Insight into and evaluation of archival material and publications with different instruments.

  • Historical topics

- Note collections from various periods

- Interpretation of historical material

- Working with archival material as a source for performance

  • Dance

Dance will be organized jointly with the teaching of the foundation study programme in folk music



Specialisation will enable students through practice to convey folk music to different audiences in various ways. This may involve mediation activities in public institutions, archives, schools, media, and non-governmental organisations or through their own activities.

Students will develop as performers. The students who choose Performance as an area of specialisation must have achieved a grade A or B in Performance in Folk Music 1.


In the specialisation component, students may choose between the following major course units:

  • General Mediation (e.g. in schools, institutions and the media)
  • Performance (performing in public and individual musical development)
  • Related to these major course units, there are 2 course units:
    • Practical Training
    • Performance on the Main Instrument

  • Elective – Study Abroad

In the specialisation component, students will be given the opportunity to study abroad for a period of 3 months. This period of study abroad will replace part of the practical training.

“General Mediation” refers to instruction and dissemination of folk music and folk dancing. Students will be introduced to teaching methods and educational ideas, and receive training in presenting material. The theory will include the role of folk music in schools and various instruction / teaching methods. A lot of the theoretical teaching will consider topics that are also focused on in elective courses, archives and performance.

The practical training chosen be students may be related to schools and institutions, or focus on dissemination through media. It may also involve making music / dance more accessible, for example, when working with note music, video recordings or other audiovisual aids.

Students who choose this specialization course must be prepared to devote a lot of time to their main instrument, and they should also have a solid background as a performer. During the year, they should expand their repertoire and gain experience in performing for others. Focused stage performance and knowledge of the public are key areas. Theory will include concert productions and arrangements as well as marketing, finance and knowledge of cultural organisations.

Students self-chosen practical training may focus on a series of concert performances or a number of different types of concerts. Radio / TV presentations may also be appropriate.

Main Instrument
The individual instruction builds on the instruction that was given in the first year of study. Normally, each student will receive 20 hours of individual lessons, but this will vary according to the available resources.

Generally, greater results will be expected of the individual performances of students who choose Performance as their area of specialisation; for instance, with regard to good technique, an ear for tradition, artistic communication ability and development capability. In relation to the examination, the performance part (the main instrument) of students who have chosen Performance as a specialisation course will be assessed more thoroughly than students who have chosen General Mediation or Archive and Collection Studies.

Practical training

The intention of training periods is to provide students with practical experience in mediating folk music to others, either in connection with performing or mediating and teaching folk music. The course focuses on the relationship between folk music performance and theory.

  • Individual practical training for the area of specialisation and performance

Students will decide, in consultation with the teacher, what area of study they wish to focus on. The scope of the practical training may vary, and the college will, in each individual case, consider what kind of practical training may be approved.

Practical training may involve teaching, music programmes (radio / television), concert participation, archive and collection work, etc.

Practical training will be documented through planning work and reports.

• Concert practice for the specialisation area of ​​Performance

Concert practice involves school concerts (autumn) and a concert tour in the spring semester. The concert tour will take place in upper secondary schools and folk high schools. Students must arrange an itinerary and they will be responsible for the practical aspects of the tour. The concerts will be planned in collaboration with the teachers. If approved by the teaching staff, students with Mediation as their area of specialisation may also participate in these concert activities. However, an adequate professional standard is required, and the assessment of this will be based on the grade achieved in the performance component of the foundation study programme (a grade C or better is normally required). Those students who do not qualify for concert activities as part of their practical training must have a larger part devoted to alternative individual practical training.


The elective course may replace part of the practical training.


Students may choose to study abroad (three months), which will provide them with the opportunity to become familiar with the traditions of the local area they are visiting. By contrast and comparison with the local traditions, the student will be encouraged to view Norwegian folk music in a wider musical and social context.


The study trip may take the form of fieldwork in which the student makes contact with local professionals and researchers. This type of fieldwork must first be prepared in consultation with teaching staff and the department and in agreement with the local professionals and researchers. The study trip may also involve studies under the direction of a local educational institution in the case where there exists a formal agreement between the aforementioned institution and Telemark University College.

The content of the study abroad will vary depending on which area of specialisation the student has chosen, and on which institution and local area the student visits.

The department has a well-developed network in Hungary. Students are able to examine more closely the “Dance House Movement”, the innovative Hungarian folk music movement. Students will be given instruction at Óbuda Folk Music School in Budapest, a school that has approximately 300 pupils and students. Telemark University College has good contacts with key performers in the community in and outside Budapest, with researchers and teaching staff at the Loránd Eötvös University and the Bartok-collections (folk music archive). The college also has close contact with the Department of Folk Music Studies at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. Students can receive instruction in traditional music at the University of Nitra, Slovakia or apply for a 3-month study period at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland.

Assessment Methods

The examination includes an oral examination and portfolio assessment.

Oral examination and possibly performance

In the oral examination the candidate will give a lecture on topics related to the specialisation course. The candidate will submit the title and specify the length of the lecture (usually 30 to 45 minutes) one week before the oral examination. Normally, only the examiner and the subject teacher (s) will be present during the oral examination. After the lecture, the examiner will have a brief discussion with the candidate that focuses on subject theory.

If the candidate has chosen “Performance” as a specialisation course, then the candidate’s performance will be assessed as 50% of the oral examination. The performance may be an integral part of the lecture and related to its content, or constitute a separate part. This will be evident in the title of the lecture.

Performance may also be integrated into the lecture by those candidates who have not chosen Performance as a specialisation course, but it will then be assessed as a part of the whole mediation. There will be no separate performance part in the oral examination for candidates who have not chosen Performance as a specialisation course.

The oral examination counts for 50% of the final grade.

Portfolio assessment

The student portfolio will include the student’s written work / reports and the assessments of these made by the subject teachers.

In addition, the portfolio contains the subject teachers’ continuous written assessments of the various assignments completed by the student (programme requirements), such as, presentations, concerts, work on the main instrument, etc.

The student portfolio assessment counts for 50% of the final grade.

In order to be permitted to take the examination, the student must have passed the written tests and had his/her obligatory assignments approved.

Regarding compulsory attendance, students must apply to the department to receive a diploma if absenteeism in the respective course is greater than 20%.

Portfolio and specified requirements

Folk Music Mediation

  • Two written assignments in Traditional Music assessed with grades
  • Approved practical training (performance, teaching or other mediation by agreement with the subject teacher) with the plans and reports
  • Approved attendance requirement of mandatory teaching

Folk Music and Society

  • Two written assignments assessed with grades

Composition Theory and Arranging

  • Four-home assignments assessed with grades

Traditional Knowledge and Use of Sources

  • Written assignment assessed with a grade

Elective course

  • Report from three months study abroad, assessed as approved

Study trip

Approved completion of mandatory study trip or alternative arrangements by agreement with the course teacher

Main Instrument

  • Approved participation in instruction in the main instrument

In order to be permitted to take the examination, the student must have passed the written tests and had his/her obligatory assignments approved.

Regarding compulsory attendance, students must apply to the department to receive a diploma if absenteeism in the respective course is greater than 20%.


The various components are weighted thus:

Oral examination




Two written assignments in Folk Music Mediation assessed with grades


Two written assignments in Folk Music and Society assessed with grades


Four assignments in Composition Theory and Arranging


One written assignment in Traditional Knowledge assessed with a grade


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 must receive a passing grade in order to be awarded a diploma.

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

Publisert av / forfatter Ian Harkness <>, last modified Bodil Akselvoll - 29/02/2012