One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A type of Swiss melody, traditionally played on the Alpenhorn or sung in order to call cows scattered over the mountainside.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Charles Burney (1726–1814), musician and author. From French regional (Switzerland) ranz des vaches from ranz, regional variant (Switzerland) of rang + des of the (plural) + the plural of vache cow, after German regional (Switzerland) Kuhreihen, lit. ‘cow dance’, apparently with the second element misapprehended as Reihe.
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