November 5, 2011
0027 SWITZERLAND - Alphorn players
Until recently I was confident that the bucium (also called tulnic in some areas) is an musical instrument used exclusively by Romanians. Behold, isn't it, even if its origins are however in the Carpathian mountains, where it was used by the Dacians more than 2,000 years ago and afterwards by the dwellers of Moldavia and Wallachia principalities as signaling devices in military conflicts, as well as for guiding sheep and dogs in the mountains. The name comes from the Latin bucinum (curved horn) and instrument is in fact a very long tube (a truncated cone, more precisely) made from limetree bark or wood.
Unlike the bucium, alphorn (considered the national symbol of Switzerland) has curved near the end by which sounds coming out. His goal was the same, by signal instrument, and because it has no lateral openings, gives the pure natural harmonic series of the open pipe. It appears in compositions belonging to Brahms, Rossini and Britten, and Leopold Mozart (Amadeus's father), who compose in 1755 Sinfonia Pastorella for Alphorn and String Orchestra.
The well known song to the alphorn is however Ranz des Vaches, who has the value of the secret "national" hymn of the French-speaking Swiss. The song describes the time of bringing the cows to the high country at cheese making time. This melody is the heart of each fête des vignerons (wine-growers' festival), which is celebrated every 25 years in Vevey, Canton Vaud. The three alphorn players from the postcad wear traditional clothes, black bredzons hemmed with red, white shirts and specific hats (I don’t know if it have any special name).
About the stamp
As it writes on, the stamp is part of a special set, Art optique, designed by Youri Messen-Jaschin, consisting of three values (100,140 and 185) and issued in 2010.
Alphorn - Wikipedia
Sender: Gabriela Bläsi (direct swap)
Sent from Büren an der Aare (Bern / Switzerland), on 26.10.2011
Photoglob Zürich / Vevey