It’s yodeling time in Switzerland

Starting today and through the weekend, there will be much yodeling going on in the heart of the Swiss Alps. The 28th annual Swiss Yodel Festival will be taking place in Interlaken.


The Swiss Yodel Festival expects to draw 200,000 visitors. They come to see about 10,000 yodelers, flag throwers and alphorn blowers competing to see who’s the best.

I just looked up yodeling on Wikipedia. I learned some things I never knew. Technically speaking, yodeling is a way of singing where you rapidly and repeatedly change pitch from the vocal or chest register to the falsetto or head register. This makes the very fast high-low-high-low sound that we all know as yodeling.

It’s hard to say exactly when yodeling began, but it’s been around for a long, long time, and for us at least, it’s always associated with the Alps. Quintessential Switzerland. Way back in Alpine history, yodeling developed as a means of communicating between mountaineers and neighboring Alpine villages. They’d yodel out from their mountaintop, and it would echo across the hills and valleys. It’s a nice image.

People still yodel. Jewel yodels. A girl on America’s Got Talent yodels. Sometimes even Jamie Foxx yodels.

You can yodel too. Go to Switzerland (EF College Break goes there), stand at the top of a mountain, and yodel. People have been doing it for millennia. Yes, many a yodel has echoed off those Alpine mountain peaks.

Photo: Alex Telford via Flickr (CC)

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