Yannick Wey,  Alpine Vibes – Callings and Echoes of the Alps :: A Performance-Lecture on Swiss Alphorn Music

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Alpine Vibes

A simple musical instrument of the Alpine shepherds, the alphorn became a source of fascination for travelers in the 19th century. As a result, it became a symbol of musical tradition in Switzerland. Thanks to its soothing sound and the unique visual appearance of the instrument, alphorn music is enjoying growing popularity, interestingly also in the Seattle region. We demonstrate historical and new alphorn music and get to the bottom of questions such as: What music can be played on a wind instrument that has no valves, finger holes or keys? What function does the alphorn have in the rituals, customs and traditions of the Alpine region? How is its musical history connected to the natural environment of the Alpine region and to the purely vocal call of the Swiss yodel? The themes will be richly illustrated with live music from four centuries.

Dr. Yannick Wey is a Senior Research Associate at the Competence Center for Music Education Research at Lucerne School of Music, Switzerland. He received a BA and an MA in Trumpet Performance from Zurich University of the Arts and a PhD in Musicology from the University of Innsbruck. In his PhD thesis, he analyzed the musical transcription of the Alpine yodel and related wordless song and the interactions between their oral and written traditions. His current projects inhabit the spaces between ethnography, music analysis, and performance. He plays the traditional wind instruments of the Alpine region, the Alphorn and Büchel. His research has appeared in Analytical Approaches to World Music, Music & Science, The Galpin Society Journal, Musicologist, and the Swiss Yearbook for Musicology. 

Co-presenter Gary Martin is professor emeritus of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of Washington. He holds a BA in Physics-Astronomy and Classics, an MA in Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, and a PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Studies. He has also maintained a keen interest in music as former VP of marketing and publishing of an online sheet music company and current trumpet and alphorn player. In retirement, he has become an enthusiast of Swiss folk music traditions. Gary translated the book "Alpine Vibes" from German into English with collaboration of Yannick Wey and the 2 co-authors.

Where: CMU 120

When: May 17 at 5pm