Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Lily from west bend, WI. Lily Wonders, “What is a yodel?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Lily!
Here’s a joke for you to share with your friends:
Little old lady.
Little old lady, who?
Hey! We didn’t know you could yodel!
What is yodeling? It’s a unique type of singing. It features a fast, repeated change from low to high pitch. If you’ve ever heard Tarzan yell, then you have a bit of an idea of what yodeling sounds like.
Your voice has two separate vocal registers: a lower-pitch “chest” voice and a higher-pitch “head” voice. The difference between the two results from the different ways your body produces sounds.
Singing requires air support from either your lungs (your “chest” voice) or your mouth and throat (your “head” voice). Some people can even sing in a very high pitch without either chest or head air support. We call this singing in falsetto.
For most people, there is a natural gap between the chest voice and the head voice. Yodeling takes advantage of this gap. It incorporates quick, repeated switches between the chest and head voices at a high volume.
So how did yodeling get started? Many think it began in the Central Alps of Switzerland. There, yodeling was a way for herders to communicate. Herders yodeled to their flocks or to people from different villages. Over time, yodeling became a traditional part of Alpine culture, folklore, and music.
However, yodeling existed in many other cultures around the same time—and perhaps even before—it was used by Swiss herders. Mountainous regions of Africa, Scandinavia, and Australia had their own yodelers.
Yodeling became mainstream in the United States in the 1920s. In 1924, country music singer Riley Puckett yodeled on his record “Rock All Our Babies to Sleep.”
Then, in 1928, Jimmie Rodgers released “Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas).” His song became a hit that started an immediate national craze for yodeling. Many blues and country musicians credit Jimmie Rodgers as a big influence on their careers.
Yodeling remained popular for many years. By the 1950s, however, yodeling was rarely heard in either blues or country music. Yodeling remains a unique form of singing that many people still enjoy listening to today.
Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1