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The nyckelharpa is a stringed instrument which is played with a short bow. Whereas a violin player presses the strings on the fretboard with his fingers to produce the correct tone, the nyckelharpa player presses keys which have tangents that reach up and touch the strings, thus creating the tone.
There are also sympathetic strings which enhance the sound by creating an echo effect.
The nyckelharpa, or key fiddle, dates back to the Middle Ages in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Italy. After the baroque period it was only played in the Swedish region of Uppland.
Nowadays the chromatic nyckelharpa is a versatile instrument which is played not only in Swedish folk music but also in wide range of different music genres.
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