CHAPTER 7: Controversies and Misunderstandings

8 of 17 - 'living traditions' in Canary Islands, Norway & Sweden

We can read that the dulcimer is still in use in folk traditions in the Canary Islands, Norway and Sweden ("Geblieben ist es noch in der Volksmusik einiger Gebiete:Ostalpenraum... Norwegen, Mittelschweden, die Kanarischen Inseln...", van der Meer, col. 1360).

Dr. van der Meer's letters do not mention his source for Norway, but Dräger & Wünsch make the same claim, and since, as he says, "I have not done any field-work, and my knowledge I took from the psaltery and dulcimer collection of our museum and from Scientific literature" (3), he may have taken the idea from them.

My own field-trips have traced no dulcimers, either in use or in museums, in Norway, and Reidar Sevåg writes

"Dräger's and Walther Wünsch's mention of Hackbrett playing in Norway is certainly wrong. They probably mix it up with the langeleik" (4).

The reference to Sweden stems from Norlind, according to whom dulcimer no. 1348, at the Music Museum in Stockholm, is from Sweden, and

"According to this author ... the dulcimer was used in Dalarne and Härjedalen"

- but there is nothing suggest that there was any living tradition in Sweden in the 20th century.

"That the dulcimer was known on the Canary Islands, is to be deferred from no. 1486 in Mahillon's catalogue of the instruments of the Brussels collection."

This certainly suggests that the dulcimer was known in these parts at one time, but these pre-war sources are scarcely grounds for saying that "Geblieben ist es noch", 'it still survives'.