Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

The folk & traditional music of Europe, Africa & the Americas explored.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
THE GERMANIC PEOPLES 73
cutters' song from Bavaria. But at one point it leaves the widely ac­cepted art music tradition: line 4 has several parallel fifths, which are performed consistently stanza after stanza. This song also, of course, indicates the importance, in German folk song, of triads in both har­mony and melody.
German -folk music outside Germany proper
The Alpine region of South Germany, Austria, and Switzerland has developed a regional body of folklore and folk music, including certain unique practices, which contrast with those of Germany proper. It is sometimes thought that the extreme isolation of the mountain dwellers as well as their exceptional physical environment are responsible for this regional peculiarity, and some scholars have tried to draw parallels between Alpine folklore and that of other mountain regions in the belief that geography plays an important role in determining the nature of a people's traditions. Two char­acteristic aspects of the Alpine musical heritage are the alphorn and yodeling.
The alphorn is a Swiss instrument, a wooden trumpet from four to twelve feet long, used to call cattle and to signal across valleys; it is played also at sunset rites. Similar instruments are found in other countries, including Estonia, Poland, and Rumania. Its repertory is mostly short calls, but there are also a few traditional tunes. Since its sound can be heard for miles, especially with the help of echoes, its presence in the Alps can be explained, at least partly, by the geo­graphic environment. The fact that the player uses the higher par-tials has caused its music to make use of a peculiar scale—C-D-E-F sharp-G (transposed, of course, to various pitches when the instru­ment varies in size)—which has also been used as the basis of some Swiss folk songs.
Yodeling, the rapid alternation between chest and head voice while singing meaningless syllables, is also a practice due partly to the possibility of communicating over long distance from one moun­tainside to another. While we do find the use of falsetto in various continents, true yodeling is rare outside the Alpine region. Yodeling usually appears in the refrains of songs, although there are also some songs which consist entirely of yodeling. There is in the Alps also







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III