The Official Karelia
  Русская версияEnglish versionSuomalainen versio
  |About Karelia |Symbols   |Tourism |  Cooperation |

Jouhikko

Jouhikko

Jouhikko

The jouhikko (Karelian jouhikko, Finnish jouhikas) is a Karelian and Finnish bow instrument, 'bowed kantele'. The jouhikko corresponds to a dugout egg- or boat-shaped backet with a wide figured fingerboard with a special cut to insert the hand. There are figured jouhikkos looking like a female figure (villages of Impilahti and Kolatselga), and with rounded mandolin-like bodies (Jyväskylä, Middle Finland). Sounding board is inserted, bolted in a special inner slot, later — pasted-in or nailed.

Most of instruments have one or more soundholes. Two or three strings of 4 or 6 strands of horsehair, vien or metal strings are drawn by pins. The string-holding mechanism includes a tail-piece and an easily-adjustable support (bridge). The fiddlestick is arched, its form resembles a bow. To improve the sound quality the horsehair part of the fiddlestick was rubbed with pitch.

When playing the musician (these are only men, as a rule) presses jouhikko against the knee or holds his knees around the lower part of the instrument. The strings one-by one are pressed with the back of the fingers, playing the tune, while other strings overtone. As a tradition, the kantele and jouhikko musicians play common repertoir: runes, songs, and dancing melodies characteristic for northern Ladoga lakeside. The jouhikko is useed extensively in Karelia in concert and teaching practice.

I. Semakova
Encyclopedia Karelia is published by PetroPress Publishing House ©
Pervomaisky Ave. 48, Petrozavodsk

Technical support
Created: May 22, 2009. Last updated: September 16, 2009.
© State Committee of the RK for ICT Development, 1998-2015