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Switzerland - Appenzell

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

Italy - The Resia Valley

In the Resia Valley (north-east of the Friuli region) lives one of the most interesting ethnic minorities of Italy. Thanks both to its geographical remoteness and its social cohesion it maintains very particular cultural features in language (a particular dialect of slavish origin), music, dance and customs. Here the music is only performed by two instruments: Citira (fiddle) and Bunkula (three-stringed cello). This repertoire is well alive and also flourishing because, besides the old tunes, the best players compose some new ones which are often named after them. In this way some fiddlers have tied their name to the local musical history.

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

The dance

Carnival 1973