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If upon meeting the nyckelharpa for the first time, I had been told that this was a fiddle from another planet, I would have found it completely believable. However, it turns out that the nyckelharpa is a traditional Swedish instrument, and over 600 years old.

The modern nyckelharpa has 16 strings. Three of the strings play melody and one is a drone string. The remaining 12 strings are tuned to the chromatic scale, and add a haunting resonance to the music.

The nyckelharpa is played with a short bow in the right hand, and the left hand fingers push down the keys to change pitches. Nyckelharpa players have to feel their way around the keys, because we can't see what we are doing.

In Swedish, “nyckel” means “key”, so the instrument is often referred to as the keyed fiddle from Sweden.

For more information about the nyckelharpa, contact the American Nyckelharpa Association (www.nyckelhapra.org).

Hastings Symphony
Warm-up Rehearsal for the Premier of Hans Christian Andersen Suite

On Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 3 PM, the Hastings Symphony Orchestra performed a world premiere: the world’s first concerto for nyckelharpa and orchestra, the Hans Christian Andersen Suite. The piece was composed by Dr. Christopher Stanichar, and performed by me, Deborah Greenblatt. The piece is in three movements, each one reflecting a story by Hans Christian Anderson.

“The Brave Tin Soldier”
“The Ugly Duckling”
“The Emperor’s New Clothes”

I would love to be able to perform this masterful work with your ensemble (full orchestra or string orchestra), and hope you will consider programming it in the near future. Email me or call me (402-275-3221) to explore the possibilities.

Video excerpt from “The Ugly Duckling
First rehearsal with Dr. Christopher Stanichar, composer, conducting
the Hastings Symphony Orchestra, with Deborah Greenblatt on nyckelharpa.


Click image for close-up.

The creation of the Hans Christian Andersen Suite was made possible by a generous grant from Augustana Research & Artist Fund (ARAF).


“Debby, thank you for your gracious service to the Hastings Symphony Orchestra. I have certainly appreciated (and benefitted from) the artistry of your playing.”
...Dr. Byron Jensen, Conductor
Hastings Symphony Orchestra
Hastings, Nebraska

Click image for close-up.

Click image for close-up.

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