Oberharz Yodelling Contest

The Oberharz Yodelling Competition will take place again in 2024.

Yodelling competitions are held every year in the Harz Mountains. These traditional events serve to preserve an old Harz tradition, yodelling. According to the Duden dictionary, yodelling is textless singing and young and old artists aged between 5 and 70 take part. The anniversary event is under the patronage of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture. The participants are divided into different age groups and must present a performance consisting of a text and a yodel, i.e. a yodelling song. The performance is judged by an expert jury consisting of 7 jurors* according to specified criteria with grades from 1.0 to 6.0.

The grade 6.0 is the highest grade awarded. The final grade is then calculated by adding up all the grades. The highest and lowest scores will be cancelled beforehand. All participating artists will receive a certificate. The first three winners will receive medals in bronze, silver and gold from the organiser. Cups donated by sponsors will also be presented. The Harz Yodelling Competition was presented to a large television audience on 21 December 2020 under the title "Gottschalk catches up".

How yodelling came to the Harz Mountains

Yodelling is generally only associated with Alpine regions such as Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria, but this is not entirely correct. Although outside the Alps, the Harz, as the northernmost low mountain range in Germany, has an old yodelling tradition. The beginnings date back around 400 years to the mining era in the Harz. Today's modern means of communication, such as the telephone and the internet, did not exist at that time. People communicated with each other verbally. For longer distances over mountains and valleys, people had to come up with something. Yodelling helped here.


Yodelling was primarily practised by people who worked in the forest. It was the lumberjacks, woodcutters and charcoal burners who used this form of communication. First and foremost, however, yodelling was a way of expressing joie de vivre. From the 1920s and 1930s onwards, yodelling was further developed musically and competitions were held. Karl Reinecke from Altenau, founder of the Oberharzer Heimatbund, invited people to a yodelling competition for the first time in 1936. A song followed by a yodelling song was required.

©Heimatbund Oberharz