Swiss National Sound Archives

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Swiss National Sound Archives

Main entrance of the Centro San Carlo, which houses the Swiss National Sound Archives
Main entrance of the Centro San Carlo, which houses the Swiss National Sound Archives
Archive type Sound archive
Coordinates 46 ° 0 '22.3 "  N , 8 ° 56' 24.6"  O Coordinates: 46 ° 0 '22.3 "  N , 8 ° 56' 24.6"  E ; CH1903:  716 309  /  96072
place Lugano
founding 1984
Age of the archive material 1890-present
ISIL CH-001214-9
Organizational form Section of the National Library

The Swiss National Sound Archives ( Italian Fonoteca nazionale svizzera , French Phonotèque national suisse , Romansh Fonoteca Naziunale svizra ) is the sound archives of Switzerland with headquarters in Lugano . Their task is to collect sound carriers that are related to the history and culture of Switzerland, to make them accessible and to make them available for use. In terms of audio recordings, it fulfills a similar function to the Swiss National Library in the area of ​​literature. The National Sound Library has been an organizational part of the Swiss National Library since 2016. The collection has more than 500,000 audio carriers and 20-25,000 audio documents are added every year (as of 2018).

The institution is a member of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) , the Audio Engineering Society (AES) . The Swiss National Sound Archives is also a member of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centers (IAML).


There were 15 years between the idea for a Swiss phonotheque and the actual establishment. As early as 1972, Robert Wyler, who was responsible for special collections at the Swiss National Library , suggested that a phonotheque should be set up for Switzerland. Hans-Rudolf Dürrenmatt, the head of the music department of the Solothurn Central Library , also called for a phonotheque in 1976. The two also represented this position in the phonotheque commission of the Association of Swiss Librarians and the Swiss Association for Documentation . In the Clottu report (official title "Eléments pour une politique culturelle suisse") of 1975 named after the National Councilor Gaston Clottu , the implementation of a Phonotek was recommended. In 1980 a working group of the Federal Office for Cultural Preservation presented a report on the planned Swiss National Sound Archives, which also contained a draft foundation deed. A corresponding application by the Federal Department of Home Affairs to the Federal Council was withdrawn due to financial hurdles. In 1982 the Federal Council approved start-up financing of 120,000 francs. The city of Lugano made the city's former radio studio available for the project free of charge.

In 1984 the “Reconstruction Association of the Swiss National Sound Archives” was founded, the task of which was to set up the sound library with the aim of later transferring it to the Swiss National Library. In addition to start-up funding from the federal government, the Swiss Cooperative of Music Authors and Publishers (SUISA) contributed CHF 100,000 and the City of Lugano a loan of CHF 163,000 for the renovation of the radio studio, which was completed in 1985. In 1987 the association was converted into a foundation under private law. In addition to the canton of Ticino and the city of Lugano, the Swiss Radio and Television Society ( SRG ) and the collecting societies SUISA, SIG and IFPI also participated in the foundation. In 1998 Pio Pellizzari became director of the institution, which in 2007 was renamed from the Landesphonothek to the Nationalphonothek. In 2001 the Swiss National Sound Archives moved to the Centro San Carlo.

With the integration into the federal administration, which the Federal Council decided on November 28, 2014 with the adoption of the cultural message 2016-2020, the foundation was dissolved with effect from January 1, 2016. In addition to the federal subsidy of CHF 1.6 million, the Phonothek has received operating contributions from the Canton of Ticino (CHF 290,000) and the city of Lugano (CHF 170,000). This support will continue. The sound archive is now incorporated into the Federal Office of Culture as the "Swiss National Sound Archives Section" in the Swiss National Library.

After Pio Pellizzari's retirement, Günther Giovannoni took over the management of the National Sound Archives in March 2019 .


The National Sound Library also collects sound carriers

  • Works by Swiss composers and authors
  • Recordings of Swiss performers
  • Works published by Swiss companies

The National Sound Archives began collecting activities in 1986. Thanks to the acquisition of various existing collections and bequests, however, numerous recordings from earlier times are also available.

Belong to today's collection

  • Products of the record industry (insofar as they have been voluntarily handed over to the National Sound Archives by publishers, producers, authors and interpreters; in Switzerland there is no legal obligation to submit published records)
  • Recordings of historical radio broadcasts (1932 to approx. 1955)
  • Audio documents from scientific research
    • linguistics
    • Oral history
    • ethnography
    • anthropology
  • Deposit by SUISA with sound carriers whose rights are administered by SUISA
  • Older recordings of the Swiss National Library
  • various holdings and estates of individuals and corporations
  • Audio books

The holdings and collections acquired in 2016 include those of the conductor Théo Loosli, the chansonnier Pierre Dudan and the Lorelei recording studio. In 2017, for example, the National Sound Archives acquired the estate of the conductor Josef Krips and the singer Caterina Valente as well as a large part of the archive of the Schaffhausen Jazz Festival . In 2018, for example, it received the sound archive of the Tonhalle Zürich , the George Mathys collection on jazz in French-speaking Switzerland and the collection of all previous recordings from the Stubete am See festival in Zürich, which is dedicated to Swiss folk music.


Apparatus for cleaning records

The audio documents are digitized and cataloged in the FN-Base32 database specially developed by Revelation Software. The size of this database is over 40 terabytes.

On the website there is the possibility to search this database for audio files and to listen to them. The files can be copied for a fee for private purposes and, on request, for professional purposes.

Another option is to visit one of the 50 or so audio-visual stations located in Switzerland and Italy.

In addition to these access services, the Swiss National Sound Archives also offers archiving services such as B. the restoration.

Literature and Sources

  • Kurt Deggeller, Project Tonträger , in: Methods for the Preservation of Cultural Goods , ed. by F. Schweizer, V. Villiger, 1989, 225-230
  • Fonoteca nazionale svizzera = Phonothèque nationale suisse = Schweizerische Landesphonothek , Lugano, Fonoteca nazionale svizzera, 1993

See also

Web links

Commons : Swiss National Sound Archives  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c National Sound Archives comes to the National Library. In: Swiss Confederation, January 14, 2016, accessed October 26, 2019 .
  2. Swiss National Library NB: audio documents. Retrieved October 27, 2019 .
  3. a b c S. WI, a branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation: La fonoteca svizzera sta facendo scuola. Retrieved October 26, 2019 (Italian).
  4. ^ Fonoteca nazionale svizzera (Swiss National Sound Archives) | International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives. Retrieved October 26, 2019 .
  5. a b FN - Advice. In: Swiss National Sound Archives, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  6. ^ Fonoteca nazionale svizzera. In: HelveticArchives. Swiss Confederation, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  7. FN - history. In: Swiss National Sound Archives, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  8. ^ Theo Mäusli: Swiss National Sound Archives / Swiss National Sound Archives. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . 15th July 2019 .
  9. Pio Pellizzari's schedule for IASA 2018 Annual Conference. Retrieved October 26, 2019 .
  10. FN - About us. In: Swiss National Sound Archives, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  11. ^ FN - collection. In: Swiss National Sound Archives, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  12. Swiss National Library NL: Annual reports. In: Retrieved October 27, 2019 .
  13. ^ FN - Our activities. In: Swiss National Sound Archives, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  14. ^ FN - Regulations for Access / Loans. In: Swiss National Sound Archives, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  15. Swiss National Sound Archives. In: October 25, 2016, accessed October 26, 2019 .
  16. ^ FN - AV workstations network. In: Swiss National Sound Archives, accessed on October 26, 2019 .