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
All the tunes have a two-part structure: the first one fingered in the Key of D (called "na tenko") and the second one in the key of G (called "na tusto") fingered in the same way a fifth lower.
In the first part the cello rhythmic drone is a double sound D-A while in the second one it is a simple G, so that strings are never fingered at all. Another essential element of the tune is the hard foot stamping of the fiddlers who play sitting down.
Here are some famous players of the past decades:
Music in the pub
Jämtland and Häriedalen are two of Sweden’s foremost counties in the realm of traditional folk music. These two former Norwegian counties were ceded to Sweden in 1645 but rich relations have been mantained with neighbours on the other side of the fells and the close Norwegian cities were long used by the “Swedes” as provincial capitals because of the poor communications with the rest of Sweden. The folk music tradition has of course been affected by this contact between the peoples, fiddlers have wandered freely between Norwegian and Swedish provinces and many tunes are thus common to both sides of the border and there is also a striking similarity in the fiddle styles.This record comes from the Svenskt visarkiv (The Swedish Centre for Folk Song and Folk Music Research) and presents traditional folk music as played by the eldest generations of fiddlers. All the field recordings have been made since 1968.
On Side A we can hear many melodies composed or played by Lapp Nils (1804-1870), a well renowed fiddler from a family of Lapps. Thanks to Lapp Nils the fiddling of Jämtland reached its high-water mark, in spite of the fact that he, in common with many others, stopped playing the fiddle around 1850 under the influence of the religious revival.
Most of the tunes are examples of Polska: the typical Swedish dance that shares nothing with the European 2/4 Polka, it’s actually a ¾ time dance in which the musicians accentuate the first and third beats.
LP 1975 Out – of- print
Paul Anderson (b. 1898)
01 Wedding march from Jämtland
02 Lapp Nils Polska
03 Lapp Nils Polska
Per Eriksson (b. 1893)
04 Wedding march
06 Lapp Nils Polska
Erik Nilsson (b. 1886)
07 Lapp Nils Polska
08 Lapp Nils Polska
09 Lapp Nils Waltz
Ante Falk (b. 1886)
10 Lapp Nils Polska
11 Lapp Nils Polska
Andreas Nilsson (b. 1899)
13 Lapp Nils Waltz
Fridolf Andersson (b. 1886)
Kjell Brannlund (b. 1916)
John Erik Mattsson (b. 1904)
Paul Mann (b. 1899)
Fritjof Mesch (b. 1903)
Jonas Myhr (b. 1897)
26 Wedding March
28 Wedding tune
29 Storhurven Polska
MP3 -- NEW LINK
Sven Nyhus (1932, from the Østerdalen region of Norway) is both a full trained violinist and a great master in playing and collecting norwegian fiddling.
Besides his career in classical Filarmonik and Orchestras he started about 40 years ago to play Norway music in quartet or sextet.
This is his tribute to the pure fiddle music of Norway, a summary of traditional dances and marches, sometimes played for traditional weddings.
The style reveals the ancient music of Scandinavian countries, made by modal scales and often played in open tunings.
Nyhus sometimes plays also the Hardingfele, an instrument rather like the Baroque viola d'amore, with four extra strings vibrating sympathetically under the first set so to give to the fiddle a tipycal, unusual, resonance.
These 20 solo fiddle tunes are a true pleasure for the lovers of the traditional fiddle styles, maybe not if you're looking for "progressive folk".
Leken Hos Kokk-Sofia
Reinlender from Roros
Leken Hinnes Kvaernengs-Kjerstna
Bridal March from Engerdal
Nigvals from Roros http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
MP3 -- NEW LINK ! The older one was lost
Nowadays the Cape Breton music is very well known in the world mainly thanks to Natalie McMaster, reputed by many peaople to be one of the best fiddlers in the folk scene, however I think it's still a great pleasure to watch at her uncle Hugh "Buddy" McMaster.
When this elegant man plays his fiddle we can hear a musical taste that is unknown to most of the younger and more skilled musicians. Here in 1984
We must say thanks for this job mainly to the Association of the Musiciens Routiniers that also published many documents on LP (some of them remastered on CD). The great French folk revival movement of the following years allowed to preserve and continue a rich corpus of dance tunes as Bourrées, Scottishes, Branles etc.
In this beautiful video "Des violons en sabots" by Francis Lapeyre, we can see three great violoneux from Cantal: Jean Chastagnol, Leon Peyrat and Joseph Perrier
And here is Joseph Perrier again, some years later, with many younger fiddlers playing his tunes
The fiddle repertoire in the Caffaro Valley was made of twenty-four ritual dances, which were similar both in the villages of Ponte Caffaro and Bagolino.
Since the second half of the 70s, other dances no longer in use were reintroduced notified by Marcello Buccio (1912-1978), Costante Cosi (1917-1988), fiddlers of the old Fellowships, and Stefano Bordiga (born 1931), still a member nowadays .
Despite some differences in harmonizations, the tunes are still quite the same in the two villages.
Here is the old LP published by the Lombardy Administration, containing recordings made in Bagolino in the year 1972
Regione Lombardia Vol.4 - La musica del carnevale di Bagolino
Here is the Bagolino Carnival in the year 2000
And here is the Carnival in the hamlet of Ponte Caffaro in 1993