The Federal Swiss Mint have issued (4th May) a new silver coin that features one of the country’s most familiar and recognisable national activities: yodelling. The vocal skill of yodelling originated as a call from mountain to mountain; it was an effective way of communicating from one alpine farmstead to another. The original “natural” yodel was a form of communication in mountainous and inaccessible regions and was also used during cattle drives. In Switzerland and other Alpine countries, yodelling eventually developed into song in the 19th century, usually as the choruses of folk songs. The love of nature and homeland are still central to this unique and instantly recognisable Alpine tradition.
Whenever I hear a yodel, it speaks directly into my heart and soul. A yodel call has no words because words simply cannot do justice to the feelings it conveys. You can put your whole being into a yodel.
These words have been attributed to noted Swiss author Heinrich Federer (1866–1928) when describing the emotional pull of the yodel.
A yodel, or jutz, is a melody sung using non-lexical vocals—sounds that are not words, with frequent repeated changes in pitch between the chest register and the head register (falsetto). Well-known natural yodels that are often improvised spontaneously include the Muotataler Jüüzli, which is sung with two or three voices in harmony; and the polyphonic Zäuerli and Ruggusserli, primarily from the region of Appenzell.
The coin’s design is the work of Gabriel Giger, from Leuk-Stadt in the Canton of Valais. The obverse depicts a traditionally dressed man and woman in song or yodel with the national flag and an alphorn blower in the background.
The reverse includes the text CONFOEDERATIO HELVETICA and the year of issue, along with the coin’s denomination, on a simple and clear field.
|20 francs||.835 silver||20 g||33 mm||Uncirculated||28,000|
|20 francs||.835 silver||20 g||33 mm||Brilliant Unc.||2,000|
|20 Francs||.835 silver||20 g||33 mm||Proof||4,800|
The “Yodelling” coin will be issued in time for the Swiss Yodelling Festival in Brig-Glis. The Brilliant Uncirculated examples are packaged in a colourfully printed blister-pack folder, while the Proof examples are presented in a cardboard case with certificate of authenticity. Two hundred Proof-quality coins are also available with the COA signed by the designer of the coin. Please visit the website of the Swiss Federal Mint for more information on this and other coins on offer.
The 2017 Swiss Yodelling Festival
From the 22nd to the 25th June 2017, the 30th Swiss Yodelling Festival will take place in Brig-Glis, with 15,000 performers and more 150,000 visitors expected to come to the main town in Upper Valais. Over four days, they will have the opportunity to listen to first-rate performances by yodel choirs and individual yodelers, and marvel at alphorn players and flag throwers. The yodel song, now performed with two-, three-, or four-part harmonies and usually accompanied by a Swiss accordion, is the genre most favoured by yodelers in the Swiss Yodelling Association, the Eidgenössischer Jodlerverband (EJV), which was formed in 1910. Its members take part in regional and cantonal competitions each year as well as participating in the Swiss Yodelling Festival held every three years. The Swiss Yodelling Association comprises not only yodel choirs and individual yodelers, but also alphorn blowers and flag throwers.
Filmed at the 2011 Yodelling Festival, Interlaken, Switzerland.