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Joik is the traditional song of the Saami, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia.

Religious folk songs

Melodies to Protestant texts are called religious folk songs (religiøse folketonar), and originated after the Reformation.


Stev are songs with a fixed rhyme and verse pattern. They have four lines per verse in a fixed rhythm, and the singer marks the rhythm by tapping their foot.

Bygdeviser, skillingsviser (Country songs and "penny" songs)

Bygdeviser and skillingsviser are newer songs from the 1800's and 1900's, usually composed by well-known authors and set to existing melodies.

Ballader (ballads)

Ballads have their roots in the Middle Ages, and they were still being sung in living tradition at the time when they were first collected and notated by researchers in the 1800's and 1900's.

Bånsullar (lullabies)

Lokk (herding calls)

“Lokk” is singing or calling to barnyard animals to beckon them home to be milked or fed.


The most common instruments which are used in traditional Norwegian folk music are the ordinary violin, the hardingfele, and various types of accordions.

Vocal music

There are several genres within the vocal folk music tradition in Norway--herding calls, lullabies, ballads, country songs, stev, and religious folk songs.

Traditional dance

The different bygdedans (literally, "country dance") dances are classified according to whether their basic rhythm can be classified as 3/4 time, or as 2/4 or 6/8 time.