Swiss Alpine Music

Competitions and courses in alphornblowing


In order to enhance the alphorn tradition the organizers of the first Herdsmen's festival near Interlaken invited every player of the alphorn to a competition on August 17, 1805. The festival's board performed the duties as a jury, and valuable trophies were prepared by the governor's wife. But only two candidates applied. At the 1808 competition only one blower came and was awarded the first prize, a sheep, without any competition.
The result of these sad competitions in alphorn blowing were the first courses which took place in 1826 and 1827 in Grindelwald.

Indeed: the alphorn tradition received a fresh impetus. The alphorn was blown more and more at sightseeing locations and so often annoyed visitors, that the mendicant alphorn blowing was controlled and risked dying out a second time.

In 1869 there was an alphorn competition in Siebnen, Canton Schwyz, with eight candidates. At the W├Ąggital herdsmen's festival in 1876 six players took part, but a sudden snowstorm made impossible the competition itself. Finally the Swiss Alpine Club made eight alphorns in 1880 and had them played in Muotathal in 1881.

After all these ups and downs, the Federal Yodelling Association was founded in 1910, and since 1921 has organized courses for alphorn blowing as well as published educational aids and collections of traditional tunes and new compositions.

It is thanks to the Federal Yodelling Association that this instrument is still to be found throughout the country.

Swiss Yodeling Association


© Copyright swissinfo | swissinfo - an enterprise of SRG SSR idee suisse