River Music and Water Spirits

This week, I thought I’d tell you about a very cool sound sculpture in our homebase in Drammen, Norway. Let’s explore the river music.

river music
The River Harp

The large pedestrian bridge Ypsilon is a Drammen landmark. Next to Ypsilon is the River Harp, a sound sculpture comprising two large silver balls, one on either side of the river. The sculpture creates river music through variations in water flow and bridge oscillations.


That’s the scientific explanation at least. The folkloric version is more dramatic. You see, the River Harp is playing to appease Nøkken, a shape-shifting water spirit. To women, Nøkken appears as a beautiful young man with a violin, enchanting them with sweet river music, drawing them ever closer until they fall in and drown.

If you walk along the attractive riverbank promenade, stop and have a listen on one side of the river, then cross Ypsilon and see if the music is different on the opposite bank.

Here’s the River Harp playing for Nøkken:

Any landmarks or interesting features of your hometown? Do share in the comments below!

For more on water, check out Magnificent Monday

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38 Responses to “River Music and Water Spirits”

  1. Italian Notes 6 October 2011 0841 #

    Beautiful story and mesmerizing photos of autumn leaves and sunset.
    Italian Notes recently posted..History and heritage around Altamura

  2. Muza-chan 6 October 2011 0943 #

    Amazing photos :)
    Muza-chan recently posted..A Japanese Song per Day: Faylan – Hishou No Kizu

  3. RyukyuMike 6 October 2011 1007 #

    Love those reflection shots!

  4. Laurel 6 October 2011 1017 #

    I’ve never heard of a river harp before and love the story behind it.
    Laurel recently posted..My Favorite Room in the Munich Residenz

  5. Cheryl 6 October 2011 1156 #

    Neat story behind the bridge! I love European folklore. I’m also quite taken with the pink skies in the last photo … very pretty!
    Cheryl recently posted..Finding Beauty In Your Own Backyard … In My Case, Berlin!

  6. Denise 6 October 2011 1159 #

    oooohhh, the last picture is just stunning
    Denise recently posted..The beach is magical: I’m off to Bali

  7. Sabrina 6 October 2011 1735 #

    I love playing with reflections in pictures. These are gorgeous!
    Sabrina recently posted..New Mexico Festivals: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

  8. Leigh 6 October 2011 1908 #

    I especially LOVE your last photo and what a great story. I bet you’d have to have a good ear to pick up any differences in sound.

    Still discovering Calgary; it seems to have a lot more public art than meets the eye – think buffalo and western themed sculpture. One quiet day I’ll go out with my camera & wander the streets on a mission of discovery.
    Leigh recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: Faces of Ugandan Orphans

  9. Nancie 7 October 2011 0122 #

    Wonderful shots Sophie and I love the folk lore.
    Nancie recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday — October 6, 2011 — Choenan World Dance Festival

  10. Robert 7 October 2011 0143 #

    Love these pictures, both the fall foliage and the sunset. The sound is kind of magical. On a different note, never thought of Scotland and Norway as neighbors – but I suppose you are just right across the North Sea from each other.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 7 October 2011 0154 #

      @Robert – spitting distance ;)

  11. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy 7 October 2011 0204 #

    Nifty. I’ve never seen a Y-shaped pedestrian bridge before but it looks super cool.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..Tshirts and CDs hamper my efforts to eliminate clutter and be minimalist

  12. Elizabeth (dimsumdiary) 7 October 2011 0255 #

    Absolutely beautiful! I love the photos (I’m missing the autumn here in Singapore) and the story is lovely.
    Elizabeth (dimsumdiary) recently posted..Photo Friday: Camping in the Empty Quarter (UAE)

  13. Lisa 7 October 2011 0457 #

    Love the photos – particularly the last one. We spent one day in Oslo two summers ago and loved it – can’t wait to go back and explore more of Norway.
    Lisa recently posted..Photo Friday: Alaskan Sled Dogs

  14. Stephanie 7 October 2011 0536 #

    That last shot is especially cool.
    Stephanie recently posted..Travel Photo Friday: Salzburg, Austria

  15. Michael Figueiredo 7 October 2011 0815 #

    Beautiful photos! I love the reflection in the artwork–especially the sunset shot.
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Greetings From… Chinatown, Los Angeles

  16. Camels & Chocolate 7 October 2011 1400 #

    I love that bottom photo with all the pinks and purples. And Norway is one of my favorite countries in the world–but I haven’t been to Drammen!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Comment on Getting Out of Cape Town by Kristin

  17. Anne-Sophie Redisch
    Anne-Sophie Redisch 7 October 2011 1502 #

    @Kristin – Not many people have :)

  18. Girly 7 October 2011 1521 #

    The photos are amazing!! It is really beautiful. I did not know that before. Thank you:)
    Girly recently posted..I bruise easily

  19. Sonja 7 October 2011 1813 #

    Fascinating story! Reminds me of the legend of the Lorelei on the Rhine River in Germany.
    Sonja recently posted..Photo Friday: Euro Disney

  20. Anne-Sophie Redisch
    Anne-Sophie Redisch 7 October 2011 2117 #

    @ Sonja – It does have similarities, doesn’t it. Only, the genders are reversed.

  21. Cathy Sweeney 8 October 2011 0115 #

    Sophie, love the photos and story about the River Harp. Thanks for linking to the YouTube video, too. Very cool.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Round Rainbow

  22. Turkey's For Life 8 October 2011 0702 #

    Errrm, no, no stories as enchanting as this about my home town – but then my home town was a coal mining and cotton spinning area. Love your river story and the sunset photo.
    Turkey’s For Life recently posted..Istanbul – Planning Our Trip

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 8 October 2011 1011 #

      @Julia – Many former industrial towns in the UK – like Ironbridge Gorge, and cotton spinning areas like New Lanark – are so interesting and pretty. I’m curious about your hometown now :)

  23. Technosyncratic 8 October 2011 1111 #

    This is really, really cool. I’m a big fan of public art pieces, but ones that play music? Waaay better. =)
    Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo Essay: Stonehenge

  24. Nicole at Arrows Sent Forth 9 October 2011 0402 #

    Gorgeous photos. The reflections you captured remind me of visiting the Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Very differently shaped sculpture, but same sort of effect in the photos.
    Nicole at Arrows Sent Forth recently posted..Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in Photos

  25. Arti 9 October 2011 0500 #

    Looks beautiful! The setting is so pretty, loved the soft hues of the evening pic…
    About where I live, Mumbai, there are so many things that stand out here…
    The Gateway of India, Sea Link, street food, fashion, the crowd!!
    Have a fabulous sunday:)
    Arti recently posted..Haridwar – Shopping in the Markets, Where to Eat, Where to Stay

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 11 October 2011 2119 #

      @Arti – So true! Mumbai – and most of India, really – is a veritable feast – in colours, scents, tastes, sounds…

  26. Sailor 12 October 2011 0144 #

    Wow! The pictures are really fantastic!
    Sailor recently posted..Mississippi River Cruises Return in Spring

  27. Lori 13 October 2011 1619 #

    Wow – very nice photos – interesting angle! Congratulations and have fun in any place – home or elsewhere!
    Lori recently posted..Postcards – another great idea of a perfect souvenir

  28. Abby 13 October 2011 2056 #

    WOW those colors are stunning!! We don’t get the fall colors in Vegas, so I’m so envious. And those pinks in that sunset wow. I love the idea of a river harp. :)
    Abby recently posted..Michael Jackson Cirque premiere in Montreal

  29. Sherry 14 October 2011 0216 #

    Why even leave Norway when it has so many intersting and magical things like this one? I am equally as fascinated by this stroy as I am of the lovely fall photos. I wonder if it does produce a different sound on the different sides.
    Sherry recently posted..“Another Migrated Blog”

  30. Andrea 14 October 2011 1404 #

    So interesting – beautiful photos!
    Andrea recently posted..Fall Fun With the Bears of Bern, Switzerland

  31. The Travel Chica 17 October 2011 0444 #

    Great photos! And I like the fact that you shared the same shot at two different times of day.
    The Travel Chica recently posted..Sugar Filled and Deep Fried Treats in Argentina

  32. Angela 17 October 2011 1505 #

    Beautiful pictures!

  33. Jim 19 October 2011 2328 #

    Beautiful bridge. Story is interesting, but the pics are fantastic Sophoe.
    Enjoy Scotland.
    Jim recently posted..YouTube Tuesday: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

  34. Living Lenses 28 September 2012 1341 #

    Hi Sofie,
    What a joy to see our work on your site.
    The images are beautiful.
    All the best,
    Living Lenses

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 September 2012 1412 #

      My pleasure. Your work is such a gorgeous addition to our city!

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