A Key Fiddle musician at the Historisches Fest am Wertachbrucker Thor

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When I walked around at the area of the Historisches Fest am Wertachbrucker Thor today, the very last day of the festival, I got surprised. I saw a couple of musicians at the other side of a dining tent. They were walking around and played music for the guests of the “restaurant”.

I decided to go and listen to them while they were playing and then talk to them. I suspected that the man was playing the instrument Key Fiddle, which I also have learnt to play. The man was playing the smallest type of Key Fiddle that exists. Although we spoked german to each other, I used the swedish word “nyckelharpa”Nyckelharpa is a quite common word internationally and all those who play the instrument are familiar with the word. He explained to me that it was a Key Fiddle, with three strings — an A- string, a C- string and a more lighter C- string. He said that he had not a proper bow, he used a bow which he couldn’t adjust the tension.

I asked him if he had tried to play on a bigger Key Fiddle but he hadn’t. I asked if he knew anyone else in Germany, or in the area that also played Key Fiddle. He said that he had talked with a guest at the festival. A woman who came from Cologne which also played Key Fiddle. He said that most germans — at least in the south part of the country — are not aware of the instrument Key Fiddle. I said that I came from Sweden and I had a Key Fiddle of “normal” (bigger) size at home which my grandfather had built and that I had learn how to play it on a few summer workshops in Sweden. I also told him that I believed that the Key Fiddle originally came from Germany to Sweden, for a long time ago.

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