Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Entry #11 to AHPC: 'An Alpine Duet' - Italian Wars Swiss Alphorn

It was a bit of a scramble for me this week, but I've come up with a vignette that I've been wanting to do since I began my Italian Wars project a few years ago: a Swiss alphorn player calling out to his reisläufer camarades. 

A very unique instrument, the alphorn has its roots extending back to antiquity, with theories believing that it originated with the lituus war horn from the Etruscan period.  Early medieval alpine myths frequently refer to the horn being used as a signalling device between mountain villages, while the first documented reference of the word 'alphorn' is in a 1527 account book of a Cistercian abby, where an alphorn player was paid two Batzen for his playing (or perhaps to stop).

So with this in mind, I've extrapolated that if the alphorn was a fairly common instrument amongst the Swiss from at least the early medieval period, one could conjecture that they would have used them in their military campaigns, for signalling purposes and, like the highland pipes, to raise the morale of their fighting men.

As there are no alphorn figures in the market (a shocking oversight, I know) I made my own by bisecting the torso of a Perry Swiss musician, removed his existing instrument, and reposed him (aided with a liberal amount of wire and green stuff) to accept his 10 foot alphorn.  

The alphorn itself was made from a length of plastic rod with greenstuff wrapped around it and then sanded to shape.

For a bit of fun, I've accompanied the alphornist in a somewhat mismatched duet with a Landsknecht flautist, while a few onlookers are taking in the concert, enjoying a refreshment. 

Take it away!

Song: 'Heart of Cairo' (2013)

Artist: Eliana Burki