Collection Connections: Hardanger Fiddles

Folk Art School

Vesterheim Folk Art School

Collection Connections: Hardanger Fiddles

February 16, 2021 (7:00-8:00 PM CT) with Karen Rebholz

Level of Instruction
Everyone welcome.
$20.00 Members
$20.00 Non-members

Join Vesterheim Gold Medalist Karen Rebholz and Vesterheim Collections Manager Jennifer Kovarik as they discuss Hardanger fiddles, the national instrument of Norway. Harkening back to its inception in the Baroque period, the Hardanger fiddle is richly ornamented with shell, bone, and ink and is played with asymmetric rhythms, multiple tunings, and non standard tones. The Hardanger fiddle has four or five sympathetic strings that resonate with the four bowed strings producing an ethereal sound. The traditional music has been preserved by means of an unbroken aural chain. Using examples from Vesterheim’s collection and Karen’s own collection, they will show how each fiddle is a work of art with unique form, decoration, and sound.


Collection Connections is a series of Vesterheim-hosted conversations between the museum’s collections staff and folk-art school instructors. Highlighting the incredible folk-art collection at Vesterheim, these conversations are also opportunities for you to stay connected with your folk-art community during this unpredictable time. Each gathering will highlight pieces from the collection as explained, interpreted, and appreciated by a master folk artist. 

If you have questions, please contact Andrew Ellingsen, Folk Art Program Coordinator (

Supplies: A computer, laptop, or tablet with a camera and mic as well as a fast, reliable internet connection.

Special Instructions: You will receive a link to the Zoom session by email sometime during the week prior to the class.

Enrollment Deadline: February 14, 2021

Registration for this class has closed.

About the Instructor

Karen Rebholz

Karen Rebholz

Karen Rebholz combined her interests in art, science, and music when she began to build Hardanger fiddles in 2012. She also repairs and appraises Hardanger fiddles, co-leads Fykerud’n Spelemannslag, and performs with Ladies of the Fjord. Karen holds undergraduate degrees in art and biochemistry and a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and has studied with Sigvald Rørlien at Ole Bull Akademiet in Voss, Norway. She was awarded a Vesterheim Gold Medal, and Best of Show and People’s Choice awards in 2019, and is a two-time folk arts fellowship recipient from the American Scandinavian Foundation. More information about Karen can be found at her website here

Learn more: Watch this video, Collections Connections: Hardanger Fiddles with Karen Rebholz, where Karen discuss Hardanger fiddles, the national instrument of Norway, featuring fiddles in Vesterheim's collection.