Culture | Music


Is there a common Walser singing manor?

This question can not be answered satisfyingly.

There was an economic and cultural exchange across the borders in the Walser regions through craftsmen, traders, soldiers and musicians. This dynamic factor surely formed the folk music up to the beginning of the 20th century. People who came into contact with music and songs used what they received from the outside on a large scale despite the different languages. Therefore no specific Walser songs or dances are to be found up to the middle of the last century. Documents from this time only point to the general musical customs in these regions.

Starting with the first international Walser meeting in Brig in 1952, the Walser recollected their togetherness. It also included the wish for common songs. New songs emerged in almost all Walser regions: at first in High German but later also in dialect. Today, these songs found their well-deserved place in the repertoire of Walser folk music groups. So these are new compositions that act as a linking element containing all peculiarities of Walser dialect.

Singing and yodelling in larger groups such as yodel choirs of up to 25 people but also smaller ensembles is typical not only for the Swiss, Italian, Vorarlberg or Tyrol groups but also for the Walser. Instruments like the alphorn have their fixed place in the Walser regions, especially when performing open air.

As exceptionally committed composers and musicians two are to be mentioned: Wilhelm Fritz (1918-1995) from Mittelberg and Felix Schmid (1919-1995) from Visp.

Verena Gillard-Fritz, Vorarlberger VolksLiedWerk

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