Alphorn playing and yodeling are an integral part of traditional cultural events in Switzerland. Questions about musical contexts inevitably arise. Is alphorn-playing to be understood as “blown yodeling”? Did the natural tone series of the alphorn influence yodeling? Are both rooted in the centuries-old Kuhreihen, the songs herdsmen used to lure the cows for milking?
The team of authors explores possible links between yodeling and alphorn music and analyzes evidence pointing to a common origin of the two musical practices. The study area originates from Switzerland and extends over the south of Germany and Austria. Music-aesthetic connections are discussed, historical and current arguments weighed. In the Austrian Wurzhorner yodels, the name already indicates a connection to the instrument, and in the Muotatal “Bücheljuuz”, the yodel imitates the sound of the instrument so skillfully that the difference between voice and instrument is hardly noticed.
However, not all types of yodeling have a musical relationship to the alphorn, and alphorn music is not always connected with yodeling. The study shows that there has been a tangible, albeit unsteady, musical interrelationship between alphorn and yodel for around 200 years.