«Someone isn’t fully a good fiddler
until they can turn one slått to nine

Tarkjell Aslaksson Austad1


Outline of a Universe

The form of the slått is like an outline of a universe that is both clearly defined and at the same time open. It has a skeleton of motives, structures and finely grained details. From then on it is spins, plays, searches. The slått is continually varied, without losing its identity or contact with the past. In my experience, slått music contains power which is intangible, something that never lands. It exists in the variable intonation, the rhythms that vary in the body and swing obliquely and robustly, it exists in the performer's path through the form. For me, learning a slått is to discover the core of its identity. The slått possesses age and volatility at the same time. The slått is continually searching for itself. 

«My score is an outline of a kind of universe where the timbres and notes are clearly defined, it is up to the director and actors to interpret on stage. There is extreme precision in my texts. On the other hand, there are no names on the persons I write about, they are more timbres that meet. It is first on the stage that they become characters. My dramatic texts are fully completed when they are written, but at the same time they give a large amount of freedom on stage.»
Jon Fosse2

«To the singer the song, which cannot be changed (since to change it would, in his mind, be to tell an untrue story or to falsify history), is the essence of the story itself. His idea of stability, to which he is deeply devoted, does not include the wording, which to him never has been fixed, nor the unessential parts of the story. He builds his performance, or song in our sense, on the stable skeleton of narrative, which is the song in his sense.»
Albert Lord3

«In an oral tradition, variation is a given parameter in singing - a way of thinking. One remembers the tune as a structure on some level and then create it anew each time. The stable pattern serves as a kind of grid, a point of departure, a skeleton or a frame, which the singer relates to, without it ever needing to be explicit or conscious. There is no composed work to depart from, no set form, but variation is part of the tune's existence.»
Susanne Rosenberg4