, the word spelman
is most often used to describe a player of Swedish folk music
. It may also be applied (with descending frequency) to folk musicians
from other Nordic countries
, from other European
countries, from non-European countries, and even musicians in other genres
. The meaning of the Swedish
is very similar to that of the English
," except that it is not tied to a specific instrument. Because of the commonality of the fiddle
in Swedish folk music
, the word is often translated as fiddler
in any case. Technically, the actual Swedish
word for fiddler
would be "fiolspelman" (fiddle spelman).
The other common translation of this word is folk musician. The problem here is that the Swedish word "folkmusiker," meaning folk musician, was invented explicitly in opposition to the older word "spelman." Ale Möller coined the term "folkmusiker" to refer to musicians who played Swedish folk music professionally during the folk revival, but were not necessarily grounded in the spelman tradition.
Some have also considered the term spelman (literally "play-man") to be problematic given its implication that Swedish folk musicians are normatively male. The term "folkmusikant" has been proposed as a gender-neutral alternative, but has seen little traction.
- Johansson, Mats (2001). Stil som Retorik och Praxis: en musikantropologisk studie av nutida svensk folkmusik [Style as Rhetoric and Practice: A musical-anthropological study of present-day Swedish folk music]. Bergen: Hovedfagsavhandling i Etnomusikologi, Universitetet i Bergen.
- Kaminsky, David (2005). Hidden Traditions: Conceptualizing Swedish Folk Music in the Twenty-First Century (Ph.D. Dissertation). Harvard University.
- Olsson, Thorbjörn "Spelman - ett förlegat begrepp [Spelman - An Obsolete Term]". Spelmannen (4): 21.