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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Yodel \Yo"del\, Yodle \Yo"dle\, v. t. & i. [imp. & p. p. Yodeled, Yodled; p. pr. & vb. n. Yodeling, Yodling.] To sing in a manner common among the Swiss and Tyrolese mountaineers, by suddenly changing from the head voice, or falsetto, to the chest voice, and the contrary; to warble.


vb. (present participle of yodel English)


n. singing by changing back and forth between the chest voice and a falsetto


Yodeling (also yodelling or jodeling) is a form of singing which involves repeated and rapid changes of pitch between the low-pitch chest register (or "chest voice") and the high-pitch head register or falsetto. The English word yodel is derived from the German (and originally Austro-Bavarian) word jodeln, meaning "to utter the syllable jo" (pronounced "yo" in English). This vocal technique is used in many cultures worldwide.

Alpine yodeling was a longtime rural tradition in Europe, and became popular in the 1830s as an entertainment in theaters and music halls. In Central Africa, yodeling was a form of communication announcing the yodeler's location and identity. In the United States, traveling minstrels were yodeling in the 1800s, and in 1920 the Victor recording company listed 17 yodels in their catalogue. Music historians credit the first country recording to include yodeling to Riley Puckett in 1924. In 1928, blending Alpine yodeling with traditional work, blues, hobo, and cowboy music, Jimmie Rodgers released his recording "Blue Yodel No. 1". Rodger's Blue Yodel created an instant national craze for yodeling in the United States and, according to a black musician who lived near Rodgers in Mississippi, everyone, both black and white alike, began to copy Rodgers. The popularity lasted through the 1940s, but by the 1950s it became rare to hear yodeling in Country or Western music. The Swiss Amish maintain the practice of yodeling until today.

Usage examples of "yodeling".

She asks the clerk if he can recommend anything with yodeling on it, but he’s young and not very helpful.

Over in that Casbah, starved-looking, shave-needing ragheads lean out of spindly towers yodeling out of key.

Before he's even got it latched he's yodeling just like those guys up in the Casbah.

Trapped in a window seat during a short and choppy flight, he had never made it out to the lavatory, so he goes to one now and pees so hard that the urinal emits a sort of yodeling noise.

Just then, a bigger jackal took a running leap and managed to catch the bottom of the mesh bag in its teeth and dangling from the bag, twisted and turned its muscular body in hard jerky motions, trying to pull the prey down into the crowd of jackals, who were all yodeling lustily, thinking that their dinner was almost at hand.

Johnny was yodeling like a drunken cowboy, clapping his hands over his head, folding them into the victory sign.

Before he’s even got it latched he’s yodeling just like those guys up in the Casbah.