Folk music from Norway is usually in minor or modal, making a sober and haunting sound, though major key dance music forms also exist. In the last half of the 20th century, Norway, like many other countries in the world, underwent a roots revival that saw indigenous music being revived.
Traditional Norwegian songs (kveding), ballads and short, often improvised songs (stev) are three of the biggest types of folk music. Work songs, hymns, tralling vocals and old printed ballad stories, skillingstryk, have also been popular. The Hardanger fiddle (hardingfele) is perhaps the most distinctive instrument in Norwegian folk music, though other fiddles like vanleg fele and Setesdals-fele are also popular. The hardingfele was part of kappleikar, musical contests from the late 19th century. Perhaps the most popular and controversial of modern hardingfele artists is Annbjørg Lien, who released her first album, Annbjørg in 1989. The album featured Helge Førde and Frode Fjellheim and was both praised for its innovative fusion work and expressive style, and criticised for its watering-down of traditional sounds and a lack of regional tradition.
Traditional dances include: slåttar, bygdedan, halling, pols, springleik, rull, gangar, springar and brumarsj. In the 19th century, musicians like Myllarguten began introducing more expressive ways of playing. Later in the century, new dances were imported from Europe, including the fandango, polka and mazurka. These were known as gammeldans.