Ever wonder what the psalmodikons in museums sounded like? How they were played? What were some of the songs the pioneer immigrants brought over from 19th-century Sweden? How to sing them or play them on a dulcimer – or another modern musical instrument? You will now get your chance!

The Bishop Hill Heritage Association will sponsor a workshop Saturday, August 2 on how Swedish immigrants played hymns and folk songs on the psalmodikon, a one-stringed musical instrument played with a bow. The workshop will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dairy Building, located at 410 North Erickson Street in Bishop Hill, Illinois. It is free and open to the public.

Pete Ellertsen, a retired teacher and amateur musician from Springfield, will demonstrate how pastors of the 1800s used the psalmodikon to teach singing in four-part harmony to rural congregations who might not know how to read music. Ellertsen plays a replica of the instrument currently displayed in the Steeple Building museum.

Workshop participants will learn how to read psalmodikon tablature, known as “siffor-noter” (number notes) and convert it to sheet music; and how to sing simple melodies and play them on the mountain dulcimer or another musical instrument. All skill levels and all instruments are welcome. If you just want to listen, you’re also very welcome! This workshop is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council.

For more details, please call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net.