Hallvard T. Bjørgum plays in ecstasy with the help of frame mowers – Culture

Hallvard T. Bjørgum plays in ecstasy with the help of frame mowers – Culture

In the mid-19th century, Mellargöten was Norway’s biggest rock star. Fiddler Hardinge went on foot from village to town, and everywhere he went, people gathered in large numbers.

Specifically, there was a rumor that the Fiddler had made a pact with the Fossegrimen, or the Devil himself, to obtain his special abilities.

He was known to go into a trance while playing. On some occasions, listeners had to tear the violin from his hands to force him to stop.

Trans Player: Torgeir Ogundsson aka Myllarguten came from Rawland in Telemark.

Photo: Poe Museum

Mellargottin died in 1872, two years before the gramophone was invented, and thus his enthusiastic performances remained stored only in the hearts and minds of the public.

Stories became legends, legends became legends, and the mysterious game of ecstasy gradually disappeared from popular memory.

That means he never woke up. In a small town, far in the inner valley, there are still players left from the old school.

Mylarguten legacy

In Rysstad in Setesdal, we meet the violinist Hallvard T. Bjørgum (67). He has lived in the valley all his life and had a classic rural upbringing with “cars, firearms, and brewing beer in an anthill in the woods.”

Halvard te Borgum

Genealogy: Setesdal is one of the remote valley regions in southern Norway. Halvard’s parents had triplets. In other words, the violinist is his own company.

Photo: Javier Urres/NRK

But the valley is also known as a breeding ground for folk music, and Hallvard joins a long line of musicians in his family. His father, Torleiv H. Bjørgum, played literally until the end when he died with his violin in hand during the annual meeting of the Setesdal Spelemannslag in 1990.

Hallvard himself received his first Hardinge violin when he was four years old, and from then on devoted his life to playing the violin. Over the years, he also acquired the largest collection of Hardinge violins in Norway – among other things, one of his great role models.

This is one of the most legendary scams in the entire country. It has ten strings and was owned by Melärgötten, the most legendary violinist in the entire country, explains Hallvard.

Hallvard T. Bjørgum and violin by Myllarguten

From one legend to another: Hallvard T. Bjørgum has also become a living legend of folk music. He has won numerous scenic play and violinist awards. In 2014, he was knighted in the Order of St Olav “for his outstanding importance in popular music”.

Photo: Javier Urres/NRK

Naturally, Hallvard knew the stories of Melargoten’s ecstasy well. He also says that he himself had similar experiences.

With the help of old haystacks, he claims to be able to play in a trance.

Bas gurrlau

Hallvard T. Bjørgum tunes the strings on the stringed violin lower than usual. He sets the darkest string very low – for what he calls “bass sound.”

Muted tuning is used when playing ‘rammeslåtar’, which means strong/powerful beats. The genre of storytelling is already mentioned in the 15th century Icelandic “Boz Saga”.

Since these melodies VOre is associated with ecstasy, mysticism, and Satan himself.

Halvard te Borgum

Love: Find someone who looks at you the way Hallvard looks at Hardingvilla.

Photo: Javier Urres/NRK

In Setesdal, the phrase “coming to the frame farm” means a play of the senses and a collection. In the 19th century, myths about extraterrestrial playing led the church to view the violin as a demonic instrument.

In several places in the country, felt was burned at the stake. In some areas of the valley, folk music has been eliminated.

In other words, Halvard will play with us in a strong way. According to the violinist, Nordafjells’ frame castle is known to have a “trance-inducing effect.”

Hallvard describes ecstasy as an extreme state. The experience stands out from everything else and is therefore difficult to describe in words.

It’s a powerful luxury. But euphoria also creates a certain fear in me. I feel like I’m losing control and I’m thinking: “What the hell is going on?”

It’s time to contact one of the well-known neuroscientists in the USA to get an answer to the big question:

What’s going on with Hallvard T. Bjørgum?

Perfect ecstasy music

Endre Viskontas is a professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco. She is a neuroscientist, opera singer, and expert on how music affects our brain.

Naturally, she could not know exactly what was going on in the mind of Hallvard t Burgum in Setesdal. (That’s too much to ask of anyone, even a neuroscientist.)

But she sees no reason to doubt his experiments.

Interior Viscontas

She explains that ecstasy is a form of altered consciousness.

According to the researcher, this state has many similarities with sleep. She can And Make sure that one can fall into a trance from playing and listening to music. At least a certain type of music.

Some musical characteristics lend themselves better than others as trance inducers.

Remember the obvious type of music “Ecstasy” is a good example, but it shows that too rammeslåtane identifies several points on the list of what constitutes good trance music:


There are few things that affect our brain more powerfully than rhythm. It is almost impossible for a person to listen to rhythmic music without moving. In this respect, we as a species are unique: no other animal reacts in the same way.

In many cultures, rhythm and trance are closely linked, for example shamans drag themselves into ecstatic experiences.


Shaman: Recent research on shamans who play drums has shown that their brain activity changes dramatically during trance.

Photo: Аркадий Зарубин / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

The frame beats are also strongly rhythmic. As Hallvard plays the violin, he stomps his feet in a suggestive 6/8 rhythm.


One of the main ingredients in trance music is… a lot Repetition, says Endrei Viskontas.

She also explains that orgasm occurs in a network in the brain called the default mode network. This system is activated when we are not concentrating or concentrating on something.

Through repetition, we get the music under our skin. The game is played automatically, without the musician needing to use his or her mental powers.

A jazz musician who improvises around a recurring theme has an active “default mode network,” says a neuroscientist.

Keith Jarrett plays the piano

Jazz: It is not known whether jazz pianist Keith Jarrett ever played in a trance state. But something or other went through his head anyway.

Photo: Ramseyer/Keystone

Hallvard T. Bjørgum can confirm that repetition was an important factor during his trance experiences.

Before, I could play for many hours without stopping. At weddings in the old days, violinists could play for days, but then they needed alcohol, says Halvard.

Is intoxication necessary to enter a trance?

– It is never the starting point, but it can help maintain and enhance the state of mind to some extent.

Deep voice

Some of the most important research on music and the brain in the past ten years has been conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There they discovered that deep, steady bass tones have a very special effect on the brain.

These sound waves can precisely synchronize with brain waves, oscillating at the same frequency. This is how dark tones can tangibly change a person’s state of mind.

Inspired by the research project, the composer has Todd Mcover He composed a melody where the deep bass note of 40 Hz is constant and continues throughout the entire melody.

Listen and feel if consciousness changes:

Download SoundCloud content

Rammeslåtane is known for its very deep bass tones. It is also common to use the darker string on these instruments to create a deep tone underneath the melody. Strings in Hardinge’s violin It also helps create a sea of ​​tones and overtones.

This gives the instrument a very rich sound with lighter and darker tones than those actually played by the violinist.

Hardinge violin spectrometer

One note or 25 notes?: What in a graphic display might seem like a sea of ​​different notes, is just one note on the violin.

to leave of

For several hundred years, Norwegian players have been blamed for being possessed by secret forces. Participatory experiences have also been strongly linked to ecstasy in other cultures.

– sEveryone has a religious experience, but I am neither threatened nor spiritual, says Halvard T. Bjørjom.

However, he admits that he has a strong feeling that he is giving himself over to something else (or someone?). So what is this? something?

Halvard te Borgum

Performing extreme sports: – This is my extreme sport, says Hallvard and shows off the violin. He knows many people who have been injured by playing too hard and for too long, for example violinist Tarkjil Aslaksson Østad, who suffered a major bruise in his back.

Photo: Javier Urres/NRK

Somehow, science can confirm that the violinists were indeed possessed But not necessarily by Satan or Fossegrimen.

Violinists were obsessed with music.

(And some wine).

Watch NRK’s ​​new documentary series on Norwegian folk music here:

Harmonica player Kenneth Lane searches for mystery in popular music, but is there still mystery in 2023?


Do you have any thoughts on this case or tips for other stories we should look into? I would be very happy with all the input!

Want to learn more about how music affects the brain? Read Professor Endre Visconta’s thoughts on Matoma’s tears:

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Ashura Okorie

Ashura Okorie

"Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert."

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