Yodeling is a form of singing that involves repeated changes of pitch during a single note. It is a vocal technique used in many cultures worldwide.
For example, Alpine yodeling was a longtime rural tradition in the European continent, and became prominent in the 1830s as an entertainment in theaters and music halls. In the United States, traveling minstrels were yodeling as early as the 1800s, and in 1920 the Victor recording company listed 17 yodels in their catalogue.
It is thought that yodeling was first introduced to the United States by German immigrants in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s. 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″ which created an instant national craze for yodeling in the United States.
The earliest record of a yodel is in 1545, where it is described as “the call of a cowherd from Appenzell.” Yodeling is also present in classical music in countries such as Persia, Turkish, and Central Asian musical traditions.
The popular film Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein contains a yodeling song, “The Lonely Goatherd.” Even today’s singers such as Gwen Stefani, Mariah Carey, and Beyonce Knowles often use yodeling in their music