Volksmusik (German: literally, "people's music" or as a Germanic connotative translation, "folk's music") is the common umbrella designation of a number of related styles of traditional folk music from the Alpine regions of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and South Tyrol (Italy). It tends to be dialect-heavy and invokes local and regional lifestyles and traditions, particularly those of the Alpine farmers and peasants.
Transmitted by oral tradition, oldest historical records like the Appenzell Kuhreihen by Georg Rhau date back to the 16th century. Typical instruments range from alpenhorns to hackbretts, zithers and acoustic guitars, and even violas and harmonicas. Harmonized singing is frequent, but other pieces may require yodeling, while instrumental arrangements are particularly frequent for fast dances or brass pieces.
Volksmusik continues to be performed by many local groups and orchestras throughout the European Alps and should not be confused with Volkstümliche Musik, which is largely to be found in broadcasting media and on ancillary merchandise. Volkstümliche Musik has also attracted a small fan base in the United Kingdom, as well as British artists.
Marcello Sorce Keller, Tradizione orale e tradizione corale: ricerca musicologica in Trentino, Bologna, Forni Editore, 1991.,
Marcello Sorce Keller, "Gebiete, Schichten und Klanglandschaften in den Alpen. Zum Gebrauch einiger historischer Begriffe aus der Musikethnologie", in T. Nussbaumer (ed.), Volksmusik in den Alpen: Interkulturelle Horizonte und Crossovers, Zalzburg, Verlag Mueller-Speiser, 2006.,
Marcello Sorce Keller, "Costantino Nigra und die Balladen-Forschung. Betrachtungen über die Beziehung zwischen Nord-Italien, Frankreich und der Suisse Romande". Bulletin. Gesellschaft für die Volksmusik in der Schweiz, X(2011), 33-40.
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