The Hardanger fiddle is a Norwegian variant of the violin, dating from about 1650. It is strung with eight strings, four of which vibrate while a bow plays the others. This instrument was made in 1872 by K.E.Helland, a member of a famous family of fiddle-makers from Telemark, Norway. Hardanger fiddles are decorated in a vernacular style; the finial of this example is a heraldic lion, with a gilt crown, carved in the Norwegian folk tradition.
Hardanger fiddle are used for folk singing, dances and wedding processions. Edvard Grieg (1842-1907), Norway's greatest composer, incorporated the traditional melodies played on such fiddles into his compositions. The leading player of Grieg's day was probably Torgeir Augundson (1801-1872), a miller's son also from Telemark.