MUSV2004 - Nordic Music: From National Romanticism to Sámi Rap


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

This course is an introduction to music of the Nordic countries – Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Nordic countries have nurtured a range of different musicians, instruments, traditions, scenes and styles, from the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle to the Icelandic rock group Sigur Rós, from the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius to the Swedish jazz group Esbjörn Svensson Trio, from Viking metal to Sámi joik. Yet, many commentators maintain that the music of the Nordic countries is somehow united by certain common characteristics, such as a connection to folk traditions, a melancholic mood, and a strong bond with the natural landscape. In this course, we will take a critical look at how tropes about Nordic music have emerged from the nineteenth century and how they have been employed and challenged by contemporary artists and musical institutions. We will explore different genres of music – traditional, popular, jazz and Western art music – and situate them within their historical and social contexts. Case studies we will analyse include Norwegian fiddle music, Sámi rap, the Icelandic singer and songwriter Björk, new Finnish folk music, Nordic jazz, Edvard Grieg and Black metal. Through these case studies, a number of theoretical issues will be explored, including national romanticism, environmentalism, Indigeneity, revival, religion, multiculturalism and globalization.

Learning outcome

Knowledge:Students who complete this course successfully will have: 1. gained knowledge of specific musical artists, traditions and institutions in the Nordic region2. learned how to critically discuss themes around Nordic music 3. deepened their understanding of important contemporary debates in the field of Nordic musicSkills:Students who complete this course will have: 1. gained the ability to discuss literature on Nordic music2. developed their skills in critically analysing audio-visual material3. deepened their expertise in presenting (both orally and in writing) original thoughts on current debates

Learning methods and activities

This course will consist of mandatory lectures based on readings and audio-visual case studies. The lectures will also incorporate small student discussions and group activities. It is expected that students will be prepared to discuss the set texts at each lecture.

Compulsory assignments

  • Satisfactory participation in compulsory instruction

Further on evaluation

Students are required to submit one semester essay due at the end of the course. The essay should be around 15 pages long, with font size 12, line spacing 1.5.If the course is not passed, the student must retake the whole assessment. If the candidate retakes the exam, there is no need to retake the compulsory assignments.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Foundation courses, level I



Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Music History
  • Musicology
  • Scandinavian Language and Literature
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Music


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