Three- or four-row nyckelharpa – ”Europa”

Type: Three- or four-row chromatic nyckelharpa
Maker: Thor Pleijel
Mensur: 400 mm
Body width: ~180 mm
Weight: ~1950 g
Wood origin: World wide
Wood selection: Flamed maple, walnut, cherry
Strings: Prim nyckelharpa strings + 12 sympathetic
Tuning: (highest) A D/C G C (lowest)
Number of keys:
A-string – 21
D/C-string – 10
G-string – 7 (8)
C-string – none (6)

The three-row nyckelharpa took many different shapes as it spread over Sweden in the 1970s an onwards. Many of the new and amateur makers used their knowledge from other areas, like carpentering and furniture- or violin-making in the search for better sound, function and look. Experiments with four and five rows of keys were made, and often with new wood-types.

What makes nyckelharpa-making a living tradition is this constant development, and it is a great privilege to be able to be innovative as an artist and instrument-maker. With my model Europa, I use less traditional wood and the design is more intricate. The body of the instrument is made from Swedish spruce (Picea abies), except the top which is spruce from Germany. The keys are made of Swedish birch (Betula pendula/pubescens) or beech (Fagus sylvatica), and the rest of the keybox, string-holder, nut and bridge are made of flamed maple (Acer pseudoplantanus) or walnut (Juglans regia) from continental Europe.

The instrument can be bought with case and bow.