Keyed fiddle (nyckelharpa) and bow

19th century

Object Place: Sweden


Length 80.5 cm, width 18.5 cm (Length 31 11/16 in., width 7 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Musical Instrument Gallery (Gallery 103D)


Musical Instruments



An elongated oval body with very small middle bouts, carved with its neck and peg-board from a solid block of pine. Highly arched belly of pine, with two large oval sound-holes and one small heart-shaped hole beneath the key-box. The key-box is attached to the neck and contains twenty-three keys with tangents. Fourteen posterior sagittal pegs, of which eight are inserted in the peg-board and six in the neck; the peg for the chanterelle string has an extra large and long head for convenience of tuning. Four playing strings, three of which are of gut and one (bass) of wound wire; the chanterelle is stopped by nineteen keys; the second melody string is stopped by four keys; ten sympathetic strings of thin steel wire. Tail-piece of maple, stained black, with a long stem ending with a hook which holds it at th the lower end of the sound-box; the tail-piece is prevented from shifting by a gut loop attached to the end-piece carved integral with the body. The upper wall of the key-box is provided with holes for strings serving as a primitive nut. The bridge of maple has a peculiar shape, very slightly curved at the top. The sound-post has square ends and cylindrical middle part; loosely fitted against the belly, but mortised into the back and held in position by a wedge inserted in the hole in the back. Gayly colored, hand-woven, woollen belt for holding the instrument is attached by two leather loops.


Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

Credit Line

Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection