How to Yodel

Learn the unique Alpine folk music of yodeling. The article illustrates some easy methods on how to yodel like a pro.
Remember the Ricola cough drops commercials? Doesn't the advertisement make you want to get up and start yodeling? Yodeling is a style of singing where the vocalist would sing a note extensively, while the notes keep changing quickly and repeatedly in pitch from the chest voice to the head voice. Yodeling makes a high-low-high-low sound, which is a vocal technique incorporated in different cultures all across the world. Learn how to yodel like a pro with the help of this article as your guide.

Every human voice has minimum 2 distinct vocal registers; head voice and chest voice. Both these vocal registers produce different kinds of tones. That's why you will find some people singing within a specific low pitch range, from their chest voice. And certain people can sing within a specific high pitch range, from their head voice, often called "falsetto". The most famous line Yudl - Ay - Weee - Hooo, especially the eeee part is sung in the head voice and the rest of the syllables are sung in the chest voice. With untrained singers, you can identify the gap between these two ranges. However, proficient singers have the aptitude to regulate their voices to the point where these two ranges overlap one another, which helps them switch between them smoothly. The art of yodeling applies this technique, where the vocalist may shift between the two ranges many times, which only takes couple of seconds. It takes a lot of practice and hard work for anyone to master the art of yodeling.

Learn to Yodel Like a Pro

Choose a place where there's an echo effect, as it would be an ideal location for yodeling. Places like mountain ranges, lakes, open areas (preferable on a height), or less populated beaches can do the trick. Now that you have a location in mind, let's begin.

Step #1: You need to find your falsetto. You will find it gradually by going from your lowest-chest voice to the highest-head voice. At this point, concentrate on your neck. Can you feel it vibrating? If yes, then you know what a chest voice sounds and feels like. As you go higher, your throat will start vibrating, which means you are now singing from your head voice. The falsetto lies between them, as you break both the voices up.

Step #2: Now that you found your falsetto, try to sing Yudl - Ay - Weee - Hooo and Little old laaa - DY whoooo in low-low-low-high-lower manner. Each gap between the pitches will introduce your falsetto. The falsetto helps you take that break and go to the next higher pitch.

Step #3: When you sing Yudl - Ay - Weee - Hooo and Little old laaa - DY whoooo, change Weee and DY in Middle C for women and lenor men, and Low C for bass men. Pay attention to your body and the chest area. It doesn't matter what notes you change because there is no specific music to read. Change your wordings, the tempo, and notes as you keep progressing. Keep jumping back and forth in your pitches while yodeling.

Step #4: Buy some videos that can demonstrate in front of others. If your kids, nieces, or nephews also want to learn to yodel, you can explain them the steps mentioned above. The technique to yodel for kids is the same as adults. All you need is practice, practice, practice.

There are many different styles of yodeling like Indian, Alpine, Country-Western, Hawaiian, and many more. Keep experimenting with these various styles of yodeling, till you can find the one that fits you best and practice the basic techniques without giving up. It will be some time till you can learn how to yodel and incorporate your own expressive flair.
By Sheetal Mandora
Published: 2/18/2010
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