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(both: yō`dəl), type of wordless singing, joyous in nature, usually associated with the Swiss. It is, in fact, practiced throughout the Alps and, as an importation, in the mountains of Kentucky. It is characterized by sudden shifts from the natural singing voice to falsettofalsetto
[Ital.,=diminutive of false], high-pitched, unnatural tones above the normal register of the male voice, produced, according to some theories, by the vibration of only the edges of the larynx. Some male altos are tenors skilled in the use of falsetto.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a type of folk song practiced by the mountain population of the Alps in Austria, Switzerland, and Southern Bavaria, with a vocalization as the refrain. This unique type of refrain is characterized by the frequent and rapid passing from a low chest voice to a falsetto. Split common chords are vocalized at wide intervals. In the low register the singer vocalizes the vowels a and o; in the high register, e and /’.


Tobler, A. Kuhreihen oder Kiihreigen, Jodel und Jodellied in Appenzell. Zurich, 1891.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


an effect produced in singing by an abrupt change of register from the chest voice to falsetto, esp in popular folk songs of the Swiss Alps
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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