The oblique rhythmics of slått music create a particular kind of groove. Three time dances especially have an asymmetry within every bar that is handled differently from valley to valley, in relation to the different dance traditions. In addition to regional differences, there is a personal variability in the rhythmics, from one fiddler’s body to the next.
POLS: Torvald Olsa-Lek II (excerpt), played by Sven Nyhus, Åshild Breie Nyhus, fiddles and Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, zither (Nyhus, Nyhus & Nyhus, 2004, track 10)
TELESPRINGAR: Igletveiten (excerpt), played by Gudmund Manheim (Manheim & Manheim, 2009, track 6)
VALDRESSPRINGAR: Springar etter Beitohaugen (excerpt), played by Erik Røine (Røine, 1995, track 20)
GANGAR, SETESDAL: Faremoen (excerpt), played by Hallvard Bjørgum (Berg & Bjørgum, 1999, track 10)
'The rhythm is the basic element in slått music. … Characteristic of the local dance traditions are the variations in the rhythmic patterns. In the oldest three time dance forms (springar) especially, there are large variations. Here, both the lengths and emphasis of the beats can vary a lot from district to district. One finds quite large local variations in dances with 2/4 and 6/8 rhythm too. To mark the beats of the music, most fiddlers stamp bar markings with their feet. This can vary a lot from fiddler to fiddler and from dialect to dialect. … This stamping can by some fiddlers also have a ‘decorative’ value - and be an important musical element. … In springaren from Telemark, all the beats have different length (and emphasis): the second beat approximately ¼ note [crotchet], the first beat a bit longer, while the third is equivalently shorter. … In the Valdres springar one will find other ratios, in the Halling springar the same, etc.' (Stubseid, 1992, pp. 98-101, my translation)