Suomen Kansan eSävelmät

DSpace/Manakin Repository

Finnish Folk Tunes



By the end of the 19th century, the Finnish Literary Society (SKS) had collected tens of thousands of folk tunes from all over the Finland. Most of the fieldwork was done prior to the advent of recording technology and therefore the material consists mainly of transcriptions. The impetus for collecting tunes from all around the nation came from the rising nationalism that already had produced the Finnish national epic, Kalevala (1835) and Kanteletar (1840). By the end of the century, a Finnish music scholar, Ilmari Krohn, had started to edit and publish the collected folk songs in separate volumes, all falling under the name Finnish Folk Tunes (Suomen Kansan Sävelmiä). The volumes included about 9000 folk tunes and they were published between the years 1898-1933. This collection is musically comprehensive, nationally important and thoroughly documented.


The Finnish Folk Tune -collection consists of five main subcollections: 1) Spiritual Folk Songs, 2) Folk songs, 3) Folk dances, 4) Rune Songs, 5) Kantele- ja jouhikko Tunes. Spritual Folk Songs includes spiritual songs and hymns from the Old Hymn Book (1701). It has two sections: chorals and adaptations of secular songs and original spiritual songs. Folk Songs is the most extensive series in the collection with its 4842 songs. The songs are grouped according to the quality of the melodic cadences. Folk Dances contains instrumental music or songs that have been both sung and played. Unless stated otherwise, the songs are played on the violin. Rune Songs is divided into two sections: Ingrian and Karelian. Kantele and Jouhikko Tunes contains descriptions of the structure of these instruments and their playing techniques.

Facts about the digital archive

The original collection was digitized in 2002-2003. The task was performed at the University of Jyväskylä and supported by various partners. A total of 8613 tunes and their relevant details (notation, key, meter, place of collection, lyrics, collector and so on) were entered into a database, available as the Digital Archive of Finnish Folk Tunes ( ). This web site, which is freely available, has a search engine that enables tunes to be searched by a keyword, collection, musical type, geographical location and musical content. The digital version also includes maps describing geographical distributions of the songs and other musical details.

Copyright notice

Collection: Based on the collection published by the Finnish Literary Society, called Suomen Kansan Sävelmiä (Ed. I. Krohn). © Finnish Literary Society.

Digital archive: © Tuomas Eerola & Petri Toiviainen

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