As per the title, is there a name for the technique where a singer (especially a female one) voices a pitch in the falsetto register on releasing a note?

Examples include:-

  • Alanis Morissette
    • You Oughta Know - particularly at the end of the chorus, "You^ You^ You^ Oughta Know"
  • Sinead O'Connor
    • Nothing Compares to You - occasionally "since you been gone I can do whatever I wa-aaa-aan^t" around 45s
  • Dolores O'Riordan from The Cranberries
    • Zombie (The Cranberries) - constantly... "Z-om-bi^e, Z-om-bi^e, Z-om-bi^e e^eh e^eh e^eh o^oh o^oh" etc
  • I'll add more examples if I find some. I'm listening to all sorts of embarrassing 90s pop looking for more! Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 17:47
  • 2
    In German, I'd call it umkippen (“tip over”) or kieksen (onomatopoeic). The closest fit in English might be just the voice cracks, but that seems rather more severe... Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 21:52
  • While I know exactly what you mean, you might want to find a description for this other than falsetto, because you’re talking about female singers, and it’s controversial whether female falsetto exists. Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 22:42
  • 1
    Yes. It's called "yodeling." (Sorry, couldn't resist)
    – BobRodes
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 2:38

2 Answers 2


I think the technique is best described as a yodel, which is defined as a quick flipping between vocal registers. A yodel isn't specific to the release of a note, but is the closest thing to a proper term for the general technique.

If you're trying to describe the style for a someone, "like a yodel" might be clearer, since most people associate yodeling with a more specific genre of music/vocalization.

Like leftroundabout mentioned, it could also be described more informally as a voice crack in some scenarios.


I believe it can also be described as 'Keening' or a song style used in the old days after a death- a form of vocal lament for the dead. Dolores' voice, yodeling or not is beautiful.

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