Program Note

My music is very much about rhythm and sound. While completing this string quartet it struck me that ”zum-zum” is just that: rhythm and sound. What is ”zum-zum”? It is something that many Swedes recognize from a song by Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795) called Fredman’s Epistle no. 2. In this song there are several descriptions or instructions on what to do with the violin. Although not included in the lyrics ”zum-zum” is always by tradition sung to imitate the sound of bowed string instruments.

Below is a word-for-word translation of some lines from Fredman’s Epistle. no. 2 (excluding the context):

To Father Berg, concerning his violin

So screw up the violin
- - -
And stroke your silver string, The red bow throw,
And with your arm turn,
Do not damage the violin
- - -
On your strings stands; Every tone you hit,

- - -
Give the bow more resin, ---

- Carl Michael Bellman


Zum-zum was commissioned by Riksonserter and premiered by the Aurora String Quartet 2006.

Henrik Strindberg

Program note (31.67 KB)
Score (1.73 MB)
String Quartet
to the Aurora String Quartet and Ola Larsson
First Performance
by the Aurora String Quartet, Trollhättan 21/7 2006
Other Performances

Neo Quartet, London Ear 2018 Festival