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The alpine horn in Europe

The Swiss alpine horn is played abroad by homesick emigrants from Switzerland, but the long conical wind instrument made on wood is known in nearly every alpine culture. The "fakürt" is the name of the Hungarian wooden trumpet. It is similar to the Swiss alpine horn but shorter. Not only herdsmen but also fishermen and millers used to blow this signal instrument.

The signal instruments of the Czechs are called pastyrská or trúba. They often are wounded with sheep gut or skin.

The name of the herdman's horn in Slovakia is as well trúba. Its speciality is a wide bell. In Poland three types of wooden horns are kown: the bazuna from the north has a length of 100 cm, the ligawka of central Poland a length of 200 cm. The trombita, the longest of the Polish wooden horns measures up to 400 cm and can be even longer than the Swiss alpine horn. The name of ligawca was mentioned already in 1778. It comes from the latin word "ligare" (wound).

In Romania there are five types af wooden horns: The tulnic, a straight conical tube, is the best known among them. In the Bucowina the trimbita, a straight horn with a bell in the shape of a cone, is typical..The same name means as well a horn made on sheet metal with windings like a trumpet. The twin of the Swiss alpine horn is called bucium. All these instruments were used for signals and musical entertainments in the alpine pastures, but the herdsmen imitated as well the cackling of the poultry or made dance- and funeralmusic with them.

In Serbia the rikalo (from rikati= shout) and the busen, 300 cm long conical tubes, were played up to the 1970ies. These long instruments were put down in a tree or on a stone to be blown.

The cowerds in Sweden used as well a long conical wooden trumpet, the lur, which still in our days is made as a folklore instrument or a souvenir. Old lurs document the trumpet shape or the shape of a S. The lur is known in whole Scandinavia and dates back as far as the 9th century.

In Thüringia the alpine horn is called Hirtenschalmei.
In Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Eastern Germany and Austria the alpine horn is played as a musical instrument of leisure comparable to the Swiss tradition. But only in Switzerland the former herdsmen's instrument became a musical instrument in Classic Music, in Pop, Jazz and Rock.

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