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Yodeling and Meaning in American Music$
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Timothy E. Wise

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496805805

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496805805.001.0001

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Cowboys and Yodeling

Cowboys and Yodeling

Chapter:
(p.161) 6 Cowboys and Yodeling
Source:
Yodeling and Meaning in American Music
Author(s):

Timothy E. Wise

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496805805.003.0007

This chapter is concerned with the role yodeling played in mass media constructions of the fictional cowboy in the early twentieth century. With the emphasis on semiotics and musical connotation, it examines the relationship of yodeling to the attributes of the idealized cowboy in a mythic American West as presented on radio and in film. It relates elements of the cowboy construct, for example bravado and braggadocio, to the specific features of the yodeling heard in the recordings, such as speed and virtuosity. Also considered is the emergence of singing cowgirls, whose themes and styles contrast with those of their male counterparts. Using Wilf Carter as a paradigm for cowboy-style yodeling, the discussion extends to Elton Britt, Slim Whitman, Patsy Montana, harmony yodeling, the Girls of the Golden West, and the DeZurik Sisters, among others. The musical features characterizing cowboy yodeling styles are differentiated from those of hillbilly yodeling styles.

Keywords:   Cowboy/singing cowboy, Wilf Carter, Patsy Montana, Harmony yodeling, The DeZurik Sisters

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