Tagelharpa in re-enactment?

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Tagelharpa in re-enactment?

Post by Kanteletar »

So, I'm new here and I have no idea if this is the right place to ask such a thing, but I thought I might give it a try.

I've been playing the tagelharpa (also known as stråkharpa, talharpa, hiiu kannel, jouhikko etc.) for a while now. It's basically a 4-stringed bowed lyre (sometimes also 2-3 stringed), like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsMafwIKFMo
As I recently got interested in re-enactment in general, I was wondering if I could use my tagelharpa for that. And if so, what time period I should go for, to at least be somewhat authentic.

The tagelharpa is said to date back to at least the 11th century, but it might be even older. On the other hand, it's unsure if it was played with a bow from the beginning on or if playing it with a bow was introduced later. It's sometimes also described as a "viking instrument", but whenever I find viking instruments listed elsewhere, they mostly include only flutes, pipes, drums, sometimes also lyres; but the tagelharpa isn't usually mentioned.
Do you happen to know any re-enactor using the tagelharpa? And, I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but would it make any sense to place its origin in the late viking ages? Is there any evidence for any bowed instruments from that time period?

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Re: Tagelharpa in re-enactment?

Post by saracen »

It looks a lot like what I know as a crwth - a bowed lyre type that became particularly associated with Wales, but wasn't limited to that area originally. I wouldn't call it Viking - although as there are clearly similar instruments in Scandinavia one couldn't rule it out! The crwth has a fingerboard, that's the main difference.
As far as I know there are no crwth or bowed lyre types being played in reenactment - that's a shame as it's an important instrument type. So I would say go for it, though I'd be tempted to go for post-conquest medieval kind of period - 11th/12th century rather than Viking. Check out crwth/chrotta for more info?
Hope to see/hear it in action some time!

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