Austrian Yodeling

Grade Levels: 4 - 8

Explore European Alpine culture through folk music and the yodel.


  • Students will listen to songs that feature the yodel.
  • Students will identify instruments of Austria and the alpine countries.
  • Students will sing an Austrian folk song.
  • Students will accompany the folk song with guitar or Autoharp.
  • Students will locate Austria, Bavarian Germany, and Switzerland on a map of Europe.



  1. Play the recording of Jodler (yodel songs) and Schuhplattler (folk dances that feature the boot slapping of men). Call attention to the preponderance of triple meter and to the arpeggiated melodies in major keys. Many yodel songs are organized into a verse-refrain form, the refrain of which is usually the yodeling of syllables rather than words.
  2. Sing “The Cuckoo's Song” in unison, adding the harmony if appropriate for the students' age level. The language is an Alpine Austrian dialect of German.
    Pronunciation: Vehn dehr goo-goo-shrite, ahft ees lahng-ees-tsite.
    Veerd dehr schnee fehr-gehn, veern dee vees-lahn green.
    Translation: When the cuckoo calls, early springtime falls.
    Oh di lay le oh. Hoh di lay lee lay lee oh
    All the snow will go, meadows green will grow.
    Oh di lay le oh. Hoh di loh
    Oh di lay le oh. Hoh di lay lee lay lee oh
    Oh di lay le oh. Hoh di loh
  3. While singing, add a pat-clap-snap gesture to keep the triple meter feeling.
  4. Accompany the song on guitar or Autoharp.
  5. On a map of Europe, locate the Germanic countries Austria and Switzerland, and the southern part of Germany known as Bavaria. Discuss the possible reasons for the development of the yodel. Could it be that the Alps motivated people to sing from one mountain to the next for the pure enjoyment of the echo (in which case, words were not necessary and the pitched cries of the arpeggiated melody collided into chords as they were bounced back to the singer)?

Standards Correlations

  • Standard 1 Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music
  • Standard 9 Understanding music in relation to history and culture

Excerpted from Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education.

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Provided in partnership with NAfME

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