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Teach me to Yodel

07 Aug 00 - 11:47 PM (#273365)
Subject: Teach me to Yodel
From: mactheturk

How does one learn to yodel? The answer to this age-old question is not obvious to me. I have a strong voice with decent range and tone but I lack direction.

My friends only agree with the lack of direction part and have given me minuscule support, if any.

Please advise.........


08 Aug 00 - 12:14 AM (#273381)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: George Seto -

Mac, here are two threads

Yodelling:History & Lyrics

08 Aug 00 - 04:38 AM (#273445)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Ella who is Sooze


I have to tell you, it was really funny...

I found in an old music shop a second hand song book with all the tunes in it and the words etc.

It was one of the old fashioned original yodelling cowboys (one of the famous singing cowboys)

Well anyway, forgot who it was... But the funny thing was the yodelling was written down in the song book and fully notated...

as follows

yo del lo a lo de looo al loo de oldol lodel lo

yole dal eeedle oddle lodl looo (an so on)

I laughed my socks off it looked so funny...


08 Aug 00 - 04:50 AM (#273446)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: bill\sables

Wyo Woman is one of the best yodelers I've heard in a while.

08 Aug 00 - 08:04 AM (#273485)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: mactheturk

Thanks George, plenty of good info there.

08 Aug 00 - 08:15 AM (#273493)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: JedMarum

... wait a minute; yodeling lyrics??

08 Aug 00 - 08:20 AM (#273495)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: JedMarum

actually, Mac - I'd love to learn to yodel too. I listen to Bill Staines a lot, and love his yodeling, and when I hear him I think I can do it, too - but then when I try, well, let's just say it don't sound like Bill!

It's kinda funny, ya know I've got some range to my voice, and I can sing a bit in falsetto, but when I try to make that transition back and forth, well, it just ain't too pretty!

I have worked at it a bit, and have kept it very simple, and I have improved some, but I believe that is a special skill that requires developing. Good luck.

08 Aug 00 - 08:26 AM (#273496)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: dwditty

I haven't heard them in years, but Riders in the Sky did some great 3 part yodeling on some albums I had in the 70's. I remember part of one song called That's How the Yodel was Born about a cowboy on a bucking bronco - When the horse went up, the cowboy came down, and that's how the yodel was born. I do not suggest this learning technique!


08 Aug 00 - 09:03 AM (#273511)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Ella who is Sooze

S'true Jed...

The funniest thing I have seen in a while...

yoge yodel oddle ooodle oo ol lol oddle oledal eeedle oo


08 Aug 00 - 09:35 AM (#273528)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,leeneia

One thing you've got to know is that yodeling is different for men and for women. Men have "two voices," their deep, adult voice, where the sides of the vocal folds come together, and their falsetto voice, where the edges of the vocal folds come together. (This is how woman and children talk. Men can keep this in practice and so sing falsetto if they wish.)

Male yodelers show off by hopping from normal to falsetto. Women don't.

Could trying this the wrong way damage your nice voice? I don't know.

BTW, switching from deep to falsetto seems to be a tradition in Delta Blues, too.

08 Aug 00 - 09:44 AM (#273531)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Giac

One of the best yodel-persons I knew of was Carolina Cotton. She was in a number of "Spade Cooley" westerns, and the band toured quite a bit. When the sun set on that type of movie, she became an elementary school teacher in California. I was fortunate to meet her several years ago during the local stop by a group touring western movie stars.

It cost big bucks to get into the main auditorium and go around to the booths, but she and two or three others were set up outside the door. She said there were many people who simply could not afford to go inside, but were hoping to catch a glimpse of someone they admired. Was certainly the case with my friend and myself. We were just hoping to see her from afar and it was an unexpected treat to visit with her.

Sorry for the nostalgic creep, but there must be records of her music somewhere and it would be worth a listen.

08 Aug 00 - 09:50 AM (#273537)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Kim C

Well, now, I'm a women, and I yodel, and I switch between two very distinct parts of my voice. I taught myself by listening to tapes, and to my own voice, and just repeating what I heard. I have been told that not everyone is physically capable of yodeling but I don't know if that's true or not. If you can do that cajun aa-eeee thing, you can probably learn to yodel.

08 Aug 00 - 02:34 PM (#273678)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Jim Krause

I learned to yodel a bit because I needed something to "tear the house down" with, a show stopper. Cathy Fink and Todd Whatshisname had a two tape series on Homespun Tapes "Learn To Yodel" I'd recommend it. Takes you from that Cajun "ayee" to the Jimmie Rodgers blue yodel, to some pretty fancy-schmancy cowboy yodeling. Bill Staines makes a brief presentation where he breaks down his yodel breaks to "The Happy Yodel Song" and "Ballad of the Maples"

08 Aug 00 - 04:17 PM (#273742)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: MandolinPaul

So you want to learn to yodel:

Knock knock!

(you know what to say)

Little old lady!

Glad I could help out.


08 Aug 00 - 04:59 PM (#273764)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: celticblues5

Now, all y'all are gonna hate me for this, but -

Please, please, please, please, please DON'T learn to yodel! it's one of the most godawful noises known to man! Swiss, cowboy, or whatever. There's a REASON they used yodel noises to blow up the heads of the aliens in 'Mars Attacks'

Regular singing is MUCH prettier! Please!

08 Aug 00 - 05:10 PM (#273767)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Kim C

Obviously you've never heard a really good yodeler.

Done well, it's a thing of beauty. Done not so well, it really sucks.

There's plenty of "regular" singers out there, too, who should've kept their day jobs.

08 Aug 00 - 05:48 PM (#273802)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: celticblues5

tee hee! point well taken (about "regular" singers). sorry the bracketed grins disappeared when I posted - I didn't mean this in a mean-spirited way. Some people can't stand opera. I can't stand yodeling.

08 Aug 00 - 10:15 PM (#273967)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: WyoWoman

Well, thank you first to Mr. Sables. Coming from yerself, I especially appreciate that because I imagine you've probably heard more singing in your life than most humans are priviledged to.

And yes, women do sing in a different voice for yodeling than regular singing. I can sing the same notes in either voice and the effect is very different.

And Celticblues, I have heard lots of yodeling (particularly since I moved to wyoming, where cowboy music rools) and some of it is not so great, but if you do it musically and use it like red pepper -- just a tiny bit'll do you, I think it's palatable. But then, I like a little bit of just about everything, and not a lot of very much.


08 Aug 00 - 10:35 PM (#273980)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,the voice as an instrument

08 Aug 00 - 10:38 PM (#273983)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,leeneia

The thing about yodeling is that it is an attempt to use the voice as a musical instrument, rather than to communicate language, the way we usually do. So get used to the idea.

I was in an upscale barbecue joint recently and heard a reocording of Steve Goodman doing a song with some yodeling. It was a delightful change from the ubiquitous commercial Kountry music.

08 Aug 00 - 11:22 PM (#274010)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: reggie miles

One of my friends, in an obvious attempt to sidestep the yodel part of a song, just inserts the words (yodel-yodel-yodel). As a stand-up comic/songster it tickles'em every time. ;~)

dwditty, really tight underwear works too. ;~)

Seriously, finding the right key seems to help in all of this yodelin stuff. Trying to learn in the wrong key can produce sounds that are best left to the coyotes. Now that I think about it, emulating coyotes and wolves howling may have been how some of this yodeling stuff came into being in the first place. Their vocalizing happens in the same manner, from a low to a high pitch, it breaks in a very similar way. Who might hear this sort of sound every evening whilst sippin' some coffee round the ol' campfire, after a long day herdin' doggies on the open range, but a saddle weary cowboy.

submitted for your rebuttal.

09 Aug 00 - 01:35 AM (#274058)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: WyoWoman

I'd love to know what Steve Goodman song that is ...

And re. the origination of yodeling? I dunno. I do know that there are differences in the different "schools" of yodeling. I can't do the really fast Swiss-type yodeling -- haven't really tried yet, but I suppose I could learn if I were motivated.

One trick though is to memorize the notes in the yodel just as you would with any other part of the melody. Your voice is moving from note to note in a different way, but the notes are still a melody and they're still organized in a way that you need to learn and understand.


09 Aug 00 - 09:07 AM (#274207)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: bflat

I learned to yodel by breaking my vocal sound in the back of my throat and forcing the sound up in the back of the voice box. It took practice but I can do it now. Good Luck.


09 Aug 00 - 10:21 AM (#274219)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: catspaw49

I've heard about Wyowoman's yodeling and I hope to get a personal listen sometime. I guess we'll have to add another name in the Pansy ma Twidgett Rue Bob, etc......

But I do have a question. I have listened to yodelers as long as I can remember, can't do it, but I listen. Some I like, some I don't, but I can generally say that I agree with the ones people say are good. I had heard repeatedly that the pop singer Jewel was a great yodeler, but even though she was in the Lilith Fair concert I was at, she didn't yodel. Everyone kept saying she was really good.

Then last night on the tube I see her opening the dems convention or something, and she's yodeling......and my impression was, "She really sucks." Did I catch her at a bad time? Or does she stink?


09 Aug 00 - 12:39 PM (#274317)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Kim C

You're right, celticblues. I don't care for opera either. But I do like Denyce Graves.

I have never heard Jewel yodel so I can't say. I will say, though, that there are people who - think - what they're doing is yodeling and it really isn't. Roy Rogers, Elton Britt = Real Yodel. LeAnne Rimes = Sears Yodel. Somebody mentioned Ian Tyson as a yodeling resource, but I have to say, even though I bow at his boots, I do not like his yodeling.

It's like fiddling in a way, there are a lot of fine points that will make you Really Good when you learn them; if you don't learn them, you may be mediocre at best and annoying at worst.

09 Aug 00 - 11:51 PM (#274823)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: catspaw49

Thanks Kim.....

I think you're pretty much a Nashville native aren't you? I alway liked Ranger Doug's yodeling. Do you remember in the early '80's that Ralph Emery had an early morning TV show with a group of "regulars" like Jerry Whitehurst and Lightnin' Chance. Lori Morgan used to be pretty regular too. Anyway, "Riders in the Sky" was just beginning to get a little notoriety and they were on a lot too. I always thought that some of their funniest stuff was done on that show because it was so looose and they're really funny guys. Also some of their best performances musically!


15 Aug 00 - 02:27 PM (#278288)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Jim Krause

Spaw, wish I could've seen that TV show. But I think that was during my TV blackout days. Some one else in an earlier post said that you have to find the right key to yodel well. How right that is. I have only two or three keys that I can yodel in, and all but one are not favorite keys that stringband musicians like. Soddy

15 Aug 00 - 03:03 PM (#278303)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Alice

You can hear Wyo Woman here on an MP3 clip, for those who missed the other threads with this link: click here

08 Sep 07 - 07:36 PM (#2144287)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,Michael


There are a lot of interesting refs here, but nobody seems to be answering the question of how to yodel. Someone posted something about a yodel course and that is a good idea. I will teach you to yodel. I would be very happy to. I just need to know if you can understand what I mean by these terms:

1.) Chest to Head voice
2.) 6th apart / 6 steps up
3.) Octave apart / 8 steps up
4.) Metronome

Well, if you don't understand these things, please let me know and I will explain. I can send you audio examples and how to build up a really imrpessive yodel technique. I just need to know which stage you are at.

Email me to and I will make you sound files. I will also need to know your voice range. We can talk about this later, but it will certainly help if you can send me audio files of your voice(s) and we can work without me having to guess when you are ready to progress from one stage to the next.

Hope to hear from you!


08 Sep 07 - 08:31 PM (#2144308)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Mark Ross

Kuddie, the Chief Push of the Rose Tattoo and Chief Guff-Off of No Guff Records says he learned how to yodel growing up in Northeast West South Dakota. They had a brass seat on the the john in the outhouse, and on particularly cold winter days on the plains, yodeling came naturally.

Mark Ross

09 Sep 07 - 08:22 PM (#2144985)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Flatpick

Hitting yerself on the thumbnail with a hammer is a damn fine start. At that point DO NOT CURSE, yodelling comes sorta natural.....

09 Sep 07 - 10:31 PM (#2145059)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

In "ol time" country (I do not beleive this threads winds through the Alpine regions)

A missing elemental piece of this thread's pi.

Obviously, take the last open vowel sylabol of the chorus and repeat with rear-undulation of the tongue against the upper rear molars....moving into falsetto and back.

A - E - I - O - U

Like the circle of fifths/fourths...wherever you begin.... you roll around back to the start.


10 Sep 07 - 10:31 AM (#2145437)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,leeneia

It's been seven years since the first post. Mactheturk may have learned to yodel, given up the idea or passed away since then. However, somebody must be interested, since this thread has reappeared.

This site has some useable tips

[Is that how you spell useable?]

A person who followed these tips and listened to samples of good yodeling could really get somewhere.
This site has some good samples, though they are too short.

The sample "Joy of Yodeling" shows a feature that nobody mentions: the almost instantaneous stopping and starting of sound.

It seems to me that yodeling involves a rather tight throat, especially for men. Don't overdo it, or you could hurt yourself.

18 May 10 - 04:12 PM (#2909436)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel


18 May 10 - 05:34 PM (#2909473)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: Pierre Le Chapeau

"I went out with a Model :Who could Yodel"

18 May 10 - 05:37 PM (#2909475)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: gnu

GUEST at 4:12PM... If yer a guy, Spaw will kick you where it hurts for free... you WILL yodel, but practice is a bitch.

19 May 10 - 02:41 PM (#2910054)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,leeneia

If I wanted to learn to yodel, I would order the learning CD from Kerry Christensen. Google him and see what you think.

19 May 10 - 04:32 PM (#2910114)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,leeneia

I should add - don't do this if you don't know how to sing, or you could damage your voice.

25 Jun 10 - 03:30 PM (#2934780)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,Guest

Try the old Eddy Arnold song. "Cattle Call" combines some singing and basic yodeling or cow calling.

26 Feb 11 - 03:49 PM (#3103189)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: GUEST,hope ndlove

please teach me to yodel it is really cool 9 year old hope

26 Feb 11 - 04:53 PM (#3103220)
Subject: RE: Teach me to Yodel
From: WalkaboutsVerse

Playing/singing octaves may help..? E.g., one song in my repertoire - "The Northumberland Bagpipes" - has been described as yodel-like in it's series of octaves, such as:

A ditty he did chant along...
F F' F F' F...