Type: Aerophones > Flutes > Duct.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 421.211.12
Region: Scandinavia & Northern Europe.
Description: The sjøfløyte [in Norwegian: “sea flute”, or kjøpefløyte, byfløyte] is a Norwegian variant of the recorder. This instrument was brought to Norway by sailors who travelled to and from Continental Europe during the 19th century. This flute was extensively copied largely from German-made instruments.
The name “sea flute” is most common in Numedal, Telemark and Agder. On the west coast they are called “German flute”, for its nation of origin. In Gudbrandsdalen, it is often called the “wooden flute.” Egil Storbekken created his flute based on one found in Gudbrandsdalen.
As a result of the pietistic movement in Norway during the last half of the 19th century, the popular Hardanger fiddle was declared sinful, and many musicians began playing dance tunes on the flute instead. The sjøfløyte tradition began to die out in the 20th century, but was revived in the 1970s by musicians such as Per Midtstigen, Steinar Ofsdal, Tellef Kvifte and Ånon Egeland. Midtstigen and Ofsdal won the 1989 Grammy Award for their album Sjøfløyte. Among the former are important sjøfløyte players Knut Juveli and Herleik Stuvstad and sjøfløyte maker Nils Stuvstad.