Yodeling (or Yodelling) is a form of singing that involves rapidly switching from the "chest voice" to the "head voice " making a high-low-high-low sound. It was probably developed in the Swiss Alps as a method of communication between mountain peaks, and it later became a part of the traditional folk music of the region.
To yodel, one sings a scale continuously upwards, until one's voice "breaks" (switches octaves) into one's "head voice" (also known as falsetto in men). This point is one's "voice break". Then one must go back down a note, and up again, over the voice break. This is done repeatedly at a loud volume.
In "Hodl - Ay - EE - Dee", the "EE" switches to the head voice. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word yodel is derived from a German word jodeln (originally Bavarian) meaning "to utter the syllable jo".

Yodeling has developed in two main styles: the traditional Swiss/Alpine style and the country/western style:

Some good examples of alpine yodeling can be heard in the songs of Franzl Lang, Stefanie Hertel, Zillertaler Schürzenjäger, Ursprung Buam and Mary Schneider.
Examples of country/western yodeling can be heard by Kerry Christensen, Elton Britt, Wilf Carter, Slim Whitman and Patsy Montana. The most notable country and western yodeler was pioneer star Jimmie Rodgers, who recorded more than a dozen songs under the title "Blue Yodel" with an appended number. Gene Autry was another country-style yodeler.

"Appenzeller" and "Bravourjodler" are yodeling standards which are, rocky gorges, anywhere with a distant rock face, the outdoor areas between office buildings, in a canoe next to a rocky shoreline, or down a long hallway, and best of all, a mountain range.


  back to folk genres