The roots of yodeling can be traced back to the early 1500s and was a long time rural tradition in Europe, particularly in the Alps of Switzerland.
Yodeling is still a common feature of folk music, especially in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Yodeling is a form of singing that involves repeated and
rapid changes of pitch between low-pitch and high-pitch. The technique is still used in many cultures worldwide. Yodeling didn’t hit the
United States until the early 1900s and was brought there by traveling minstrels. When it reached America it was quickly transformed into a mix of
traditional Alpine yodeling with African American work and blues music styles and traditional folk music commonly called blue yodel.
The Origination in the Alps
Many historians believe that yodeling was originally used as a communication tool, both for herders and local townsmen.
The yodeling could be high pitched and loud and was heard from long distances. The herders were said to call in their sheep with yodeling.
The townsmen used it to communicate to members of the town down the road from them. Yodeling was often referred to as a multi-pitched
yelling and wasn’t popular with some.
Cowboy Movies Popularize Yodeling
In the 1930s movies were transformed by the adding of sound to the films. A most popular theme of the talking films catered to
America’s fascination with the American cowboys. The early westerns had singing cowboy heroes in them; a couple of the most famous were Roy Rodgers
and Gene Autry. Astonishingly enough, both were accomplished yodelers! Yodeling started to lose his luster at the end of the 1940s and by
the 1950s it was all but obsolete.
Walmart and Yodeling
It is often said that if you can’t find it at Walmart, then it doesn’t exist. Now I am beginning to believe this may be true. Out of the blue this
young boy shows up by the cash registers, he’s being videoed. He’s eleven years old or so and is all dolled up in slacks, long sleeve, button down, white shirt,
and topped off with a red bow tie. He looks as though he may be ready to go square dancing, but instead he starts to sing. He’s actually yodeling an old
western song that hasn’t been heard by many ever before and by some many moons ago. The shoppers all stop dead in their tracks. The younger people
are surprised that this boy has disrupted their day with his screeching, but some of the older shoppers recognize his yodeling. He appears to have a love for his art.
He stands proud and sings loudly. Just when you think that you’ve seen everything, Walmart comes through.
Video Source: Youtube