Swedish Folk Music to Get Your Toes Tapping

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for some Swedish Folk Music to get your toes tapping? Check out our top picks for the best Swedish Folk Music to get you moving!

Introduction to Swedish Folk Music

Swedish folk music is a genre of music that is typically associated with the rural areas of Sweden. It is often characterized by its use of traditional instruments, such as the fiddle, accordion, and nyckelharpa. Swedish folk music has been a part of the country’s musical culture for centuries, and has been influenced by a variety of different musical traditions.

What is Swedish Folk Music?

Swedish folk music is a genre of music that has its roots in the Swedish people’s traditionally rural lifestyle. It is typically characterized by its use of traditional instruments, such as the fiddle, accordion, nyckelharpa (a type of keyed fiddle), and various types of flutes. Swedish folk music has a wide variety of subgenres, including polskas (Polish dances), waltzes, ballads, and traditional Christmas carols.

Swedish folk music has been influenced by a number of other genres over the years, including classical music, jazz, and rock. In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in traditional Swedish folk music, with many younger musicians incorporating elements of folk music into their own styles.

If you’re interested in learning more about Swedish folk music, there are a number of resources available online and in print. The best way to get started is to find a local Swedish folk band or singer and see if they have any recommended recordings or websites.

The History of Swedish Folk Music

Swedish folk music is the traditional music of the Swedish people. It has been passed down through generations since the Viking era, and remains an important part of Swedish identity and culture.

Swedish folk music is characterized by its use of the fiddle, nyckelharpa (a keyed fiddle), accordion, and sometimes saxophone. The music often has a strong danceable rhythm, and is often played at festivals and other celebrations.

The history of Swedish folk music is closely intertwined with the history of Sweden itself. During the Viking era, Swedish folk music was heavily influenced by Scandinavian and Germanic traditions. As Sweden began to establish its own identity in the medieval period, Swedish folk music began to develop a distinctly Swedish character. By the early modern period, Sweden had become a major musical center in Europe, with a highly developed musical culture that included both courtly and popular traditions.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Swedish folk music underwent a dramatic revival as part of a wider nationalist movement. This revival led to the emergence of a number of new genres, such as polska (a type of polka) and spelmanslag (traditional fiddle ensembles). Today, Swedish folk music is enjoyed by people all over the world, and has even been featured in popular films such as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The Instruments of Swedish Folk Music

Swedish folk music is a genre of music that is typically played on acoustic instruments. The most common instruments are the fiddle, accordion, and nyckelharpa. Swedish folk music has a very distinctive sound that is influenced by the country’s geography and history.

The Fiddle

The fiddle is one of the most common instruments in Swedish folk music. It is a stringed instrument that is played with a bow, and it has a very distinctive sound. The fiddle has been an important part of Swedish culture for centuries, and it is still used in many traditional folk songs.

There are many different types of fiddles, but the two most common are the nyckelharpa and the hardingfele. The nyckelharpa is a traditional Swedish instrument that has been used for centuries. It has a unique design that includes keyed strings, and it is played with a bow. The hardingfele is another type of fiddle that is commonly used in Swedish folk music. It is similar to the nyckelharpa, but it has more strings and a different playing style.

The fiddle is an essential part of Swedish folk music, and it is one of the most popular instruments in the country. If you want to experience the true sound of Sweden, be sure to check out some of the traditional folk songs that feature this unique instrument.

The Nyckelharpa

The nyckelharpa is a stringed instrument with a distinctly Swedish sound. It has a curved body and a set of keys attached to the neck, which are used to tune the strings. The nyckelharpa is thought to have originated in the 14th century and has been used in Swedish folk music for centuries.

This unique instrument can be played solo or in a group, and it is often used in traditional Swedish dances. If you’re interested in trying your hand at playing the nyckelharpa, there are a few things you should know.

First, the nyckelharpa is usually played with a bow. You will hold the bow in your right hand and use your left hand to pluck the strings. The keys on the neck of the instrument are used to change the pitch of the strings, so you can create different notes as you play.

In order to create different sounds, you can also use different techniques when playing the nyckelharpa. For example, you can play all of the strings at once (strumming), or you can play them one at a time (plucking). You can also experiment with how hard or soft you pluck the strings, as this will create different sounds as well.

If you’re interested in learning to play the nyckelharpa, there are a few resources that can help you get started. The Swedish Folk Music Association offers lessons and resources for beginners, and there are also several online tutorials available. With a little practice, you’ll be playing this unique instrument like a pro in no time!

The Bagpipes

The bagpipes are a staple of Swedish folk music, and can be heard in many traditional songs. There are two types of Swedish bagpipes: the Åsarp bagpipe and the Värmland bagpipe. The Åsarp bagpipe is the more traditional of the two, and is characterized by its simple, elegant design. The Värmland bagpipe is more modern, and often has a more ornate design.

The Åsarp bagpipe is traditionally made from cherry wood, with seven reeds (three bass, two tenor, and two drone). The Värmland bagpipe is usually made from elderwood, with nine reeds (three bass, three tenor, and three drone).

Both types of bagpipes are played with a single handed chanter and two drones. The chanter is used to play the melody, while the drones provide a steady background drone. The player uses a variety of techniques to produce different sounds on the chanter, including overblowing, half-holing, and circular breathing.

Swedish folk music would not be the same without the iconic sound of the bagpipes!

The Sounds of Swedish Folk Music

Swedish folk music includes a wide variety of instruments and styles. From the nyckelharpa and fiddle to the accordion and guitar, there is a wide range of sounds to be heard. Swedish folk music often has a danceable, upbeat tempo that is perfect for getting your toes tapping.


The polska is a lively, rhythmical dance often played on the fiddle. It is one of the most common folk dances in Sweden, and was brought to Sweden by immigrants from Finland in the 17th century. The polska has a simple AABB structure and is usually in three-time. Polskor are often played at weddings and other festive occasions.

There are many different regional variants of the polska, including the stavpolskor of Dalarna and Värmland, which are danced with wooden staves, and the halspolskor of Hälsingland, played on the violin with a special technique that involves playing two strings at once (known as ‘halsning’).


In Sweden, organized folk music is performed by ensembles known as spelmanslag. These groups can be found all over the country, and each one has its own repertoire, playing both traditional tunes and original compositions. The music of a spelmanslag is usually accompanied by dancing, and the groups often perform at festivals and other events.

The members of a spelmanslag typically play a variety of traditional Swedish instruments, including the fiddle, accordion, flute, mandolin, and guitar. In recent years, some ensembles have also begun to include other instruments from outside the Swedish tradition, such as the banjo, cello, and saxophone. Regardless of the instrumentation, the music of a spelmanslag is always lively and upbeat, sure to get your toes tapping.


The waltz is a smooth, graceful dance that originated in the Austrian Empire in the late 1700s. It became popular in Sweden in the early 1800s and has remained a favorite ever since. The Swedish waltz is danced to music with a 3/4 time signature and is usually slower than other waltzes.

There are many different types of waltzes, including the Boston waltz, Viennese waltz, French waltz, and Russian waltz. Each has its own distinctive style and steps, but all are characterized by their smooth, flowing movements.

The Swedish waltz is a relatively simple dance that can be learned by beginners relatively easily. Once you know the basic steps, you can add your own flair and creativity to make the dance your own.

The Popularity of Swedish Folk Music

Swedish folk music has been gaining popularity in recent years, both in Sweden and abroad. There are a number of factors that have contributed to this trend. One is the increasing interest in traditional music from other cultures. This has led to a greater appreciation of Swedish folk music.

Swedish Folk Music Today

Folk music has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and Swedish folk music is no exception. This type of music is often used in movies and television shows set in Scandinavia, as it helps to create a more authentic atmosphere. Swedish folk music often has a very catchy melody, which is probably one of the reasons why it has become so popular.

If you’re looking for some Swedish folk music to add to your collection, there are many great artists to choose from. Some of the most popular Swedish folk musicians include Lisa Larsson, Väsen, and Ale Möller. There are also many great folk bands, such as Garmarna and Hedningarna. These bands often incorporate traditional instruments into their music, such as the fiddle and the nyckelharpa.

No matter what type of Swedish folk music you’re looking for, you’re sure to find something that you enjoy. This type of music is perfect for parties or other gatherings where you want to add a touch of Scandinavia to the atmosphere.

Swedish Folk Music Festivals

Swedish Folk Music Festivals are very popular in Sweden and attract visitors from all over the world. There are many different types of festivals, but the most common are the music festivals. These usually take place in the summer months, when the weather is good and people are off work.

There are a few things that make Swedish Folk Music Festivals so special. First, they often have a very relaxed and informal atmosphere. People dress in traditional clothes and there is a lot of dancing and singing. Second, the music is always lively and upbeat. It is not unusual for people to be dancing all night long!

If you want to experience Swedish Folk Music for yourself, there are many ways to do it. You can go to a festival, or if you are lucky enough to live in Sweden, you can listen to it on the radio or TV. You can also buy CDs of Swedish Folk Music, or download it from the internet.

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