The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments

January 8, 2014

Originating from Norway, the hardanger violin has four playing strings and four or five sympathetic strings which run underneath the fingerboard.
The hardanger's playing strings are tuned in 4ths and 5ths, which, coupled with the sympathetic strings, make the instrument very resonant.
The nyckelharpa is a Swedish keyed fiddle with four playing strings tuned in 5ths and twelve sympathetic strings tuned to a different chromatic note.
Tangents attached to keys are pressed against the nyckelharpa's playing strings to change the pitch.
In existence for at least a thousand years, the hurdy gurdy has two or three melody strings and four or more drone strings.
All the hurdy gurdy's strings are played by a wheel, which is turned by a handle on the end of the instrument.
Clare Salaman and Steven Player with hurdy gurdy, baroque guitar, nyckelharapa and hardanger fiddle.

Founded by Clare Salaman in 2010, the Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments perform folk songs and dances, Medieval, Renaissance and Classical music from the 13th to the 18th centuries, and newly composed works on instruments including hurdy gurdy, viola d’amore, viola da gamba and harpsichord. The group takes its inspiration from La Société des Instruments Anciens, who performed ‘easy listening’ Baroque music in Paris in the early 1900s.

From January this year, the Society collaborate with dancer Steven Player to present ‘Nine Daies Wonder’, a new performance series based on the dancing tour of Will Kemp, a leading actor in Shakespeare’s company who in 1600 danced his way from London to Norwich in nine days.

Read our news story about the Nine Daies Wonder project.

To navigate through the gallery, click on any image and use the left and right arrow keys to view the pictures.

Images 1-6:

Image 7: Patrick Baldwin

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