Two 5-string kanteles from the 19th century


July 03, 2019

There is a new video on Arja’s  youtube-chanel played on two 19th century 5-string kantele replicas. They are hollowed out from below in accordance with the northern models, and both are made by Rauno Nieminen. (Read more: The Polymorphic Kantele.)

The 5-string kantele from Northern Ostrobothnia made by H. Roponen in 1893 is kept at the folk instrument museum in Kaustinen (tay229).  The kantele is made of aspen, and it is very light. According to the information from the museum the original string material may have been gut, and later some metal. This replica has viscose strings, which sound like horse-hair but their tuning is more reliable.

The other kantele on the video is a replica of a vaskikantele from 1833 made by runosinger Ontrei Malinen in Viena Karelia. The original instrument (K1855:37) belongs to the collections of the Finnish Nationalmuseum. The sound box is made of pine and is fairly heavy. Strings are in accordance to the usual kantele string material on the 19th century which is “vaski” (a Finnish word for copper alloys like bronze and brass), and thus the name “vaskikantele”.

On this song the kanteles are tuned a fift apart: the fift string of the bronze string kantele is the same tone as the first string on the viscose string kantele (Eflat4).