This traditional Swedish instrument is always drawing lots of curiosity when I bring it to a concert. Its haunting sound is partly medieval, partly middle eastern, and partly renaissance. Its strikingly beautiful lines are a feast for the eye as much as its sound. This particuluar instrument was made by a Swedish maker named Olle Plahn in Falun, Sweden, in 1994 and given to me by the late Fred Alley and Fred Heide. I am forever grateful for this because the nyckelharpa sings with a purity of an innocent child- it can really soar, trill, and dance like a fairy in the fog. It also blends really well with my main instrument- the cello, and therefore has ended up on quite a few recordings since I received this instrument. This nyckelharpa has three sets of keys (for three main strings), plus a fourth drone string and 12 resonating strings that are tuned diatoncally. I am tuning it like a cello (C-G-D-A) and am even holding it in an upright position, instead of the traditional traverse position. My fingers are happier this way- they can still be fooled into believing that they are playing a cello!