Jouhikko: An Instrumental Evolution
Author: Rachel Bracker
Mentor: Dr. Timothy Smit, Department of History
The Jouhikko is a unique instrument from Finland that has been in use since around the twelfth century. The Jouhikko is a member of the bowed lyre instrumental family, and its origin is surrounded in mystery and uncertainty. However, references to the Jouhikko, and instruments which could be potentially related to it, can be found in the Finnish epic the Kalevala and in archaeological sites throughout the Scandinavian region. The first portion of this project investigates the evolution of the Jouhikko over time. This is done by examining the history of instruments with similar designs and/or construction, such as the Gusli and the Erhu, as well as looking into the evolution of the bow. The playing styles of instruments from the neighboring regions, such as of Novgorod Russia and the Asian Steppes, are also examined. The second portion of this thesis documents how I constructed my own replica of a Jouhikko and compares my construction method with the method used by a professional luthier. The final portion of this thesis will analyze different methods used to play the Jouhikko, and compares these methods to the playing styles of the Erhu, Gusli, and the Kantele.
Semester/Year of Award
Mentor Professional Affiliation
Open Access Thesis
Department Name when Degree Awarded
Bracker, Rachel E., "Jouhikko: An Instrumental Evolution" (2017). Honors Theses. 454.