Grooving with a few notes – Playing for dance from a solo musician’s point of view

Taideyliopiston Sibelius-Akatemia
Kansanmusiikin aineryhmä

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

1.1 Background
1.2 Research questions and starting point

2 Theoretical framework

2.1 Saarijärvi kantele
2.2 Playing for dance

3 Research methodology

3.1 Interviews
3.2 Practice

3.2.1 Cooperating with dancers
3.2.2 Recording/filming my playing Traditional tunes from the Nordic countries Composing own music Improvisation

3.2.3 Method of simplicity – Ellika’s method

3.3 Technical working

3.3.1 Analyzing my playing technique
3.3.2 Emotional aspect to playing

3.4 Artistic journal

4 Results

4.1 Rhythmicality and groove
4.2 Communication and trust
4.3 Benefits and challenges

5 Conclusions

6 Discussion




1 Introduction

1.1 Background

Since childhood, I’ve been interested in music, and at the age of 5, I discovered kantele and fell straight away in love with its sound. The versatility of the kantele as an instrument has always fascinated me. In my first years of music school, I received both classical and folk education, but in the later years, my focus became folk music. In the Ilomantsi summer kantele camp, where Maija Kauhanen was teaching, I had my first encounter with Saarijärvi kantele, which is one type of kantele. The technique of stick playing on Saarijärvi kantele, and its distinct sound, attracted me. It was an obvious choice to start playing this type of kantele, and it grew into my main instrument. In 2019 I graduated in music pedagogy from the Centria University of Applied Sciences in Kokkola. After these studies, I wanted to deepen my artistic side, and I got accepted into the Nordic Master in Folk Music program.

I identify myself as a kantele player, pedagogue, musician, and composer who has specialized in kanteles and especially in Saarijärvi kantele. Besides my love for the kantele and folk music, dancing has always been close to my heart, and studying the Nordic Master in Folk Music gave me an excellent opportunity to focus on this topic and deepen my knowledge and skills in the subject. For a kantele player, there are very few chances to play for dancing, I only remember playing for dance with the bigger ensemble in my teenage years. Already at the beginning of my master’s studies, I got the idea of working with playing for dance and looking at it from the solo musician’s point of view. The Nordic folk music field was a fertile base for working on research.