In a remote corner of Switzerland, there is a County where alpine traditions are distinctive of the folk life. While the majority of cantons introduced women's right to vote after the confederation did in 1971, the two conservative half-cantons: Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden refused to do so for a long time (!!!) so women were finally allowed to vote in local elections in 1990 (by decision of the federal court).
The Appenzell people have always been known as being musical.
In the 19th century, the fiddle and dulcimer were normally played for dancing purposes. Accompanying these instruments were the double bass or the «Basett». Practically during the whole of the second half of the 19th century , the so-called «Appenzell Quartett» was known throughout the whole country. In 1892, the «Appenzell String Quintett» was formed. It received its final formation at the turn of the century and remained unchanged until the First World War.
Since then, this composition of instruments is known as the Original String Music and has been all along dance music, i.e. it is known that it was expected from a good violin player that he knew approx. 500 pieces of dance music off by heart.
The basett is a string instrument which in size and sound lies between a double bass and cello.
The hammered dulcimer is a wide zither developed from the Persian santur which is hit by hammers or tongues. In the 11th century, it came from the Middle East to Europe and was increasingly popular among society between the 17th and 19th centuries. In Switzerland, the hammered dulcimer is known since the 16th Century, so in Appenzell, where it occupies an important position in the music.
Appenzeller Various Artists - LP Out-of-print