The Prehistory of Music (Morley) / Auditory Archaeology (Mills)

Norwegian Archaeological  Review 47/2: 218–220 (2014)

Review of Iain Morley: The Prehistory of Music: Human Evolution, Archaeology, and the Origins of Musicality, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013 /Steve Mills: Auditory Archaeology. Understanding Sound and Hearing in the Past, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA, 2014


Kan vi være ingenting?

Morgenbladet 25.7: 35 (2014)

Review of Benedicte Maurseth: Å vera ingenting. Samtalar med spelemannen Knut Hamre. Samlaget, Oslo, 2014.

Articles and book chapters

Classification of Sound, Sound Tools and Soundscapes

A.-K. Salmi, T. Äikäs and J. Ikäheimo (eds.) Sounds Like Theory. Monographs of the Archaeological Society of Finland 2: 73–84 (2014)

How did prehistoric people relate to sound? What significance did various kinds of sound have for them? Classification represents a fundamental approach to these questions. The concepts and classifications we use are indicative of our thinking as modern humans. We often classify sound either as intentional or non-intentional, and either as music or non-music. Moreover, as researchers we relate sound to diverse categories such as religion, ritual, hunting, communication, and others. Sounds and sound tools of the past, and the soundscapes they were part of, might be approached from different angles. Music is a problematic concept with an ethnocentric bias. Intentional sound is a better name. A tripartite classification of intentional sound is suggested, distinguishing between sounds made for functional reasons, for ritual reasons, and, finally, for pleasure and pure expression.

Published in printed journal and online (oa).

Articles and book chapters

Nytt norsk metall

Munnharpa 61: 3–6

Article about metal detector finds of munnharpe in Norway

Articles and book chapters

Klokkesteinen ved Aga

Gjermund Kolltveit and Jarle K. Øvrehus. Hardanger (yearbook): 143–152 (2013)

Norwegian article about the ringing stone by Aga, Hardanger


Den nordiske tone

Morgenbladet 12.7: 33 (2013)

Review of Tranotra: Tranotra

Articles and book chapters

The Ritual Significance of the Scandinavian Bronze Age Lurs: An Examination Based on Ethnographic Analogies

R. Jiménes, R. Till and M. Howell (eds.), Music and Ritual – Bridging Material and Living Cultures, Ekho Verlag, Berlin: 23–44 (2013)

The horns of the Scandinavian Bronze Age—the so called bronze lurs—were originally deposited in pairs as sacrifices, most of them in wetlands. It is commonly accepted that these instruments were used for ritual and cultic purposes. Based on the archaeological contexts of the finds, icono- graphical sources, and analogies drawn from different instrument traditions, the article dis- cusses and re-examines the ritual significance of the bronze lurs and their sound. It also analyses the utility value of analogy, and discusses the meaning and usability of the concept of ritual, in connection with religion, performance and music. Other lip-vibrated aerophones from several continents might in various ways provide some parallels to bronze lurs. From archaeological sources the lurs could be compared to the bronze horns of Ireland. Other European ancient trumpets are less relevant analogies, but still important as comparative material. One plausible interpretation of the ritual use of bronze lurs is that they were part of calendar celebrations that worshipped the sun, and thus ensured cyclical renewal, continuity and cosmological order.


Skjoldmøyslaget – Faremoslåttar frå Setesdal

Falck forlag, Oslo (2012)

Norwegian book about the folk music album Skjoldmøyslaget.

Back cover text (Norwegian): Våren 2011 inviterte Morgenbladet og Falck forlag 100 norske musikere, fra alle sjangre, aldre og geografiske steder, til å sende inn lister over sine ti favorittplater. Resultatet var ei liste over norgeshistoriens 100 beste plater, stemt frem av musikerne selv. Til sammen tolv av platene er så langt blitt hedret med hver sin bok. Skjoldmøyslaget ble nummer 14 på lista.

Skjoldmøyslaget er en plate med tradisjonelle slåtter spilt på hardingfele og munnharpe, men platen har appell langt utover folkemusikkens vanlige grenser. The Rolling Stones-gitaristen Keith Richards er en av dem som oppdaget slåttemusikken fra Setesdal gjennom Skjoldmøyslaget. I denne boken følger vi slåttene på deres reise gjennom historien, og blir med på tur rundt i Norge og verden når det musikalske og mytologiske landskapet på Skjoldmøyslaget undersøkes.

110 pages, Norwegian text

Articles and book chapters

Med krøll på tunga

Munnharpa 56: 9–11 (2012)

Norwegian article about jew’s harps being played with the tongue of the player.


Music and Identity in Norway and Beyond

Folkemusikk 4: 32 (2011)

Review of Thomas Solomon (ed.): Music and Identity in Norway and Beyond, Fagbokforlaget 2011