What is Yodeling? and How can I Yodel?

Yodeling is both a way to entertain (part of music) and a way to communicate. Human beings used yodels to communicate across long distances, especially in mountainous regions of Europe. It may be hard to find out for sure but the people who were the “yodelers” for the town or family were probably the individuals with strong lungs and some talent.

In addition to a loud voice you’ll need to be able to hit some high notes. Some instructions for yodeling say you need to be able to hit falsetto notes or shrieking tones at the high end of the scale.

Be a Copycat

If you can watch movies that have a yodeler as part of the story, listen closely to what they sound like and try to copy the sound. You may find it’s easier that you think. If you can practice outside, in the woods where no one can hear you, great! If you can practice in the mountains to get the great echo, that’s even better.

One of the keys to yodeling is learning to “break” your voice. Some people are lucky enough to be able to do this naturally, while others have to practice for a long time to get this part of yodeling down. Some people are never able to perfect the “break.”

If you can get an audio program or a DVD that has video instructions and good audio you will probably be able to copy much of what the expert does. You may not sound exactly like the person on the tape but don’t worry. There isn’t much that is “wrong” in yodeling.

Use Those Two Voices

Remember that we talked about high-pitched sounds and “breaking” your voice. The process of yodeling, in part, is about moving between those two types of voice you have. You have a chest-based voice that is the loud, singing part. You also have a voice that originates in the head and produces the higher notes.

If you sing the standard yodel-training sounds of “little old lady who” your chest voice usually makes the sound for the first three words and your head voice (falsetto/higher) makes the sound for “who.”

Try making the higher sound even higher! Start out with something in your chest/singing voice like “yo dah lay” then add “eee ooo” in the higher voice. Practice these simple steps until you can “break” smoothly between the two and it seems more natural.

Now it is just a matter of varying the words or the rhythm. Try going from the lower notes to the higher notes with different voices then go back to the lower voice again – in the same line of words or sounds. You are yodeling if you can move back and forth between the two and are having fun doing it.

In the end, it’s probably best to practice your yodeling as described above after you have listened to someone who is very good. Try to emulate the best.

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