The Jouhikko

The jouhikko is a member of the string instrument family. It orignates from Finland and was invented in the 14th century. It is sometimes referred to as the jouhikannel or jouhikantele.

The earliest depiction of the jouhikko is a stone carving from Trondheim Cathedral in Norway, dating from the 14th century.

Wood is carved into a bowed shape similar to a canoe, a flat wooden panel is placed on the hollowed section. Twine or other woven string is used to hold a wooden tension point for the horse-hair strings to attach to. Then, horse-hair strings are attached and tuning pins are added

The jouhikko is often used to play folk, metal and folk metal and is usually played in played solo, in groups or in metal bands.

How do I play the instrument?

The strings are stopped by touching them with the back of the fingers (or knuckles or nails), as there is no fingerboard to press the strings against. To produce sound, the strings are plucked similar to a lute or guitar.

Are there any instrument silimar to this one?

Talharpa, gue

How long does it take to learn?

The jouhikko is simple once one gets used to the lack of a fingerboard (common with most modern string instruments), however it’s difficult to master.

Is there special equipment needed for the instrument?


Rock with a Star!

Let’s enjoy the sound of this instrument through this wonderful performance by Rauno Nieminen

Nieminen obtained a Doctor of Arts in Music in 2008. He plays kantele, horsehair kantele, wind instruments, percussion instruments, guitars, mandolins and bowed lyres (jouhikko). He has performed in more than 20 countries, including countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa.