O.J.'s Trumpet Page Resources

The Bronze Lurs

The Revheim Lurs, Norway
[The Revheim lurs]
The Museum of Archaeology,
Stavanger, Norway

The bronze lurs dates from the Nordic Bronze Age (1500 - 500 B.C).

The name "lur":
The Danish archaelogist C. J. Thomsen (1788-1865) was the first person to take scientifically interest in the bronze lurs. When they were first discovered they were called horns, but Thomsen used the old nordic word
luðr. It has been suggested that this means "hollow log". In Sweeden and Norway a wind instrument of wood, trumpet blown, is also called lur. See the [wooden lur]

The bronze lur is made entirely of bronze. There are two forms of lurs. The latest and most developed is the "S-shaped".  This lur can be described as a thin-walled, conical tube, about 1 meter 50 cm  to 2 meter 25 cm. The lur on the picture from Norway was of the shorter type (1.50 meter) while the famous lurs from Denmark, the [Brudevælte] lurs were about 2.20 meter long.

The other older form of lurs, less developed, was shorter, slightly bent and lacking the endplate.
The Wismar horn
The "Wismar horn" from Germany - an older lur type.

digging peat in 1886, tenant farmer Ole Rasmussen found two fragmented lurs at Rørlykke Mose (ca. 1100-900 B.C.  Mus.nr. B3671-2). These lurs has more of a S-shape than the "Wismar horn".

The finds:
Map of finds, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany
Map of finds
 - South in Norway and Sweden, whole of Denmark and North in Germany.

There are currently 60 finds.  Of these, 37 have been found in Denmark, 4 in Norway, 13 in Sweden, 5 in Germany and 1 in Latvia.
Most of the finds dates back to the 19th century. All of them were found by private persons, in peat bogs og in other wetlands. None of the finds were retrieved by experts. The latest find, in 1988 at Ulvkær, North Jutland (Nr. 19) - a pair of lurs. One of the lurs was wrecked by a mechanical digger.

Rock carvings:
In some rock carvings one can see people blowing on lurs. One example of this can be found on a rock carving at Kivik, Skåne, Sweden. Here is a photo of this carving taken by Per-Olof Johansson, and here an article (in Danish) by him about the Brudevælte lurs.

Some of the lurs found in Denmark, Sweden and Norway have been played on by professional brassplayers.  The first to take a serious interest in the sound of the lurs was the Danish musicologist [Angul Hammerich] (1848- 1931). In 1893 he held a lecture in Copenhagen and had two musicians demonstrate lur playing.

In 1925,
Angul Hammerich held a lecture about the bronze lurs and had musicians demonstrate on the lurs. This was made into a recording on Nordisk Polyphon Aktieselskab at the National Museum, Copehagen (May 12th, 1925). The 78 rmp gramophone record was called Danmarks gamle lurer - tusindaarige toner.

In 1966, a recording was made in Denmark, called Klange fra Danmark's bronzealderlurer (Music blown on lurs from the Danish Bronze Age).
10" 331/3 rpm disc.
Nationalmuseet NM 67-001.
It was performed by Palmer Traulsen and G. A. Wilkenschildt. They use the Brudevælte lurs. One pair is in C, one in D, one and a half in E flat, one in E and one in G.  The Brudevælte pair in C (Museum no. 8116), are presumably those in the best playing condition since they occupy the whole of side 1.

In 1977, a recording was made at Nikodemuskirche, Berlin, Germany by Stephan Maier. The recording is called Die Luren - Klingende Zeugen der Bronzezeit. Maier used the Brudevælte lurs.

Music archaeologist
Cajsa S. Lund produced a recording called Fornnordiska klanger (The Sounds of Prehistoric Scandinavia) - "12000 year in 60 minutes" for Musica Sveciae in 1984.  There are 41 tracs on the recording. The lur tracks are played on Danish bronze lurs.
LP 1984, nr MS 101,
CD 1991, nr MSCD 101
with illustrated booklet in Swedish and English.

Royal Danish Brass made a CD in 1999 called [Bronze & Brass] (Rondo Records, RCD 8366). On it are 3 tracks played on Danish bronze lurs (Burdevælte and Folrisdam).

Sound samples:
In 1961 a trombone player at the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra, Gunnar  Rugstad, played on the Revheim lurs (see picture above).  But already in 1958 the pair of lurs were played on by two hornplayers from Stavanger,  Franz Dørr and Georg Dørr (father and son).
amples in MP3 format:

Note: All links enclosed in [ .. ] are internal / sub-pages here. The rest are external links.


Thanks to:
Olaf Brattegaard for sound clip, photos, and other infos about the Revheim lurs.
Per-Olof Johansson for information and help.
Edward Tarr for info about the book
"The Bronze Lurs".
Keld Jørgensen for sending me the CD [Bronze & Brass].
Olle Hemdorff and Mari Høgestøl at the
Museum of Archaeology, Stavanger, Norway