A Guide to Tunings on the Hardingfele

by Karin Løberg Code

The following reference was compiled to identify the numerous tunings for the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle. Listed below in the first column are the top strings of the fiddle from lowest to highest (G-string to E-string) with the understrings in brackets []. In the next column you will find the various names for the tunings and finally where the name originates. I have also included other pertinent facts, such as well-known tunes and origins of the names.

My sources include Bjørndal and Alver's ...og fela, ho let, Olav Gurvin's "The Harding Fiddle" Studia Musicological Norvegia, Loretta Kelley's Telemarkspel, and Volume 7 of Norsk Folkemusikk - Hardingfeleslåtter (NFMHS). I also included information from the Valdres Folkemuseum for which I have no recording of the source. To my knowledge, this is the most complete list of tunings for the hardingfele.

I have listed the most common tuning first and then the rest follow in alphabetical order. Please note that middle C is designated as such: c';. One octave higher would therefore be identified as: c". One octave lower as: c.