Europe

Swiss university unveils yodelling degree

A men's yodel group pictured in Payerne, western Switzerland. Image copyright VALERIANO DI DOMENICO/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Yodelling is enjoying renewed popularity in Switzerland

Yodellers in Switzerland have something to sing about after a university revealed it will offer degrees in the alpine art-form.

The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Luasa) will run a three-year bachelor's degree and a two-year master's.

The courses will begin in the 2018-19 academic year.

Yodelling is a form of singing which involves wobbling the voice up and down in a rapid change of pitch.

It was traditionally used by Swiss herdsmen to communicate in the mountains, but later adopted by musicians for its entertainment potential.

Luasa is the first university in Switzerland to unveil a yodelling degree.

The course will be led by Nadja Räss, a prize-winning Swiss yodeller with her own academy in Zurich.

Michael Kaufmann, who heads the university's music department, said he was thrilled by the development.

"We have long dreamed of offering yodelling at the university and with Nadja Räss we got the number one. It is an absolute stroke of luck for us," the Swiss paper St Galler Tagblatt quoted him as saying.

As well as the time-honoured vocal techniques, trainees will study musical theory, history and a business module.

Applications will open on 28 February and three or four students are expected to be chosen.

Yodelling is enjoying something of a resurgence in Switzerland, even featuring on successful chart albums last year. In 2014, the Swiss government said it would apply to get Unesco World Heritage status for the singing style.

Though the heritage list was originally limited to buildings and sites of natural beauty, it has now been extended to include "intangible heritage".

The traditions already protected include Spanish flamenco dancing, Indonesian batik fabric-making, and more obscure entries such as a Mongolian camel coaxing ritual.

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