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Norwegian Sifferskrifft of the 1800's

The following hymn is reprinted from the “Choral-Melodier for Psalmodicon” by J. A. Lindeman published in Christiania, Norway, 1866. The song is written in the Norwegian style of Sifferskrift (a method of using numbers instead of notes). Such as “1” equals Do, “2” Re, “3” Mi and so on.

In the upper left-hand corner is the “key” to Lars Roverud’s method of using Transposition boards to play the song. Using the Transposition boards, it simply moves the whole scale to the new basic tone. To make this practical, the scales are written on separate wooden boards, each with a special number: 1, 2, 3, 4 and each signed four scales, two on each side inscribed with A, B, C, and D. This gives the player 16 different scales to supplement those written on the instrument. If the music is played in another key, it can be done with the help of Roverud’s Transposition boards rather than re-tuning the Psalmodicon.

Tab, 1a signifies using Transposition board number 1a and placing it above the original numbers on the fret board.

The next line, 5==1 means that number 1 on the Transposition board covers number 5 on the basic scale.

The bottom number 2 signifies the timing (taktart) or the rhythm of which the song is to be played.

Today if anyone is lucky enough to find an old Psalmodikon that still has the Transposition boards, that is proof enough that it is a true Norwegian instrument!