Multimedia Music Ethnography of Yodelling and Alphorn Blowing
A new interactive multimedia-website was launched about Swiss folk music including an Alphorn Tune Composer. On www.swissalpinemusic.ch you can read about alphorn music and yodelling, on alpine traditions and so on but the best thing is that you can listen to the music and then there is the Alphorn Tune Composer: It allows you to create your own tunes and send them via email. The Composer is made up of 17 notes – all the tones possible on the alphorn – as played by André Scheurer, music editor at Swiss Radio Swiss Classic.
The texts are written by music anthropologist Brigitte Bachmann-Geiser. She writes:
"The alphorn was dying out after 1800 because it was no longer necessary as a communication tool of the alpine cowherds. Increasingly, the individual dairies in the alpine chalets were replaced by big cooperative cheese-making companies in the villages. The whole tradition of alpine dairy production was breaking down; on many alpine pastures beef cows had replaced dairy cows."
But recently the alphorn has undergone a revival and is now used in both classical and pop music, and jazz.