Switzerland. officially Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe where it is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland comprises three main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Italian, to which the Romansh-speaking valleys are added.
Due to a lack of detailed records, little is known about Swiss folk music prior to the 19th century. Some 16th century lute tablatures have been reconstructed into authentic instrumental arrangements, however, the first major source of information comes from 19th century collections of folk songs, and work done by musicologist Hanny Christen. Traditional instruments include the alphorn, hammered dulcimer, fife, hurdy-gurdy, rebec, bagpipe, cittern and shawm.