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Guggenmusik in Basel

Under Guggenmusik refers to brass bands , mostly in the Alemannic space in the carnival is played.

In Switzerland and southern Germany it is also known as “Guggemoseg”, “Guuggemusig” (in Central Switzerland), “Guggamusik” (in Vorarlberg ), “Guggumüsig” (in the canton of Valais ) or “Chatzemusig” ( cat music ). It is a strongly rhythmically underlined, in its own, very specific way "wrong" or "crooked" played brass music. The musicians are often disguised and partially masked.

The Guggenmusik is part of the Swabian-Alemannic Carnival , Basel Carnival , Lucerne Carnival , Bärner Fasnacht , Winterthur Carnival , Valais Carnival, Solothurn Carnival and, in general, the Central Swiss Carnival.

The term is probably derived from "Gugge", which means bag in Alemannic . But it is not to be confused with the Swiss German “Guuge” for all types of (brass) wind instruments. A "Guggemusig" thus describes a group of people who make music together while they wore simple masks - at that time bags, which were also called Guggen in Basel and the surrounding area.


Guggen music has its first origins in the 16th century, when people wandered around with rattles, tin buckets, drums, cowbells or whistles during Carnival time . The music should be weird, loud and pathetic. Even then, masks and costumes were used: cloths and old rags as well as a lot of imagination were used to disguise themselves and to scare off the ghosts.

Concert of a Basel Gugge

When a brass band marched for the first time to Morgestraich in Basel in 1874 , violent protests were initially loud, but ten years later the police allowed it. The term “Guggenmusik” was first used at the Basel Carnival in 1906.

In 1934, the Guggemusiken in Basel experienced their great boom and on the unused Shrove Tuesday - which is now considered a special Guggetag - they roamed the city in large numbers: "with a blaring roar", "tree-wrenching" and "rattling past".

After the Second World War, Guggenmusik, including the name coined in Basel, spread across central Switzerland (first Guggenmusik in Lucerne in 1948 after a guest appearance by Basler Guggenmusiken) to southern Germany, Italy and Austria. The first German Guggemusik 53er was founded in Lörrach. In 1959 the second Guggemusik was founded in Istein near Efringen-Kirchen (Ischteiner Guggemusik 1959 eV). There are many different types of guggen music today. Folk and children's songs as well as popular pop songs are often played. Since the 1980s, the influence of the Brazilian carnival ( samba rhythms) has been palpable , especially in central Switzerland .

In the Upper Swabian region in particular, there have been so-called "Lumpenkapellen" or " Katzenmusik " for decades , which in terms of their intentions are definitely comparable to Guggenmusiken.


Guggenmusik in Monthey
Eis-two-Geissebei in Rapperswil (SG)
Jugendgugge Guggemotzer from Ittigen BE (Switzerland)

It is not possible to find a uniform definition of Guggenmusik as each region has different carnival traditions.

In addition to traditional brass instruments such as trumpet , tuba and trombone as well as the indispensable percussion , almost every other instrument can be found today, e.g. B. Steel drum , bagpipes , piccolo , clarinet , saxophone and sousaphone .

There is controversy about who can even call themselves Guggenmusik . A rough distinction can be made

  • pure music associations that only play a repertoire adapted for carnival,
  • Specialized Guggenmusiken, who learn pieces of music throughout the year for the foolish time and hone their choreographies ,
  • Groups of amateur musicians who often cannot (or cannot) play from notes.

Specialized Guggenmusiken - also called Guggen - can be found mainly in Switzerland, where individual music groups organize regular concert tours and perform for a fee. In southern Germany you will find more amalgamations of amateur and club musicians, although here, too, a certain idea of ​​competition cannot always be denied. So was z. For example, the German Guggenmusik Championship has already been held five times in Europa-Park in Rust (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009). Likewise, at the Guggenmusik Festival in Merseburg, which has been held annually since 2008, the best group is determined among many Guggen music groups from all over Germany.

During the “carnival season”, the world's largest “ International Guggen Music Meeting ” takes place in Schwäbisch Gmünd every year. Guggenmusik groups from Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Great Britain and Switzerland meet at the two-day event. The meeting has between 60,000 and 100,000 visitors every year.

Web links

Commons : Guggenmusik  - collection of images, videos and audio files