I was fortunate to "have a go" on Rosa`s Hardanger in Portaferry last year. As said above, they play like a standard fiddle. I found it relatively easy to get the sympathetic strings vibrating and just improvised some Norwgian "sounding" tunes in order to try it out. Trying to play "Irish style" did not work and the sympathetic strings were not very sympathetic! I fell in love with the instrument and just missed out on buying one on Ebay before christmas. Lilly, the sympathetic strings do indeed pass bellow the fingerboard, there is a channel cut down the length of the neck for these strings and the fingerboard forms the "lid" of this channel. Hope that helps.