Scanian Folk Music


Scania is the southernmost part of Sweden, it has been Swedish since the 1658 occupation; before that it was East Denmark. The southern part of the Baltic Sea area has traditionally served as the centre for the cultures in the north of Europe. Prior to the 20th Century, water was the means of communication. Since Scania is surrounded on three sides by water, clearly the Baltic Sea has effected Scania in one way or another. Nature is unrivaled in Scania. There are no extremes. There is a little of everything, and that "little" is just enough.

The music

A single answer to that is not possible, but being in the heart of a large geographical area, the surrounding cultures necessarily experience profound influences and exiting exchanges - with a typcal Scanian accent.

Several of today's musicians have discovered many old tunes, beautiful polska and hot polkas. Some of the tunes have been around since the 17th Century, and were made popular because they were played by famous musicians in the region.

Clearly the music contains influences from all the surrounding countries as is reflected in many of the dance titles; polska, from Poland; Schottis, from Scotland; Engelska or Anglais, from England; Reinländer, from Germany. In the music there is also waltz, qadrilj and polka.

The instruments that is most frequently used nowadays is violin, but in the past, all kinds of instruments was used like clarinet, dulcimer, flutes and pipes.

Because of its crucial location in the center of the South Baltic Sea area, Scania has witnessed many scenes of war. Naturally, all that military activity affected not only the music but also the instruments. In the 17th and 18th centuries, many private citizens were employed by the army as musicians. Besides thoose musicians there were "Stadsinstrumentalister"; musicians employed by the town councils to serve the citizens with music in their everyday life. Those categories of musicians formed and developed the repertoire that we call folk music today.

Later in the 19th century the folk music was played by semi professionals, who combined music with hand craft or farming. Nowadays this music is played by enthusiasts that try to keep the tradition alive. If you click here you will come to a tunebook with some examples of Scanian folk tunes.

The biggest organization for Scanian folk music is Skånes Spelmansförbund, here you can get information about festivals and workshops.

If you understand Swedish, there is a link to a discription of the music in a Scanian region called Linderödsåsen with some note examples.