The Great Yodel Howdy-do
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Subject: The Great Yodel Howdy-do|
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 03:24 PM
Landmark Yodelling Trial to Open in Munich
By David Crossland
Who owns the rights to a yodel? The textless singing in rapidly changing pitch has been used since the Stone Age to seek help, express delight at the wonders of nature and woo milkmaids. Now a Munich court has to settle a copyright dispute over one of the most popular yodelling refrains.
Yodelling is a serious business in Bavaria -- so serious that it's the subject of a court case starting on Thursday in Munich.
The legal dispute focuses on who composed the unforgettable yodelling refrain "Holla-rä-di-ri, di-ri, di-ri" in the "Kufstein Song," one of the most famous Alpine folk songs, a perennial hit in beer tents at the Munich Oktoberfest.
The heirs of composer Karl Ganzer, who wrote the song 60 years ago, are suing music publisher Egon Frauenberger who claims to have invented the yodelling passage.
The Ganzer heirs want to stop Frauenberger from continuing to earn one twelfth of the royalties for the song, which remains a money spinner because it is performed so often in Germany and Austria where folk music shows continue to occupy prime time slots on public TV. Every time the song is played in public, it makes money.
"It's a very popular song at the Oktoberfest and for Oompah bands in general," Gernot Schulze, Frauenberger's lawyer, told SPIEGEL ONLINE.
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He says the Kufstein Song about the delights of the little Austrian town of that name -- "Framed by Mountains so Peaceful and Still" -- was originally composed by Karl Ganzer as a kind of tango -- but that Frauenberger, a friend of Ganzer's, made key changes to give the song more Alpine punch.
The original yodelling refrain was a pedestrian "cuckoo yodel": "Di-da, di-da-da-da." Schulze says Frauenberger came up with the racier, yodelling refrain that made the song such a lasting hit. "He made it more exciting to listen to in Oktoberfest tents, and also more exciting for the bands to play," says Schulze, adding: "The court will have to decide whether Karl Ganzer is the sole composer of the song."
Yodelling expert Josef Ecker, who teaches the vocal art to thousands of students every year, doesn't see how anyone can claim copyright credit for a yodel.
"Yodelling is made up of textless syllables. Syllables are free, they're public property," Ecker, Bavarian born and bred, told SPIEGEL ONLINE.
Ecker says demand for his yodelling lessons has been increasing sharply in recent years and that he expects to teach 3,000 students this year. The rise stems in part from resurgent interest in Bavarian folk traditions, but Ecker says a good yodel also brings spiritual satisfaction that is being appreciated by growing numbers of people around the world. "I give people an insight into an art form that stretches back thousands of years. It's about man conversing with nature, but it also has its origins in the need to communicate across large distances in the wilderness."
Subject: RE: The Great Yodel Howdy-do|
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 04:44 PM
It seems pretty simple to me. Ganzer wrote one the verses; Frauenberger wrote vocables and melody for the yodelling. So they share.
"Syllables are free, they're public property," sounds like sidewinding to me. Also, imagine the administrative expenses as we deduct a certain percentage of royalties to the writer of "Mockingbird Hill," because 'tra la la twiddle-ee dee dee' consists of mere syllables.
Then we deduct a different percentage for "whoopee ti yi yo" in a different song.