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Articulate: Yodelay-hee-hoo

What is a yodel?

A yodel is a quick pattern in repeated sequences shifting from chest register to high-frequency head register. The blending of high voice and low is discouraged but the leaps are made smooth through breath flow.

We typically associate yodel will Nordic culture and the Alps but according to yodel expert, Bart Plantenga it has been around a long while and probably comes from Africa originally. Why do I bring it up?

Glad you asked. This week has been all about breath and what I love about a good yodel is how much air it takes. It’s just a lovely, weird, vocal register tap dance with air.

How would one begin to try and yodel?

I think it quite fun to fake it until you make it. Try alternating a comfortable but low chest sound with a higher frequency sound. This can be in your falsetto or whistle tone. The only real requirements are that you keep breathing engaged to support the jumps, use some fun vowel structures, and avoid over blending the registers.

Here are some videos for inspiration. Time to get your yodel-on. In fact, you can just try to keep up with Erika Stucky (the last clip), she is the yodel Kate Bush.

Start at :48 for the fun yodeling
Start at :49
Erika Stucky’s punk yodel, gets fun ~1:49 but the whole thing is weird, fabulous

Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit

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