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A Swiss National Yodeling Festival


Original recordings from the "23rd Swiss Yodelling Festival Thun 1982" in canton Berne. On this compilation you get the opportunity to hear diverse sytles of yodeling and alphorn music.

The Swiss Yodeling Association (Eidgenössischer Jodlerverband) was founded 1910 in Bern. Its various activities - instructions, courses, publications - include the organisation of national competitions for yodeling, alphorn playing and flag throwing.
The first official National Yodeling Festival was held in Basel in 1924, at which 31 groups participated. 72 years later, not less than 549 groups, 269 alphorn players and 169 flag throwers participated at the "23rd Swiss Yodeling Festival Thun".


Yodeling is said to have originated during the early stone age. It has a very long tradition in Poland, Caucasia, Scandinavia and particularly in the alps. In Switzerland yodeling developed from a form of long-distance communication and cow-calls to its present musical art form.

The alphorn

The alphorn originated in northern Asia and was brought to central Europe by nomadic tribes. It was quickly adapted to the mountainous areas of Europe, varying in form and size according to the region. The first written mention of the alphorn in Switzerland dates from the year 1555. It originally served as a call and signal instrument. The alphorn was first employed as a melody instrument only at the end of the 18th century. This due to its limitation to the natural tones.

Flag throwing

Flag throwing is an important and spectacular part of all Swiss yodeling festivals.
The white cross on a red background first appeared as the emblem of the thirteen early Swiss states at the battle of Laupen in 1339 and was thereafter always at the fore of Swiss troops on the battlefield. Mercenary soldiers and messengers brought the graceful play with the billowing banners to the Swiss valleys. The southern tradition was adapted to Swiss customs, becoming particularly popular in the mountainous regions.

Production information

23rd National Yodelling Festival Thun (1996). Musica Helvetica MH CD 96.2. Produced for SRI by Marie-Louise Lauper, Christian Strickler and Patrick Linder.

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