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When you think of Swiss cowbell, you would imagine a quite annoying, loud – dong, dong, dong sound.  Apparently not so in the field.  The closest I can think of is the sound made by a wind chime.  It also evokes the musical sound of Indonesian Gamelan.  They make a continuous tinkering sound, dissonant and seemingly without a rhythm, and yet somewhat soothing.  While I believe the cowbells are mass produced, they apparently all ring at a slightly different tone.  In Switzerland, herds of cow are sent to roam in the mountain where the grass is green during the summer.  So it becomes quite interesting when a herd of cows – the performers – move around the mountain or when they dip their heads to munch grass.  Listen.

Sorry about the wind noise in the video.   It was made near La Chassarel, which can be seen in a distance marked by a Swisscom telecommunication tower.  At 5200 feet, it is the highest point in the Northern Jura mountains, and about 45 minutes from Neuchâtel.

Did the title by any chance remind you of the now classic Saturday Night Live skit starring Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken “More Cowbell !”?  Check it out online, it is silly but funny.


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