Music of Switzerland

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Music of Switzerland
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General topics
Genres
Specific forms
Media and performance
Music awards
Music charts
Music festivals
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem"Swiss Psalm"
Regional music
Local forms
Related areas

Switzerland has long had a distinct cultural identity, despite its diversity of German, French, Italian, Romansh and other ethnicities. Religious and folk music dominated the country until the 17th century, with growth in production of other kinds of music occurring slowly.

Switzerland Federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

France Republic in Europe with several non-European regions

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Contents

Folk music

Due to a lack of detailed records, little is known about Swiss folk music prior to the 19th century. Some 16th-century lute tablatures have been reconstructed into authentic instrumental arrangements; however, the first major source of information comes from 19th-century collections of folk songs, and work done by musicologist Hanny Christen. One of the oldest varieties of folk music was the Swiss song Kühreihen, an agricultural Alpine song in the Lydian mode. Traditional instruments included alphorn, hammered dulcimer, fife, hurdy-gurdy, castanets, rebec, bagpipe, cittern and shawm.

Folk music Music of the people

Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.

Lute musical instrument

A lute is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body. More specifically, the term "lute" can refer to an instrument from the family of European lutes. The term also refers generally to any string instrument having the strings running in a plane parallel to the sound table. The strings are attached to pegs or posts at the end of the neck, which have some type of turning mechanism to enable the player to tighten the tension on the string or loosen the tension before playing, so that each string is tuned to a specific pitch. The lute is plucked or strummed with one hand while the other hand "frets" the strings on the neck's fingerboard. By pressing the strings on different places of the fingerboard, the player can shorten or lengthen the part of the string that is vibrating, thus producing higher or lower pitches (notes).

Tablature form of musical notation indicating instrument fingering

Tablature is a form of musical notation indicating instrument fingering rather than musical pitches.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Swiss folk music was largely performed by ensembles made of itinerant musicians and solo acts using an instrument, with only a few duos. In the 1830s, however, the Swiss military was reorganized, leading to the formation of brass bands that used modern instruments. These instruments, mostly brass or wind, were built much better than those played by itinerants, and musicians brought them back to their villages. Local players joined these ensembles, which played dance music for festivals and other celebrations. Dance styles included schottisch, mazurka, waltz and polka.

Brass band musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments

A brass band is a musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. Ensembles that include brass and woodwind instruments can in certain traditions also be termed brass bands, but may more correctly termed military bands, concert bands, or "brass and reed" bands.

The Mazurka is a Polish folk dance in triple meter, usually at a lively tempo, and with "strong accents unsystematically placed on the second or third beat". Originally from the cultural region of Mazovia, it is one of Poland's national dances. The Mazurka, alongside the polka dance, became popular at the ballrooms of Europe in the 19th century, particularly through the notable works by Frédéric Chopin.

Waltz dance

The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance, normally in triple  time, performed primarily in closed position.

In 1829, the accordion was invented in Vienna, and it had spread to Switzerland by 1836. The accordion was popular because it was relatively easy to play and cheap to acquire, and took only one musician to play the melody and accompaniment. By the 1850s, the accordion was an integral part of Swiss folk music, and semi-professional ensembles were appearing to play at large social dances. Alongside the brass bands came string instruments like the violin and double bass; string bands soon began to displace the older brass bands. The accordion, however, did not make an appearance in these dance bands until about 1903, and it eventually replaced the two violins which had become standard.

Accordion Bellows-driven free-reed aerophone musical instruments

Accordions are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist. The concertina and bandoneón are related; the harmonium and American reed organ are in the same family.

Vienna Capital of Austria

Vienna is the federal capital, largest city and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union.

Violin bowed string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths

The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments exist, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings, usually tuned in perfect fifths with notes G3, D4, A4, E5, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow.

Following World War I, Switzerland became more heavily urbanized, and music moved to cities like Zurich. Rural folk music became the most popular style for middle-class audiences, and musicians like Joseph Stocker ("Stocker Sepp") became renowned across the country. Stocker knew his audience liked the exotic appeal of rural music, and so he bought traditional costumes from Unterwalden for his band. This was the beginning of laendlermusic .

World War I 1914–1918 global war starting in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Unterwalden Historical canton of Switzerland

Unterwalden is the old name of a forest-canton of the Old Swiss Confederacy in central Switzerland, south of Lake Lucerne, consisting of two valleys or Talschaften, now two separate Swiss cantons, Obwalden and Nidwalden.

In the urban areas of Switzerland, folk music began to mix with new styles, like jazz and the foxtrot, while the saxophone replaced the clarinet. Beginning in the 1930s, the Swiss government began to encourage a national identity distinct from Germany and other neighbors. Laendlermusic became associated with this identity, and grew even more popular.

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

Saxophone type of musical instrument of the woodwind family

The saxophone is a woodwind instrument. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. Although most saxophones are made from brass, they are categorized as woodwind instruments, because sound is produced by an oscillating reed, traditionally made out of woody cane, rather than lips vibrating in a mouthpiece cup as with the brass instrument family. As with the other woodwinds, the pitch of the note being played is controlled by covering holes in the body tube to control the resonant frequency of the air column by changing the effective length of the tube.

Following World War II, however, laendlermusic quickly grew less popular with the influx of imported styles. The field also grew less diverse, with more standardized band formats and only four or five dance types in the repertoire. By the 1960s, trios consisting of two accordions and a double bass were the most common format, and many Swiss people felt it was a civic duty to preserve this tradition and guard it against change. They have largely succeeded in preventing change, but the field has grown stagnant and much less popular. There are still popular performers, such as Res Schmid, Willi Valotti, Markus Flueckiger, Dani Haeusler, and Carlo Brunner, but the total fanbase has shrunk enormously.

During the late 1990s, and especially in the 2000s from around 2008 to the present, the family band Oesch’s die Dritten, a yodeling family from the Bernese Oberland, have been enjoying success. Their format is a Schwyzeroergeli (small accordion) played by Hans Oesch, a guitar, an electric bass, and a large accordion. They are fronted by Melanie Oesch.

Folk music from Appenzell

The rural Appenzell region is a major center of folk music. While other parts of Switzerland adopted the accordion (Langnauerli and Schwyzerörgeli) in the 19th century, Appenzell kept the violin and hammered dulcimer. String music from Appenzell is popular throughout Switzerland. In its original arrangement (two violins, dulcimer, cello, contrabass) is of great importance, while the accordion and piano are also included in some formations.

Pop and rock

1960s

Later in the 20th century, in the 1960s, rock and roll, or beat music, was popular, peaking in 1968 with the release of Les Sauterelles' "Heavenly Club". Swiss rock popularity began in 1957, when the Hula Hawaiians incorporated rockabilly, setting the stage for the early 1960s boom. The Francophone section of Switzerland soon found itself dominated by French stars like Johnny Hallyday, and soon Swiss artists like Les Aiglons, Larry Greco and Les Faux-Frères became major artists.

1964 saw Beatles-inspired pop take hold on the continent, displacing the earlier instrumental rock and inspired musical battles in Basel, the capital of Swiss rock. Swiss bands in the same mold included The 16 Strings and Pichi, and German-speaking acts soon dominated the field. Zurich then became a center of innovation, drawing on Chris Lange's blues-roots explorations, Heiner Hepp's Bob Dylan-inspired folk and Toni Vescoli's pop fame. Other Swiss artists of the period included R&B act The Nightbirds from Locarno, light rock stars The Wild Gentlemen, The Blue Sounds and pop band Marco Zappa & the Teenagers. In 1967, artists like Mani Matter, Franz Hohler, Sergius Golowin, and Kurt Marti began establishing Swiss-German dialect rock, glorifying their distinct national identities. While others like Roland Zoss and Tinu Heiniger sang on in German.

By 1968, Swiss rock was dying, and artists were exploring sonic innovations. Basel's Barry Window, for example used soul and Indian music to make rock, while The Sauterelles explored psychedelia.

1970s

Progressive music formed by the 1970s, when jazz, blues and other genres were combined with socially aware lyrics, outlandish solos and macho posturing. The first band of the progressive rock boom was supergroup Flame Dream, Krokodil, and The Shiver and Brainticket soon followed. Sinus Studio in Bern, and engineers Eric Merz and Peter McTaggart, became the center of innovation by the mid-1970s, however.

1973 saw the first commercial release of dialect rock with Rumpelstilz's "Warehuus Blues"; the band broke into the mainstream in 1976 with the release of the reggae-influenced chart-topper Füüf Narre im Charre .

Later in the decade, hard rock became popular and Toad soon established a Swiss scene with the debut single, "Stay!", setting the stage for the 1980 explosion of Krokus, the most popular rock band in Swiss music history. Whilst bands like The Swiss Horns, Red Devil Band and Circus from Basel continued the music in a more experimental form, expanded Swiss Punk bands the musical boundaries. Already in 1976 a small group of Swiss-punks began to adapt the American and British punk rock scene. Bands like Kleenex, Dieter Meier, The Nasal Boys, Troppo, Mother's Ruin, TNT, Dogbodys, Sick, all from Zurich, as Glueams (Bern), Sozz (Büren), Crazy (Lucerne), Bastards and Jack & the Rippers from Geneva represent the Swiss Punk & Wave scene of the late 1970s.

Kleenex – beside the British bands The Slits and The Raincoats – was one of the first three female bands of the Punk era, published in November 1978 their first single/EP with four songs. With the mixture of art-school, glamour and punk noise they attempted the attention of John Peel and became the first Swiss Wave export hit. They reached the UK-Charts and got a contract with Rough Trade Records.

1980s

During the 1980s Switzerland produced a number of metal bands. A Swiss band, Celtic Frost, mostly known for their progression of style and Avant-garde take on extreme music started in the early 1980s as Hellhammer and soon became a leading heavy metal band in Switzerland. They together with a few other bands laid the foundation of modern metal in Switzerland. Related to Celtic Frost, is the technical thrash metal trio Coroner who were roadies for Celtic Frost. The late 1980s saw black metal band Samael being formed which converted into an industrial metal band.

At the beginning of the 1980s Swiss new wave bands developed their own individual music style and some of them became internationally famous, especially Kleenex/LiliPUT and Yello in UK and the US, or Grauzone and mittageisen in Germany. Grauzone reached the Austrian and German charts with their NDW-hit “Eisbär”. mittageisen released in January 1985 the 12" automaten “ with a new Electro sound". The single found the way onto the legendary John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and became an Indie-Disco hit. Other remarkable Swiss Post-punk / new wave bands are Blue China, The Vyllies and The Young Gods. Formed in 1985 by vocalist Franz Treichler, the group used digital sampling to create an intense amalgamation of classical and rock music and became pioneers of industrial music. The English music-press react enthusiastically and Melody Maker made the band's first self-titled album their "The Album of The Year".

1983 saw the Ex-Trem Normal release "Warum" and "Welcome to Switzerland", which revolutionized Bernese rock by adding distinctive dialect trends. They were followed by Züri West and other bands.

In 1986, the duo Double became the first Swiss act to hit the US Top 40 charts with their song, "The Captain of Her Heart".

Since the 1980s Swiss jazz has continued to form. Notable exponents of the Swiss jazz scene are saxophonist Fritz Renold or trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti. Stephan Eicher is a popular folk rock musician, rising to prominence in the mid-1980s and gaining a popular following across Europe in the 1990s.

1990s

In the 1990s, many rappers and DJs started to influence Switzerland's musical scene. Such as Black Tiger from Basel was the first one to rap in a Swiss German dialect. Sens Unik from Renens (a suburb of Lausanne) are one of the most important rap groups, merging hip hop with influences from many other styles. Even their first EP included a track in Spanish, due to MC Carlos's Spanish and Galego heritage. Electronica is also part of the Swiss musical experience, Yello's first album came out in 1979, in the 1980s, Touch El Arab scored a hit in several European countries with the song "Muhammar". Producer Pat Jabbar from Basel established his own record company Barraka el Farnatshi in the late eighties; dedicated to music from the Arabic world (especially Morocco) mixed with dance music from the west. While most musician's work was based on the contemporary Anglo-Saxon music, singer songwriter Christine Lauterburg took up the traditional Swiss folk music and merged old domestic song with pop and electronic music elements. With her version of the classic Swiss song "S'Vreneli vom Guggisberg" she triggered intense indignation as well as praise.

One of the most popular Swiss singer and performance artists is DJ Bobo, born René Baumann.

Emerging in the early 1990s, the band Gotthard evolved to become the leading Swiss rock group and one of the most acclaimed bands in Europe. With a total of 8 studio albums, 2 compilation albums and 2 live albums (one of which unplugged), they changed their style from hard rock to adult contemporary rock. They are presently very popular in Switzerland, but also in Germany, Austria, Italy and Brazil. Singer Steve Lee was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 5, 2010. [1] Nic Maeder joined the band and in 2012, they toured around the world with their new Firebirth album.

2000s

Some Swiss musicians actually enjoy a worldwide reputation, with commercial success. Helvetic electronic music plays a great role (house and dance music particularly), because of some artists like DJ Antoine, Remady, Yves Larock, or Mike Candys. Some popular Swiss acts today are the Neue Deutsche Härte Swiss-German band Metallspürhunde, The Dandies, Paysage D'Hiver, Man-L and the Celtic Metal band Eluveitie.[ citation needed ] Thomas Gabriel Fischer recently split up Celtic Frost and formed a new group, Triptykon,[ citation needed ] playing a black/doom style similar to recent Celtic Frost material.[ citation needed ]

2010s

In 2010, Swiss mathcore band Knut released their 4th full-length album, Wonder, on Hydra Head Records.

One of the most visible groups to come out of Switzerland in recent history, Zürich's Tj Toðdler, began performing cover versions of popular recording artists in 2012, and have since begun composing their own pop music. Their music is deeply rooted in Swiss folk music culture, having released two live albums championing their homeland, 2013's The Music of Switzerland and The Sound of Zürich, both released in America on Family Recordings. Additionally, much of their artwork contains Swiss nationalist imagery. [2] [3] In January 2015, their debut album The Young Men Smile was released by Husqvarna on CD and LP.

Notes and references

  1. swissinfo.ch and agencies (6 October 2010). "Gotthard singer dies in motorcycle crash near Mesquite, NV USA". SwissInfo. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  2. http://youpeoplemakemesick.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/new-live-release/
  3. http://youpeoplemakemesick.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/the-sound-of-zurich/

Bibliography

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