Kühreihen / Kuhreihen
For a short summary of what constitutes a "Kuhreihen" (spelled variously, sometimes with or without the u-umlaut, ü), see the Wikipedia page "Ranz de Vaches." The word "Kuhreihen" is both singular (masculine: der Kuhreihen) and plural (die Kuhreihen). One view is that the compound word Kuh (cow) + Reihen (row) is a description of how grazing cows who are being called by a herdsman's song begin to head toward the herdsman, forming a row, one behind the other, as they proceed.
A collection of Kuhreihen from Swiss festivals at Unspunnen (in Interlaken) in the early 1800s was published in 1826. A reprint of the 1826 edition, with a wonderful series of critical essays, was published in 1979 (see this page, under 1979, for bibliographic information).
A book scan of the 1826 edition is available for download here from Google Books. Individual song scans provided in the links below are extracted from a downloaded file.
Resetting in MuseScore 3
I reset the scores in MuseScore 3. Pdf and mp3 files generated from the MuseScore files are linked below.
I believe I have corrected several errors in the 1826 scores, and I have undoubtedly both missed some needed corrections, as well as introduced my own errors. Having served in the past as quality control music editor for an online sheet music company, I am aware of how easy it is when working alone to "see" and "hear" what one expects, only to discover that an exact examination of the music file shows a different reality. That is why we always had multiple editors engaged in the setting and proofing of digitally produced music scores. I have no staff of music editors at my disposal, I am not a musicologist, and what I have learned about the history and use of Kuhreihen comes from a small handful of books and articles, many of which are listed on this web page link. I am looking for someone with far more native expertise to provide feedback on my scores.
Wouldn't it be fun to begin preparing live performances of these Kuhreihen, sung and played by musicians from their respective areas, at the next Unspunnenfest in 2029? That is less than 8 years from now (as of January 2022). Let the rehearsals begin! :) It would be a fitting way to commemorate the bicentennial of the 1826 edition that includes Kuhreihen from the first two Unspunnenfests in 1805 and 1808.
My reset scores provide almost no musical interpretation, other than tempo settings (which are provided only in descriptive terms in some of the scores), fermatas, and a few short pauses between sections. I was simply interested in acquiring a feel for the sound these songs, which, even though mechanically generated, have produced a level of personal enthusiasm that I had not expected. They are full of emotion: joy, sadness, longing, and more. Explore and see what you think! Imagine the range and depth of musical expression that was generated by those who sang and played these songs long ago. The scores are also not optimized for vocal performance. The primary purpose for creating the scores was simply to get an approximate feel for how they sound.
My MuseScore files do not contain lyrics. The original scans contain only the first stanza. All of the lyrics are found in Texte zu der Sammlung von Schweizer-Kühreihen und Volksliedern (Vierte, viel vermehrte und verbesserte Ausgabe), von Joh. Rud. Wyss, Professor. Bern, 1826 (available as a free download on Google Books).
I will be updating the files as I make corrections and complete the series. I am also working on providing an English translation of the lyrics, but that is quite a difficult undertaking since some of the Swiss-German lyrics are not well understood. The glossary at the end of the Texte zu der Sammlung (above) is indispensable.
Songs with interesting settings indicated:
Only a few of the songs in this collection appear to be playable on the alphorn. For an analysis of the Kuhreihen in general, including information about which are suitable for the alphorn, see Hans-Jürg Sommer, Eine Auswertung und Interpretation historischer Quellen zur Alphornmelodik, 2010, "Der Kühreihen: Definition des Begriffs and Analyse der Quellen bis 1820, sowie deren Spielbarkeit auf dem Alphorn," pp. 33-76.
Key to Table
* Song 63 includes the following information in the header: