About Us

Preserves traditional music, older popular music, Swedish jazz, traditional dance and emerging new traditions ­– inspiration for innovation.

Open to all

Svenskt visarkiv, the Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research, collects, preserves, researches and publishes in the fields of instrumental and vocal traditional music, older popular songs and Swedish jazz.

Svenskt visarkiv is open to all: researchers, students, performing musicians and the public.

The centre’s research archivists answer questions from individuals and institutions across the country. In the web catalogues it is possible to search over 100,000 songs and tunes, from 16th century songbooks to contemporary ballads and pop songs.

In the library, visitors have access to books, sheet music, sound and video recordings. Furthermore, new parts of the collections are constantly made accessible on the web.

Svenskt visarkiv is an ethnomusicological research hub in Sweden. The work is focused on questions and ideas relating to music, people and society. This work also extends beyond Sweden's borders, through co-operation with ethnomusicological institutions, traditional music and jazz organisations, as well as audio archives, folklore archives and universities in Scandinavia and other parts of the world.

Svenskt visarkiv’s history

Svenskt visarkiv was founded in 1951 on the initiative of singer, composer and radio producer Ulf Peder Olrog, supported by, among others, the ship owner Sven Salén. The centre was originally a foundation with the aim of collecting and cataloguing Swedish folk ballad and song material.

Throughout the subsequent decades, operations were expanded to include the entire field of traditional music, eventually encompassing Swedish jazz, early popular music, different ethnic musical traditions, and traditional dancing.

In the 1960s, Svenskt visarkiv began documenting living folk music traditions through extensive recording projects around the country, which resulted in a unique collection of field recordings.

Svenskt visarkiv’s activity has since been marked by close collaboration with the Swedish Radio, the folk music movement, and with scholars in the fields of ethnomusicology, musicology, ethnology and folkloristics.

Society for folk song research

The Society for Folk Song Research (Samfundet för visforskning) is a support society for Svenskt visarkiv, founded in conjunction with the nationalisation of the archive in 1970.

The society's purpose is to promote Swedish and comparative research of traditional instrumental music and song. The society’s annual publications contain both new research from the centre, previously unpublished material and reissues of valuable out-of-print editions.