The transcriptions in Folkmusikkommissionen's archive are mainly ordered by provenance, i.e. by the region where the material in a collection "belongs", either according to notes on the cover or by the main region of origin of the contents. However, the material that was sent in to the Commission as an answer to the appeal of 1909 and the miscellaneous category "sv1div" are exceptions to this way of ordering the collection. In many cases, however, the collections capsules also include transcriptions of musicians and singers from other regions than the one that decides how the material is ordered. Thanks to the search and browse functions of this web presentation it is easy to find all the material from a certain area – and also from a certain person, a certain type of tune, a certain rhythmical time, etc. – since every page is indexed separately.

Folkmusikkommissionen's collection mainly consists of transcriptions of songs and tunes collected for the sake of preservation of cultural history. The types of tunes and songs documented in this way are therefore strongly influenced by what was considered old, genuine - and therefore valuable - by the Commission around the time it was founded. The boundary in time for what genres of tunes and songs were considered Swedish traditional music was drawn around 1880. Around that time and later new types of dances came to Sweden, often associated with the accordion, which was a much-hated symbol of the music of newer times for many traditional music collectors. The boundary for what should be collected is evident in Nils Andersson's description of the first musician to be presented in Svenska låtar, Timas Hans Hansson. He had, says Nils Andersson, "like other old musicians had to give way to the changed taste, keep up with the times, as it is called, and thus learn the new-fangled music too, polkas, mazurkas, modern waltzes, etc. He also had a great deal of this in his head, but I had no reason to delve further into this part of his repertoire." The transcriptions in Folkmusikkommissionen's collections are therefore not in any way representative of the entire repertoire of the musicians and singers, but only the part that the collector considered interesting to document of what the musicians and singers in their turn were interested in performing for the collector.

The transcriptions are often the result of a meeting between a collector and a musician or singer, while in other cases the musicians have transcribed parts of their own repertoire and sent it to Folkmusikkommissionen. (Copies of existing private music books were also made during the transcription work and are then contained in the same volumes as the transcriptions.) The collections of the commission also contain the transcriptions in various stages of clean copying, revision or arrangement. Especially Nils Andersson's transcriptions are preserved in their first swiftly transcribed form, while other collectors sent in neatly written and edited collections. In the large collections from John Enninger (1844–1908) and Carl Eric Södling (1819–1884), which came to Folkmusikkommissionen after they died, the tunes are in many cases arranged for the piano, which was more of a rule than an exception in much of the traditional music published during the 19th century. In the digitised collections there are also arrangements by Olof Andersson and others of tunes that had previously been transcribed.

While the collection of traditional music in Sweden during the 19th century was much dominated by vocal music, especially what we now call medieval ballads, the interest of Folkmusikkommissionen was directed more towards instrumental music. Songs were also requested, but not as much as instrumental tunes, and among the vocal genres folk versions of psalm melodies (church hymns) were particularly requested. For example, Olof Andersson's collection tour to the Swedish-speaking parts of Estonia in 1931 was motivated by the probability of finding rich collections of folk variants of hymns. These hopes were fulfilled, and he also had the opportunity to transcribe tunes during this journey.

This website uses cookies.

Read about how the Swedish Performing Arts Agency processes personal data.