Popular Music Styles in SwitzerlandTraditional Swiss Folklore
Swiss Open Air Festivals
Though Switzerland's rich tradition of folklore music is probably best known abroad, there is definitely more to say about music in Switzerland and "heard with the ears of the local population" pop and rock music do play a far more important rôle. But there are also significant Swiss contributions to European classical music.
An estimate on how popular different styles of music are among the population can be made by comparing Swiss fm radio stations and their market share. Almost all privately owned Swiss radio stations focus on mainstream pop music. There is only one major exception: Radio Central in canton Schwyz (central Switzerland) focuses on Swiss folklore, country music (U.S. style) and Schlager (simple lovesongs in German language), focusing on a market niche competing with two very popular local radio stations in Lucerne and Zug serving almost the same region. In the urbanized regions, several stations are competing with different styles of pop music (pop, rock, rap/hip-hop) rather than with folklore or classical music. Even in alpine valleys with just one local radio station there is a clear preference on mainstream pop music.
National public radio is obliged by law to produce programs that reflect cultural diversity. It is financed by fees all radio listeners have to pay, irrespective of the programs they actually choose. There are three public radio programs per major language region (German, French, Italian). The first programs play a mix of mainstream pop, pop oldies and a little folklore (the latter especially at non-prime times) and reach a market share of more than 30% in all regions. The second programs aim at distinguished minorities and play classical and jazz music, the market share is less than 10%, however. The third programs (and the forth program in German) play music for twens and teens, giving just a little more room to experimental / non-mainstream pop & rock than ad-financed private radios.
Though it is not easy to get exact figures, an overwhelming majority (about 2/3) of the Swiss population seems to prefer mainstream pop and pop oldies, while classical, alpine folklore and U.S. country music are the preferred choice of about 10% of the population each. Jazz and world music play a minor role. Insofar as this tendency is shared by all western European countries the tastes of the majority of immigrants are not really different from those of the native Swiss population.
Classical Music in Switzerland
Performances of Classical Music
Folklore Music in Switzerland
The area of traditional or folklore music in Switzerland encomprises alpine herdsmen's and rural traditions (alphorn, yodeling, alpsegen, ländlermusik [rural dance music]) as well as music based on military traditions (brass bands). There are some regional preferences as well as a couple of instruments used only in particular regions.
Like their colleagues in U.S. style country & western music, Swiss bands playing folklore music have also adopted popular new instruments and elements of style from mainstream pop and rock music, namely synthesizers allowing one-man-bands to play several instruments at a time and/or new rhythm patterns. Nevertheless, bands and followers of folklore music can be distinguished from those playing/listening to "globalized" pop and rock music.
Jazz Music in Switzerland
Rock Music in Switzerland
While the 1960's bands Les Sauterelles and The Minstrels are history, most of the bands coming up in the 1980's and 1990's are still quite active, attracting more people to live concerts and having more success in the charts than the newer bands.
Swiss Pop Music Groups and Soloists
Rap in Switzerland
Country Music (U.S. style) in Switzerland
World Music in Switzerland
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