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Psalmodikons or Salmodikons - One-Stringed Norwegian Instrument

An example of a Psalmodikon

The psalmodikon is one of the earliest of all Norwegian musical instruments and is very simple. It is a long, narrow wooden box with a solitary string. This box-like instrument is placed on a table or stand and played with a bow. Early Norwegian schoolmasters used the instrument in the schools as an aid in teaching children to sing hymn melodies.

The psalmodikon was also in use in the early churches in Norway, to lead the congregational singing. When the reed organ came into use, the psalmodikon was displaced as the church instrument of choice, although in some of the mountain areas, the psalmodikon persisted to a much later date.

The psalmodikon is laid on the table, looking like a piece of 2 x 4 lumber, but it is hollow. It is played with a violin bow. In Norway and pioneer days, it was used to accompany hymn singing in parochial schools and churches as organs were scarce.

Note: The Psalmodikon was invented in 1835 while there is a Langeleik in Norway from 1526. This instrument is in private hands and still in use. - W. Alrich, Germany

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