You can now get a degree in yodelling from a Swiss university

  • Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts will become the first university in Switzerland to offer a degree in yodeling.
  • The university’s website says studies will begin in the 2018/2019 academic year.
  • Yodeling is a form of singing that involves rapid changes in pitch.
  • The art of yodelling has seen a popular resurgence in Switzerland.

The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland is trying to preserve the ancient art of yodelling.

The university will become the first in Switzerland to offer a three-year bachelor’s degree and a two-year master’s degree on the techniques and history of yodelling.

The university’s website says studies will begin in the 2018/2019 academic year and will be taught by Nadja Räss, an award-winning Swiss yodeler with her own academy in Zurich.

According to Räss, yodelling is still lacking well-trained vocal teachers, Swiss paper St Galler Tagblatt quoted her as saying.

The yodelling courses would be offered by The Institute for Jazz and Folk Music at the Lucerne School of Music, and would would help students master the yodel as their “instrument.”

Yodelling is a form of singing that involves rapid changes in pitch. It has traditionally been used by Swiss herders to communicate in the mountains, but later became popular with musicians as a form of entertainment. According to the Smithsonian, yodelling can also be heard in Persian classical music, African Pygmy music, and the Mexican son huasteco.

The university has offered folk-music degrees since 2012. Applications for the yodelling programs will open on February 28 and only three of four students are expected to be chosen.

Michael Kaufmann, head of the university’s music department told Swiss paper Tribune de Genève, that he had long wanted to offer yodelling to his students, but could not find a qualified teacher.

Räss told the paper that classes would expand the tradition of yodelling in Switzerland, which has seen something of a modern renaissance. In 2014, the Swiss government said it would seek Unesco World Heritage status for the singing style.

“As well as having good vocal technique students must be taught about different styles and voices to expand their repertoire. The whole yodelling scene will benefit from their new skills,” Räss told the Tribune.

Some critics have voiced concern that teaching yodelling at a university will cheapen its legacy.

“University studies have not been necessary to keep the yodel alive for decades,” Karin Niederberger, president of the Federal Yodeling Association in Switzerland, told the Tribune.

Addressing criticism,Räss told the Tribune: “Our program will only train a few people out of thousands of yodelers. Yodelling is a living folklore that must continue to develop.”

Here is a song by Franzl Lang, who is well-known for being one of the best Alpine yodellers in the world.