Appenzeller Music

Appenzeller Music comes in various genres. Music for stringed instruments in their original arrangement (two violins, dulcimer, cello, contrabass) is of great importance, while the accordion and piano are also included in some formations. «Appezöllerstöckli» (pieces of music from Appenzell) are also played by various brass band groups (6-13 musicians), which is referred to as «stegräfle» or impromptu music.

At the Sennenball (or «Herdsmen's Ball», a folk music ball where guests wear traditional alpine costumes), which takes place on «Striichmusigtag» («Stringed Instrument Day») or during one of the «Alpstobede» festivities, music lovers get the opportunity to become familiar with the full, inimitable sound of music for stringed instruments and learn about the famous musical tradition of the Appenzellerland. All good string ensembles are able to play classic masterpieces as well as popular original compositions. Such formations often no longer exclusively perform dance music, but concert music as well.

Vocal music is the second equally important pillar of the Appenzell musical tradition. In addition to yodelling songs and «Ratzliedli» (teasing and joking songs), choirs also perform songs without words, which is known as «Rugguusseli» in Innerrhoden and «Zäuerli» in Ausserrhoden. An important offshoot of this genre is the «Chlausezäuerli», a type of wordless yodelling performed in Appenzell Ausserrhoden on New Year's Eve by the «Chaluseschuppeln» (New Year's Eve spirits).


One must also not forget all the other forms of Appenzell music: including the alphorn, the prayer call, the «Schölleschötte» (musical chords created with cowbells) and «Talerschwingen» (a practice in which several musicians spin a coin on the inside of a bowl to create a musical tone and form chords in a group). There are also folk dancing groups for children and adults, and the chord zither has recently been making a comeback.