Brüder Baldauf – Original Meister Jodler-Potpourri

When you think “yodeling” you think “lederhosen,” right? Corny? Irritating? Music for tourists?

I have to admit that to some degree, I do too, partly because Alpine yodeling has been ubiquitous and commercialized in the media for the past fifty years (or more), even without The Sound of Music hammering away at our collective memory. In the elitist world of record collecting, it is completely uncool. It is relentlessly harmonic and romantic. Will I defend it? Sure, why not.

Yodeling itself is positively stone age. There are a number of theories regarding its origin, one being that it has something to do with the echo between hills, peaks, and valleys in the Alps, another being that it originated in various cultures with the domestication and subsequent herding of animals. A call and response of rural agrarian peoples. Although echo is an important factor, the latter theory has the most hold in scholarly writing it would seem, though there are still all manner of theories regarding this throat music most commonly associated with Alpine Europe.

Nevertheless, the determining factor of yodeling is of course the “epiglottal stop” used as the singer moves from the “low chest voice to the high head voice or falsetto – or vice versa,” as Bart Plantenga described it in his world history of yodeling – the, um, only book-length history of yodeling on the market. Plantenga does yeoman’s work in dispelling the myths about the music (though the fact his book is titled Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo doesn’t exactly help the music’s cornball stature), and rightly brings up the fact that nods to, or embraces of, yodeling, are everywhere in musical history – from Beethoven, to Jimmie Rodgers, to Pharaoh Sanders’ work with Leon Thomas on Impulse and Strata-East.

One area which is particularly proud of its yodeling history is Tyrol in Austria, which is where this piece stems from, recorded ca. 1930s, and pressed in Vienna. It is a naturjodel, a yodel without words, meaningless in content, devoid of the romantic lyrics that are often associated with Alpine yodels, with a simple guitar and zither accompaniment. While I could find no information on the Baldauf brothers, it’s a musical statement that anyone can digest and respond to. It may even sound…pretty.

Brüder Baldauf – Original Meister Jodler-Potpourri

Technical Notes
Label: HMV
Issue Number: BA 261
Matrix Number: 70-2108

14 thoughts on “Brüder Baldauf – Original Meister Jodler-Potpourri

  1. Hey, El Chavo!

    Thanks for checking in on this one!

    Regarding the book, yeah, what can you do. It’s a very informed book, though, I have to give the author props.

    Incidentally, much yodeling is done in songs with verse – whether the yodel occurs in the lyrics themselves, or as a bridge between lyrics, or what have you. It’s true in Austrian/Swiss yodeling, as well as in US country music (Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Elton Britt, etc.).

    Speaking of yodeling (were we?), I have a penchant for the song “Chime Bells” by Elton Britt. There’s one point where he holds a falsetto yodel note for…I’m checking…something like 30 seconds.

    Check it out here:

    He starts to really strut his stuff at about 1:30.

  2. I noticed the Brüder were doing a lot of singing in parallel sixths and it occurred to me that the characteristic epiglottal stop very often produces an interval of a rising major (less often minor) sixth. (The “Ay-Ee” in Plantenga’s transcription.) Maybe, in addition to the stop itself, this particular feature is typical of the Alpine yodeling tradition?

  3. I remember Folk Roots magazine did a big article on yodeling around the time when the (brilliant) American Yodeling CD on Trikont came out. I must’ve kept it somewhere …

  4. Thanks for the yodel ! I’ve written a post on my blog about yours… Besides the music of South-East Asia and old records, I’m interested in yodel just because you can find it in all sorts of music, and it’s always surprising where you find it. I’m not really a big fan of the touristic swiss-austrian kind but artists like Jimmie Rodgers did a great work of popularizing all over the world.

    By the way, I think I began to love yodel with the American Yodeling cd (aaahh, The DeZurik Sisters !).

  5. Yes, the DeZurik Sisters are something to behold, aren’t they? Thanks very much for checking in and writing about Excavated Shellac – I appreciate it!

  6. i am the author of the above-mentioned book. you can imagine my feelings when the publisher insisted on this title. as a consolation they allowed me to tack on the subtitle THE SECRET HISTORY OF YODELING AROUND THE WORLD. My choice was Yodeling My Way To Heaven [after a song].

    I am currently working on 3 yodel compilations, a yodel docu and – yes, just when you thot it was safe to come back outside – book 2: Yodel in HiFi. By the way, the Swiss don’t use the EE sound… on some versions Britt holds it for a full minute and so does Kenny Roberts…

    thanks for your time,

    bart plantenga

  7. Hi JW
    i heard about your blog at dublab.com

    today i found this post – but unfortunately, i cant lissen to the track – did you take it of you site, or was it banned or something?
    would really appreciate it if you could bring the link back to live again.

    thanks for all the musik anyways

    greetings ben

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