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Switzerland Austria yodeling alphorn flag throwing

ABOVE: Follow the sound of yodeling to its source, and there's a good chance that you'll find alphorn players and flag throwing--in Switzerland, if not in Austria.

Yodeling is to the Alps what the Beach Boys are to Southern California, or what hog calling is to the Ozarks. But what exactly is yodeling? Compton's Encylopedia describes the yodel as "a style of singing two alternating tones, a lower one with a full voice and a higher one with a lighter falsetto voice." For a less academic description, we can turn to the classic "knock, knock" joke:

"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?"
"Little old lady."
"Little old lady who?"
"I didn't know you could yodel!"

Yodeling comes in different styles, from the undulating two-tone cries of Swiss cowherds and goatherds to the soft, mellow choral yodels of Austrian and Bavarian Adventsingen.

Nowadays, Swiss and Austrian yodeling is heard mainly in folklore festivals, tourist restaurants, or sound recordings. The local yokels are too busy making money off tourists to yodel from mountaintops. Someone has to take on the responsibility for keeping outdoor yodeling alive, so why not do it yourself? Learn about the history of yodeling, take an online course, listen to recorded examples, memorize yodeling jokes, and try a "Yodel" drink recipe by using the links on the next two pages. By the time you visit Switzerland or Austria, you'll be ready to impress the natives with your yodeling knowledge and ability.


ABOVE: What better way to start the day than with a shave and a call to the mountains?

Web links:

Yodeling history and background

Yodeling: It's All in the Voice
Switzerland Tourism covers the basics.

Yodeling lessons

Yodel Course
Learn the noble art of yodeling in 10 free lessons, with written music and recorded examples.

Swiss yodeling sites

Eidgen�ssichischer Jodlerverband (EJV)
Switzerland's national yodeling association has information in German and French. (Thanks to Benjamin Stocker for providing this link.)

Jodlerfest Zug
Enjoy yodeling, alphorn performances, and traditional Fahnenschwingen or flag throwing within a flag's throw of Lake Zug.


The History of Yodeling
"Farmer's daughter" humor meets Swiss folklore.

Restaurant/folklore show

Restaurant Stadtkeller, Lucerne
Sure, it's a tourist show, but why be a snob? Enjoy alphorns, yodeling, cowbells, and other folk music with lunch or dinner in the vaulted dining room of this historic restaurant.

Related article

In Switzerland, it's okay to blow your own horn--provided it's 10 to 12 feet long and made of spruce with a hardwood mouthpiece.