Swiss Alpine Music

Natural yodeling without words


In Alpine regions, such as the Muotatal in Canton Schwyz, the Appenzellerland and the Austrian district of Scheibbs, one to five-voice yodels without words can be heard. The Muotatal Jüüzli has two to three voices.

In the Muotatal and in the regions of Appenzell the fourth level of the major scale is still sung as a natural F (Alphorn-Fa), that means a tone between F and F sharp.

The so-called Zäuerli or Ruggusserli of Appenzell are polyphonic yodels without words, which are still improvised today. When a few men are sitting around a table a solo singer often starts a slow yodel, while the others search a corresponding tone which they sing or hum like a bourdon to accompany the melody.

For New Year's celebrations according to the old Julian calendar (13 January) the polyphonic yodels are sung behind masks, a tradition which moves high-tech Switzerland backwards to primitive times.

Natural Yodeling

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