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You might think the art of yodeling has gone the way of The Sound of Music. But new artists like Jewel are bringing yodeling back into the mainstream. Traditionally linked to towns and cities in the Swiss Alps, yodeling is a deliberately controlled alternation of a falsetto note, plus a regular note.

There are different types of yodeling, and there are a few theories about why it began.

Some say that the residents of the mountains used it as a way of communicating. Others believe that shepherds imitating various horned instruments used in calling their flocks started it. And others will tell you that it was the result of some mountain lad's irritated throat.

What most people can agree on is that it began in Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

In the late 1920s, yodeling began to catch on in the U.S. Jimmy Rodgers was a poor Mississippi railroad worker and musician who heard yodeling and liked it. He liked it so much that he recorded and released the first country song in 1927. That first series was inspired by yodeling and was called "Blue Yodels."

Not long after that, Hank Williams recorded "Lovesick Blues," which is a classic. From there, artists such as bluegrass legend Bill Monroe brought yodeling into his work. In the 1940s and 1950s, famous performers Roy Rogers and Gene Autry followed suit. Now, singers like Jewel and LeAnn Rimes continue this tradition.

If you want to learn to yodel and aren't sure where to go, try the Internet Yodel Course. It's a safe bet that the shepherds who yodelled to their flocks never dreamed this day would come -- plugging into the Internet is a way to learn to yodel right in your living room.

Norman Gwaltney maintains the site. He performed in a band for 10 years. The site gives step-by-step instructions on yodeling and sound bites to help you along. "I have had 20,000 hits from all around the world," says Gwaltney.

Janet McBride is a yodeler with one other claim to fame -- she taught recording superstar LeAnn Rimes to yodel. Just like learning anything else, it's always good to get advice from the pros. "Practice is your best friend if you intend to yodel," says McBride. "I started when I was eight years old and I am still learning."

Getting Started

McBride suggests that beginners find many songs and different yodel patterns so that they can perfect their yodel. "Everyone takes their yodeling to a different level. I suggest you strive for the best you can be. Not everyone wants to be the greatest, but just be the best you can be."

In yodeling, McBride says that the toughest thing to learn is staying on pitch. "A yodel that slides sharp or flat is not good. Also, keep the position of your yodel out of your throat. It is not a throat thing. It is up in your mouth where your speaking voice is."

The type of yodeling that you do and where you perform will influence how much equipment you will need. The only thing that you really need is a good strong set of lungs, which come free of charge! Some yodelers play the guitar or an accordion, and some buy costumes for their shows. It really depends on you and your style.

If you try yodeling and like it, you may be able to make a career out of your newfound hobby.

Entertainer: Take your show on the road. Or appear at special events like birthday parties.

Manager: Discover the next yodeling sensation, and help to make her or him a household name.

Tour guide: Travel to the Alps and take people on tours of the land that saw the origins of yodeling. Hey, why not give your tour group a taste of your yodeling -- at least you'll have a captive audience.


Internet Yodel Course
Learn to yodel online

Yodel Central
With an FAQ section

Yodel Role Models
Read about these singing cowboys

Margo Smith
Check out her career

Yodeling Queen Janet McBride
Learn more about the woman who taught LeAnn Rimes to yodel

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