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  • Rosenberg, Susanne
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.
    Abstract [en]

    Recordings and transcriptions of polyphonic singing is rare to find in the Swedish-speaking areas of the Nordic countries. The dominating tradition is a solo tradition. This paper present and discuss strategies in polyphonic singing in some rare recordings from the Swedish-speaking areas and sets them in relation to descriptions of older communal collective singing from the 19th century and back.

    The phonograph recordings were made in 1908 in the Swedish speaking parts of southern Finland. These are the oldest recordings of singing in Swedish language and present polyphonic singing with two singers, at the time well-known (Ahlbäck, 2003; Häggman, 1992).

    The singing style shows features much alike traditional solo singing from the Nordic countries: relatively high register for male voice, singing on nasal consonants etc. (Gjertsen, 1985; Ramsten & Jersild, 1988; Rosenberg, 1986, 1993, 2009). The tonality is modal in “herding-call mode” (Ahlbäck, 1986), with strong focus on tonal center, fifth and fourth. The singers change roles during their singing and present independent melodic lines including ornamentation and microtonality in the polyphonic setting, with phrases often ending on same pitch.


    What are the strategies of the two singers? This paper presents a view that both singers hold in their memory a kind of framework of the melodic idea of “the song” rather than a melodic line with an accompaniment. Suggesting that the singers have a perception of the mode, lyrics and melodic framework, but that the interpretation, the exact version of the song never comes out the same. This concept has been pointed out and described by e.g. Bronson (Bronson, 1969)


    Susanne Rosenberg is a professor in folk singing and Doctor of Music (DocMus) at the Royal College of Music, Sweden. She is also a well-known singer and has been a pioneer in rediscovering old singing styles and polyphonic singing in an innovative way, using traits from old tradition both Swedish and elsewhere to form music of today as presented both on CD and articles. Read more https://heartbeatbreathe.com/

  • Ahlbäck, Sven
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music. Kungliga Musikhögskolan, Stockholm.
    Melody Beyond Notes: A Study of Melody Cognition2004Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract Melody beyond notes - a study of melody cognition Keywords: Melody, Cognition, Melodic segmentation, Melodic Parallelism, Pitch Structure,

    Meter, Rhythm, Grouping, Swedish Folk Music, Music Theory, Computer-aided analysis This thesis is a music theoretical approach to cognition of surface structure in monophonic melodies. It can briefly be described as a study into what extent we may acquire a common experience of melodic structure, such as phrase structure, only from listening to a melody. More precisely, this work concerns the question as to whether a cognitively based method of analysis can provide analyses of melodic surface structures in different styles that

    will concur with listeners’ conceptions better than chance. In order to investigate this question a general model of melody cognition was

    developed, relying primarily on a few general cognitive principles. The model was designed to be general in the sense that it should apply to any style for which the concept of melody is relevant. This model provided the framework for a computer-aided method of analysis, which performs analysis of different aspects of melodic surface structure based on information of relative pitch and temporal information only. These aspects involve: Categorical perception of pitch and duration at basic levels, such as context-sensitive quantization and melodic pitch categorization; Analysis of metrical and non-metrical temporal structures, e,g. heterometric structures; phrase and section structure, including analysis of structural implications of melodic similarity, structural hierarchy and symmetry. This development has required new theoretical concepts and methods to be created, e.g. regarding the relationship between rhythm and meter, some of which are presented for the first time is this thesis.

    In order to evaluate the performance of the model a series of listener tests were performed, which together with corpuses of musical notations from different styles, constituted the reference material of the study. This material has included Scandinavian folk music styles and Western classical music, but also examples of Eastern European folk music, Middle East and Indian Classical music, Jazz and Western popular song.

    The results of these tests indicated that melody can be conceived differently by people even within a limited cultural sphere. But the results also suggested that this variability is possible to model by a rule-based method of analysis, since the predictions given by the model generally were well above chance level. It is herein suggested that variability in grouping conception to a considerable degree can be accounted for in terms of start- and end-oriented grouping preference. Moreover, the results also indicate that important aspects of even culturally foreign music can be conveyed, also in limited melodic stimuli.

    Generally, the results support the assumption of a general cognitive framework for melodic surface structure. This might be interpreted as to indicate that, metaphorically speaking; melody may indeed be a universal ‘language’, but one which we all understand in our own way.

  • Rosenberg, Susanne
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.
    Variation – ett sätt att tänka?: Om några sångares variation och analysmetoder för att undersöka denna2009In: Tradisjonell sang som levenede prosess: Nordiske studier i stabilitet og forandring, gjentagelse og variasjon. / [ed] L. Halskov Hansen, A. N. Ressem, & I. E. Åkesson, Oslo: Novus Forlag, 2009, p. 157-180Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many scholars (Kvideland, Ond, Lönnroth, Parry and others) have observed that variation is a given constituent of oral tradition – a way of thinking. Applied to traditional vocal music, this conception entails that there is no such thing as an original or correct version of a song. The essence of the notion is that the “work of art” comes into being the moment it is sung, which means that the existence of the song depends on our singing it. But if we create a song anew every time we sing it, and this is its only existence, where then does this thing we call the song begin and end – what is constant and what is variable?

    In an attempt to shed some light on the phenomenon of variability, the present author has chosen to examine a set of songs as performed by seven different singers (born between 1860 and 1970). The study of variation is carried out by means of different methods of analysis, some of which are well proven and some are new in relation to the twin objective of both looking at variation in itself and assessing the applicability of the different methods. The article examines how the method of analysis influences the result. Methods such as western notation system, note-site analysis, melodic graph analysis, melodic skeleton analysis, syllable analysis, music-metric syllable raster, and sound analysis/acoustic analysis produce a degree of discrepant results or emphasise different parameters: tonal variation can be detected by using the western system of note writing, variation of form or variation of the melody-lines between different stanzas is best detected using melodic graphs, music metric syllable raster reveals variation in the number and placing of syllables in the phrases, sound analysis based on layered sound files yields information about tempo, phrasing and dynamics.

  • Rosenberg, Susanne
    et al.
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.
    Sundberg, Johan
    ”En utsmyckning av oändligheten runt omkring”: på jakt efter kulningens dragläge2008In: Noterat, ISSN 1400-7339, Vol. 16, p. 100--108Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Hur mycket måste man ta i för att det skall bli det en stark kulningston? Behöver man en speciell röstteknik för kulning? Hur starkt är kulning? Finns det ett kulningens optimala dragläge? Här några frågor som denna artikel försöker belysa. 

  • Rosenberg, Susanne
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.
    Kulning – an ornamentation of the surrounding emptiness: about the unique Scandinavian herding calls2014In: Voice and Speech Review, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 100-105Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is hard to describe in words both how kulning sounds and how you do it. The starting point for the vocal technique is that you want to be heard and to communicate outdoors with the help of the voice. As it has mainly been women who have traditionally worked on the fäbod (summer grazing pasture with small buildings for people, pets, dairy products, and animal feed), the use of the voice has also evolved according to the strengths and limitations of the female voice.

  • Rosenberg, Susanne
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.
    With the voice, the tradition and the mp3-player: About educating folk singers at university level2009In: 1976-2006, 30 år med folkmusik på KMH / [ed] Sven Ahlbäck, Petter Berndalen, Jonas Hjalmarsson, Bridget Marsden, Olof Misgeld, Susanne Rosenberg, Pernilla Willman, Kungl. Musikhögskolan , 2009Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This Article describes the development of teaching folk singing within higher education. It describes the ideas of the voice pedagogy, how to use singing style parameters, and also gives an overview of the introduction of folk singing into KMH (Royal College of Music), in Stockholm on a more general level. The article was originally written in Swedish.

  • Rosenberg, Susanne
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.
    Med rösten, traditionen och mp3-spelaren: Om att utbilda folksångare på musikhögskola2009In: 1976-2006, 30 år med folkmusik på KMH / [ed] Sven Ahlbäck, Petter Berndalen, Jonas Hjalmarsson, Bridget Marsden, Olof Misgeld, Susanne Rosenberg, Pernilla Willman, Linköping: Kungl. Musikhögskolan , 2009, p. 62-84Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Artikeln beskriver utvecklingen av folksångsmetodik och undervisning i folksång vid Kungl. Musikhögskolan i Stockholm. 

  • Rosenberg, Susanne
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.
    Is it better to learn from Näcken?: Keynote speech by Susanne Rosenberg, professor in folk singing at Royal College of Music in Stockholm2018In: / [ed] Joshua Dickson, 2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This Keynote-presentation is concentrated on the question of folk music in higher education. The Keynote is divided into five different parts; The student, The teacher, The context, The qualities, The tradition, and describes what they mean and the relations between them. The presentation argues that learning folk music takes place where there is possible to meet and communicate and that this might as well be within a higher music education.

  • Rosenberg, Susanne
    Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Department of Folk Music.
    Kulning nu2019In: Fäbodlandskap och vallmusik: Dalarnas hembygdsbok årgång 89 / [ed] Jennie Tiderman-Österberg, Falun: Dalarnas Fornminnes- och Hembygdsförbund , 2019, p. 161-169Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [sv]

    Artikeln belyser kulnings plats i en nutida kontext, där den numera kan höras i många fler sammanhang än på den ursprungliga fäboden. Artikeln beskriver kulning idag som en folkrörelse, där både amatörer och professionella utövare möts, och där kulning som uttryck har en stark dragningskraft på alla som får höra eller prova och där nutida kursdeltagares ord som urkraft, frihet, natur mm.  speglar detta. Kulning finns idag inte bara på fäboden eller konsertscenen utan också i TV, radio, teater, kyrkor, klubbar etc. Kulning tillhör alla.