ranz des vaches


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ranz des vaches

(räNz dā väsh), type of Alpine folk melody of irregular melodic and rhythmic form used to call cattle. It is played on the alphorn by Swiss herders, or sung, with or without words. There are about 50 or more regional variations on the basic melodic pattern. Beethoven, in the Pastoral Symphony, Berlioz, in the Symphonie fantastique, and Rossini, in William Tell, are among the composers who have used the ranz des vaches in compositions.
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The violins repeat the ranz des vaches and expand it into a full-blown melody, the song of thanks that is the main theme of the finale.
Another sound, the plaintive Ranz des Vaches or Kureihen herders' cow call, has over 500 years been elevated into virtually an alternative Swiss national anthem, sometimes derided as "the Cattleman's Marseillaise", but guaranteed to produce patriotic tears at any Helvetian folk gathering like the recent Festival of the Winegrowers (as well as having been appropriated in various forms by many classical music composers).
A not to Descriptive Sketches discusses the |French Ranz des Vaches' - the tune which exacerbated the homesickness of Swiss troops |in the service of France and Holland'.