Music and poetry

observations on nature
music and poetry
observations on ways of life

Acerbi as a musician
Giuseppe Acerbi was a skilled amateur musician who played the clarinet and composed. This brought him a lot of both joy and advantage.

On his journey Acerbi composed several pieces of which the clarinet quintetto composed in Oulu deserves a mention. What can be called the Kalevala melody is for the first time used in art music in this composition. A group of musicians gathered around Acerbi in Oulu, among them was i.e. Erik Tulindberg. They had a quintet for which Acerbi composed several clarinet quintettos. In Ylitornio Acerbi donated an andantino for the harpsichord 'Adieu d'Övertorneå' to one of the vicar's daughters.

Giuseppe Acerbi actively recorded in notation the folk songs he heard. This shows he was very interested in folk tunes and in music in general.


A Finnish farmhouse living room
Acerbi's drawing of a Finnish farmhouse living room

Acerbi as an ethnographer
Giuseppe Acerbi was, according to Eero Saarenheimo, one of the first foreigners who recorded Finnish folk poetry. He had an interest in ethnography and he also recorded some folk poems, took notations for some folk songs and drew sketches of ethnographical details.

He has among other things the oldest preserved text for the well-known poem 'Jos mun tuttuni tulisi' (If only my beloved came). In Vaasa Giuseppe Acerbi had the opportunity to familiarize himself with the Kalevala song melody and allitteration in the song 'Älä sure Suomen kansa' (Do not mourn, Finnish nation). In all probability it was in Kemi that Acerbi recorded the notes for the well-known lullaby 'Nuku, nuku nurmilintu' (Sleep, sleep little bird). This is the first preserved variant of this famous lullaby. In Ylitornio Acerbi heard and recorded the well-known poem on the floods of the river Tornionjoki in the year 1677 written by Antti Keksi. This poem was later recorded as a broad sheet ballad and is still known and sung.

Acerbi has a very low opinion of the music of the Lapps (the Sami). He considers them musically unskilled and regards their music as mere howling.

Giuseppe Acerbi succeeded excellently in his examples of folk poetry. It is remarkable how he managed to get such first rate examples of Finnish poetry. It is even more remarkable as folk poetry was in no way a priority in his travel plans. However, the poems he recorded have been preserved to this date and form part of Finnish national heritage.

Observations on nature | Music and poetry | Observations on ways of life
Route | Scientific interests | Pictures from travels | On Acerbi's footsteps
Travellers in Lapland