Mastering “Big Iron” by Marty Robbins
“Big Iron”, a popular hit by Marty Robbins, requires a certain vocal technique called “country yodeling.” Also known as “country break”, this technique is characteristic of many country songs, including “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” by Patsy Montana, and “Blue Yodel No. 9 (Standin’ on the Corner)” by Jimmie Rodgers.
Understanding Country Yodeling
Country yodeling stems from the transition between vocal registers, specifically the chest voice and the falsetto or head voice. This causes an audible break or change in voice quality. To learn more about voice registers and the vocal break, check this article.
Analyzing Your Voice
Once you’ve identified your vocal range, start practicing country yodeling. Begin by switching from your chest voice to your head voice on an “ah” vowel. Try to exaggerate the break or flip between the registers initially.
Applying to the Song
Having practiced the yodel, it’s time to apply it to “Big Iron”. Pay attention to the sections where the vocal break is most obvious, like the lines “Big Iron on his hip” and “Tried to match the Ranger with the big iron on his hip”, and practice transitioning smoothly.
After mastering the yodel break in “Big Iron”, compare your performance with Marty Robbins’s original. The Vocal Pitch Monitor will visualize your sung notes, helping analyze and correct your technique.