Norway’s most complete collection of old Hardanger fiddles
The exhibition has its own multimedia room, where you can listen to recordings from the collection and read up on the Hardanger fiddle and folk music.
Hardanger Folk Museum has an extensive collection of old and modern Hardanger fiddles, which are an important feature of the exhibition. Here, you can follow the development of the Hardanger fiddle from the oldest farmer’s fiddles to today’s modern Hardanger fiddle. Several instruments by fiddle makers Isak Nilsen Skaar (1663-1759) and his son Trond Isaksen Flatabø (1713-1772) from Botnen in Fyksesund are exhibited at the museum. We also have a number of fiddles by the influential Helland family from Telemark. Modern fiddles by Anders Aasen, Håvard Kvandal and Olav Vindal, among others, are also displayed at the museum.
Hardanger Folk Museum played an important role in the establishment of the large-scale research project that sought to date and document Hardanger fiddles, known as Hardanger fiddle project, together with Ole Bull Akademiet, the University of Bergen and the Norwegian Centre for Traditional Music and Dance. The project generated a lot of new knowledge, including about fiddles in our collection. It emerged, among other things, that a small farmer’s fiddle dated 1710 was probably in fact 100 years younger and made in 1810. The project group discovered a violin in Denmark, made by the fiddle maker Trond Isaksen Flatabø in 1764. It was bought by Sparebanken Hardanger and donated to Hardanger Folk Museum. It is the oldest violin we know to have been made in Norway.
Visitors can also learn about the rich song traditions of Hardanger. You can read about religious folk tunes, collection methods and toastmaster folk songs in three large display cases. We have also been lucky enough to borrow much of Arnvid Lillegraven from Granvin municipality’s accordion collection.