A Reassessment of Wolfgang Sichardt’s 1936 Field Recordings of Swiss Yodel

Wey, Yannick (2021). A Reassessment of Wolfgang Sichardt’s 1936 Field Recordings of Swiss Yodel Musicologist, 5(2), pp. 166-186. 10.33906/musicologist.985434

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Historical field recordings offer insight both into past performance routines and into the processes and contexts of musical practices in their time. In the wake of renewed interest in musical traditions of the alpine region, I reassessed the magnetic tape recordings created by the Jena University doctoral student Wolfgang Sichardt (1911–2002) from multiple perspectives. The premises and context of the field research in 1936 are reconstructed, in part based on original correspondence; the reception and impact of the research in Germany and Switzerland are assessed; and the exact origin of the recordings is determined wherever possible. Descriptive transcriptions of the entire corpus of yodel and alphorn music visualize the content. The 1936 field recordings, made by Sichardt during a six-week field trip to different areas of Switzerland, document yodels, folk songs, and alphorn melodies on 12 magnetic tape reels, recorded with the latest technology at the time, the AEG Magnetophon K-2. Although the results were published afterward (Sichardt, 1939), the magnetic tape recordings remained private until they were donated to the Vienna Phonogram Archive in 2008, and only in the past decade have they been discovered by researchers.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Interpretation


Wey, Yannick0000-0002-2416-1285


M Music and Books on Music > M Music






Yannick Wey

Date Deposited:

16 May 2024 10:04

Last Modified:

16 May 2024 10:04

Publisher DOI:






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