Music in the Viking age
Singing and playing music were important to the Vikings, both
in everyday life and for festive occasions. They sang songs when they
were happy and when they were sad. They danced, sang songs and played their
instruments when they had celebrations of some kind. They had songs to accompany
them when working, making the work easier. They sang love songs, and lullabies
for their children. We can be fairly certain of this as we know of no cultures
where music has not been important. But...
Why do we know so little?
Because when the last note of a song is sung it is gone forever, unless
someone remembers it or writes it down in some way, to be performed again later.
The Vikings, like the rest of the people in Europe at the time, didn't know
anything about musical notation, and their culture gradually became a part of
the Christian European culture. The oldest songs we know from Scandinavia today
are all part of the common European heritage. The voices of the Vikings are gone
But, not long after the end of the Viking Age a system for writing down music
was developed. On a small piece of wood, for us to read, are carved the first
bars of the song "I Dreamed a