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Swiss Roots
Swiss Roots

Jodel and Fahnenschwingen

The term jodel was first used in Emanuel Schikaneder’s lyrical drama "Der Tyroler Wastl" in 1796.
In Switzerland a distinction is made between a shrill jodel starting in the upper reaches of the human voice and descending in the same breath and Naturjodel, in which one or more voices sing a melody without words or meaning.
In addition to these older types of jodelling there is the yodel song, which has been around since 1818 and is a folk song composed of jodel refrains. This was based on the Tyrol jodels - which were performed in Switzerland by wandering singers from Austria - and the Kühreihen, the traditional rounding-up song of the Swiss herdsmen.
Swiss born Tony Zgraggen performs a classic Swiss jodel at Volksfest the celebration of Swiss National Day in New Glarus, WI.
The Swiss Yodeling Association is the main organization for all Jodeling, Alphorn and Flag throwing activities in Switzerland. It holds the National Yodeling Festival every three years. The next national Yodeling Festival with more then 200,000 visitors will take place in Brig-Glis in 2017.
The North American Swiss Singing Alliance holds a Saengerfest every three years. The 2015 Saengerfest is in New Glarus, Wisconsin with more than 350 people in both competition and grand concert.
United Swiss Singing Societies of the Pacific Coast also holds a Saengerfest for member choirs every three years.  You can read its history here.

One of the oldest national sports of Switzerland is Fahnenschwingen
In the Middle Ages, this skillful activity was a privilege of urban guilds. It was brought back to Switzerland by Swiss mercenaries who had been serving in foreign European armies.
There are around 50 different moves which are divided into five groups for competition. They include:  the Unterschwünge (low swings), Leib- und Körperschwünge (body swings), Tellerschwünge (plate swings), mittelhohe Schwünge (medium-high swings) and Hochschwünge (high swings).
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