Film Chronicles Stories of Maine's Swedish Immigrants. Listen to the interview with Dan Olson and Brenda Jepson from MPBN radio 4/15/11
116 Station Road
PO Box 33
New Sweden, ME, 04762
Carolyn Hildebrand email@example.com
280 Main Street
Stockholm, ME 04783
John & Rosemary Hede
1149 New Sweden Rd.
Woodland, ME 04736
As a field researcher curious about traditional arts I enjoy being surprised often by what I find in the field. I especially enjoyed the unexpected surprise of seeing a Swedish psalmodikon for the first time at the New Sweden Museum.
The psalmodikon in made from a single string mounted on a wooden resonator box and can be plucked or bowed. The one on display at the museum is roughly 40 inches long and has markings indicating finger positions. It most closely resembles a dulcimer, but with only one string.
It was used widely in the Swedish and Norwegian churches in the early nineteenth century. Many rural churches at this time were poor and could not afford organs or other instruments. And there was the problem of not having musical training even if there were instruments. As singing began to gradually fade from the church services, many pastors became concerned. ( Thanks to Mabel Todd, New Sweden Museum curator, for directing me to Ardith K. Melloh's article "Grandfather's Songbook; Or, The Psalmodikon in America" from the Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly. October 1981.)
In 1828, Swedish pastor Johannes Dillner offered a solution in the psalmodikon (actually an ancient Greek instrument; the word meaning "that pertaining to the song"). It became immensely popular because it was inexpensive, easy to learn, and most of all, it succeeded in encouraging congregations to sing more.
Report on Discovery Research Fieldwork in the Swedish Colony by Matthew Shippee Contractor, Maine Arts Commission, Traditional Arts Division June, 2001. (413) 628-0159 firstname.lastname@example.org. This report was funded in part by a grant from The Maine Arts Commission, the New Century Community Program, and the National Endowment of the Arts, a federal agency. The New Century Community Program is a collaborative initiative of seven cultural organizations providing matching grants and technical assistance to Maine communities. Funded by the people of Maine, the program seeks to assist towns in developing their cultural and educational resources