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Alphorn players set new world record

A perfect day for it on Gornergrat ridge Keystone

A group of more than 500 alphorn players who gathered on the Gornergrat ridge near Zermatt have broken the world record for the largest ever alphorn group performance.

This content was published on August 18, 2013 - 18:14
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Against the spectacular backdrop of the Matterhorn and 28 other peaks above 4,000 metres, 508 musicians from Switzerland and abroad dressed in traditional Swiss costume played a specially composed piece by Gilbert Kolly on Saturday.

The gathering of alphorn players beat the previous 2009 record in the same place by 142 participants. A group of 26 flag throwers provided visual entertainment for the event.

Among the challenges facing organisers was trying to find a spot where the conductor could be seen by all the musicians. Some players also had difficulty with their breathing at such a high altitude. Gornergrat is 3,089 metres above sea level.

The alphorn's use varied between the 16th and 20th centuries. Some herdsmen used it as a tool to communicate across neighbouring Alps and to call their cows back to the farm for milking. It was also played on summer nights in the Alps as a form of prayer in Protestant regions.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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