The old Finnish vernacular tradition is full of myths, charms, spells and rites that can be included under the heading “faith”. I teach Finnish folk music and, for example, on my course concentrating on musical cultures around the world, we discuss matters of faith as we learn about the musical concepts and rituals in different cultures.
I have frequently paid visits to the Archipelago Sea to play one of the most interesting instruments I have ever come across, the Klockarsten, the resonating boulder on the island of Nötö, one of the southern islands of Nagu. The rock is quite sophisticated in sound and you can imagine it lending itself to rites and rituals. Klockarsten and the burial barrows are assumed to be relics left by ancient seal hunters from the late Iron Age, some 700–900 years CE.
I feel something incredibly deep and sacred when touching that rock, which has been tapped and knocked on by so many of our ancestors. The dents on the boulder have been created through playing, and grey granite does not easily yield from a few knocks.
We recorded the sounds we created with students and we identified 16 different sonorous dents; the boulder rings in the key of high F major (or between F and F#). The chord F1-A1-C2-F2 is clearly audible, amazingly pure and beautiful.
Eeva-Leena Pokela is lecturer of music education at the Sibelius Academy.
The sound of Nötö’s ringing rock
Eeva-Leena Pokela, a lecturer in music education at the Sibelius Academy, is using two stones to play the imposing ringing rock, Klockarsten, on the island of Nötö in the Archipelago Sea. The rock emanates clear F major triad tones, depending on which of the 16 depressions one knocks. The more players there are knocking around the rock, the louder the sound.