Swiss Mountain Music

From Reboil

Swiss Mountain Music was a 1957 album published by Capitol Records, Inc. containing music involving yodeling and alphorn performances.



  • 1970s: The Price is Right used On the Franches Mountains song during its “Cliffhangers” minigame as early as 1977.[1]
  • 2017-02-21: In Opening Arguments episode 45, co-host Thomas Smith used a clip of On the Franches Mountains as introduction music for a regular segment that would become known as "Yodel Mountain"; the segment analogized Donald Trump's accumulation of criminal activity without legal consequences to the climb of a mountain climber puppet in the “Cliffhangers” minigame of the The Price is Right television show.[2]

Album information

Transcribed from a scan of the LP case on the Internet Archive.[3]

SWITZERLAND, by North American standards, is indeed a tiny nation. But its rich and melodic folk music offers far more variety than the music of many larger countries.

This long-playing record, actually recorded in Switzerland by numerous of the most popular Swiss recording artists, reflects the generous variety of true Swiss music.

It is entertaining, danceable and —most importantly— “different” from the music of other nations.

The massive alphorn is purely Swiss. Immense in size, as this albumʼs colorful front cover photo confirms, the alphorn looks like anything but a musical instrument. Only a few native moun- tain herdsmen have the wind, the strength and embouchure to play it. Not many alphorns are to be found these days in the Swiss Alps. They are fast disappearing, and so are the men who are skilled enough to play them.

This is the first (and only) recording of an authentic Swiss alphorn ever to be recorded in true high fidelity on modern sound equipment. It is heard at the start of Side One and, again, at the conclusion of Side Two.

Few Swiss can yodel, contrary to a widely-prevalent myth. But those who can are the best yodellers in the world. .

The origin of yodelling is not clear. Some say it comes from pagan songs of consecration of the alpine meadows. Others assert that yodelling evolved down through the centuries from cattle calls. Others argue that yodelling is merely a musical way of expressing shouts of joy.

Only within the last few decades, perhaps since the turn of the century, has Ländlermusik mit Jodel (country dance music featuring yodelling) gained wide popularity in Switzerland. The Zäuerli from Canton Appenzell is similar to the Naturjodel, and in Eastern Switzerland these two types of yodelling are often combined with the unusual Talerschwingen. A large silver coin is thrown into an earthenware basin which is then moved with one hand in a horizontal circle. The coin climbs up the side of the basin like a motorcyclist on the “wall of death” and a peculiar hissing note results.

Ländlermusik (country dance music) is performed traditionally in the Alpine valleys and in the villages of the central plain. At harvest festivals and weddings the old, cheerful tunes are heard over and over again. The true Ländler is a quick waltz with a clarinet or accordion playing melody, and often with considerable virtuosity. The normal waltz and a not-too-fast polka are, however, also included in the general description, as was at one time the now almost forgotten mazurka.

Each valley has its own melodies and instrumental combinations. This is apparent as you come with us over the Säntis into Appenzell, into the valley of the Grisons, to the Lake of the Four Cantons, to the Bernese Oberland, and the Jura. How different the music of the Ticino sounds, warm with the sun of nearby Italy!

At one time Ländlermusik was played on fiddle, bass-fiddle and hackbrett (a triangular zither whose strings are struck with light wooden rods, something like the cymbalon of gypsy orchestras). Nowadays the fiddle and hackbrett are found only in Appenzell. Clear trumpets notes are also to be heard, especially in the Berne district. French influences in the Jura give rise to rapid rhythms and the quick, tongue-modulated yodel.

To round off our short Capitol tour of Switzerland, we hear the cumbersome Alphorn once more, a dying echo from the land of beautiful Alps.

This is Switzerland in music!


Front Cover Color Photo by Sandra Thaw

Song information

Track Information
Side Track Song title Description Artist Notes
1 1 UP TO THE RIGI Country Dance With Yodelling Ländlerkapelle Rigibuebe; Yodelling by Marthi Mumenthaler and Vreni Pfyl
1 1 BUNDER-SCHOTTISCH Grisons Country Dance Bünder Ländler-Quintet
1 1 THE HARE Toggenburg Yodel Jakob Metzler and Jodelklub Männertreu, Nesslau
1 1 ALPINE HERDSMAN Central Swiss Dance Accordion Duet by Wild and Forster
1 2 ALPINE SONG From Appenzell Innerrhoder Streichmusik, Franzsepp Inauen
1 2 ON THE LAKE OF BRIENZ Berner Oberland Polka Accordion Duet by Wild and Forster
1 2 THE MARCHLER Central Swiss Waltz Ländlerkapelle Rigibuebe; Yodelling by Marthi Mumenthaler and Vreni Pfyl
1 2 SPIEZER POLKA Berner Oberland The Berner Ländler-Quintet
1 2 THE SEVEN BOYS Toggenburg Yodel Yodelklub Männertreu, Nesslau
2 1 ON THE FRANCHES MOUNTAINS Jura Bernois Country Dance With Yodelling The Jura Orchestra (Baltakatei: a.k.a. the “Cliffhangers” theme from The Price is Right.
or the “Yodel Mountain” theme from Opening Arguments.[2])
2 1 IN THE AREA ʼROUND BERN Country Dance With Yodelling Berner Ländler-Quintet
2 1 GREETINGS FROM TICINO Orchestrina Zurigo
2 1 SUN IN AROSA Grisons Waltz With Yodelling Bündner Ländler-Quintet; Yodelling by Marthi Mumenthaler and Vreni Pfyl
2 1 THE LISTENER Toggenburg Yodelling With Moving Coins Jakob Metzler and Jodelklub Männertreu, Nesslau
2 2 ON THE CAUMA LAKE Grisons Waltz Bündner Ländler-Quintet
2 2 THE SPRINGS AT WEGGIS Central Swiss Song Ländlerkapelle Rigibuebe
2 2 COME ON THE LAKE Ticino Waltz Orchestrina Zurigo
2 2 VIEW FROM THE ALPS Neuchatel Polka With Yodelling The Jura Orchestra

Baltakatei History


  1. The Price is Right | (5/31/77)”. (1977). CBS.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Smith, Thomas; Torrez, Andrew. (2017-02-21). “OA45: What Could Donald Trump’s Tax Returns Tell Us? (With Guest Tony Di Fatta) – Part 1”. Accessed 2023-03-31. Time: 38m48s (ads), 38m18s (no ads). Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. “THOMAS: This is a new segment that I think we can do every week. It should be pretty easy. And then I think it'll be applicable for roughly 2 years in my best guess, but we'll see. The new segment is “How close is Trump to being impeached?”. How much longer can he possibly go? ... ANDREW: Do you remember the mountain climber on The Price is Right that would yodel and move up the ruler and when he got to, I think, 35, he fell off the mountain? ... I view each one of these [segments] as just another step up the mountain. Eventually [[[Donald Trump]] will] fall off the mountain.”
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Jura Orchestra. “On the Franches Mountains”. Swiss Mountain Music. (1957). Capitol Records. 1 audio disc : analog, 33 1/3 rpm, mono; 12 in. OCLC: 221191101. Track note: “Jura Bernois Country Dance With Yodelling”. Archived from the original on 2020-03-21.
  4. On The Franches Mountains - Jura Orchestra (Price is Right yodeler song)”. (2021). ANNICTIVE PUBLIC DOMAIN. Accessed 2023-03-31.
  5. BradOlson. (2016-05-25). “On The Franches Mountains - Jura Orchestra (1957 recording)”. Steve Hoffman Forums. Accessed 2023-03-30. “Since 1976, the Price Is Right has been using this recording as their theme to the "Cliff Hangers" pricing game. (video). Did you know that this was recorded by the Jura Orchestra in 1957 in Switzerland on a Capitol LP called "Swiss Mountain Music?" Yes indeed it is true and here is the LP cover and the name of the song is "On The Franches Mountains." ”.