When it comes to yodelling, the most legendary of Swiss traditions, there’s only one rule you need to know – it’s all about the break…
Understand the Break
We’re not talking surf breaks here. ‘The break’ is the point between your chest voice (the deep one) and your head voice or falsetto (the high one). Every human voice has two distinct vocal registers, including yours. The secret to a good yodeller is learning how to make the most of the break.
Find the break
Here comes the fun part. Pick a sound (start simple with an ‘oh’) and move your voice from low to high, listening out and also feeling for the break. Fun, right?!
First, check you’re in an empty room or even more fun, share this guide around and get everyone doing it at the same time (serious office/classroom LOLs). Practice moving your voice from low to high, starting with a mid-range ‘oh’ in your chest that moves to a high ‘ou’ sound. Keep your voice relaxed and really try to emphasise the break.
Who’s there? Little-old-lady-WHO! Practice your yodel by singing ‘little old lady’ in your chest voice, then jump up to your head to voice to sing ‘who’. For the real yodel effect, sing ‘little old lady’ in a bit of a drunken slur, letting the words run into each other. You hear it?
Try out a triad yodel
Most styles of yodel are founded around 3 notes – the triad. Try singing the notes A (mid-range chest note), E (high range head note) and D (slightly lower range head note) together, then add in the world ‘Yodel’ in front of this sound to form ‘Yodel A-E-D’. You hear that, you’re yodelling!
So that wasn’t so hard was it! The world record for the longest yodel ever held belongs to a 93 year old man from Nova Scotia. Paul Belanger sang a yodel note for 20.38 seconds, so get practising. You know what they say, records were made to be broken…