Monday, 3 March 2014

Scat Singing

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Ella Fitzgerald is generally considered to be one of the greatest scat singers in jazz history.[1]
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing is a difficult technique that requires singers with the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms using the voice as an instrument rather than a speaking medium.


Structure and syllable choice[edit]

Though scat singing is improvised, the melodic lines are often variations on scale and arpeggio fragments, stock patterns and riffs, as is the case with instrumental improvisers. As well, scatting usually incorporates musical structure. All of Ella Fitzgerald's scat performances of "How High the Moon", for instance, use the same tempo, begin with a chorus of a straight reading of the lyric, move to a "specialty chorus" introducing the scat chorus, and then the scat itself.[2] Will Friedwald has compared Ella Fitzgerald to Chuck Jones directing his Roadrunner cartoon—each uses predetermined formulas in innovative ways.[2]
The deliberate choice of scat syllables also is a key element in vocal jazz improvisation. Syllable choice influences the pitch articulation, coloration, and resonance of the performance.[3] Syllable choice also differentiated jazz singers' personal styles: Betty Carter was inclined to use sounds like "louie-ooie-la-la-la" (soft-tongued sounds or liquids) while Sarah Vaughan would prefer "shoo-doo-shoo-bee-ooo-bee" (fricatives, plosives, and open vowels).[4] The choice of scat syllables can also be used to reflect the sounds of different instruments. The comparison of the scatting styles of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan reveals that Fitzgerald's improvisation mimics the sounds of swing-era big bands with which she performed, while Vaughan's mimics that of her accompanying bop-era small combos.[5][a]


Humor is another important element of scat singing. Cab Calloway exemplified the use of humorous scatting.[6] Other classic examples of humorous scatting include Slim Gaillard, Leo Watson, and Bam Brown's 1945 "Avocado Seed Soup Symphony," in which the singers scat variations on the word "avocado" for much of the recording.[7] In addition to such nonsensical uses of language, humor is communicated in scat singing through the use of musical quotation. Leo Watson, who performed before the canon of American popular music, frequently drew on nursery rhymes in his scatting. This is called using a compression.[8] Ella Fitzgerald, who performed later, was able to draw extensively on popular music in her singing. For example, in her classic 1960 recording of "How High the Moon" live in Berlin, she quotes over a dozen songs, including "The Peanut Vendor", "Heat Wave", "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes".[9]
The scat-style lyrics of the song "Solar Prestige A Gammon," written by Bernie Taupin with music by Elton John and released on the latter's album Caribou in 1974, include the names of many varieties of fish. However, since the lyrics were written and not improvised during a performance, they are not a true example of scat improvisation.


Al Jolson's scatting during his 1911 recording of "That Haunting Melody" has been cited as one of the earliest examples of scat singing. — 322 KB

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Louis Armstrong's recording of "Heebie Jeebies" was the most influential early example of scat singing. — 168 KB

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Though Louis Armstrong's 1926 recording of Heebie Jeebies is often cited as the first song to employ scatting, there are many earlier examples.[10] One early master of ragtime scat singing was Gene Greene who recorded scat choruses in his song "King of the Bungaloos" and several others between 1911 and 1917. Entertainer Al Jolson even scatted through a few bars in the middle of his 1911 recording of "That Haunting Melody". Gene Green's 1917 "From Here to Shanghai", which featured faux-Chinese scatting, and Gene Rodemich's 1924 "Scissor Grinder Joe" and "Some of These Days" also pre-date Armstrong.[10] Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards scatted an interlude on his 1923 "Old Fashioned Love" in lieu of using an instrumental soloist.[10][11] Harry Barris, one of Paul Whiteman's "The Rhythm Boys," along with Bing Crosby, scatted on several songs, including "Mississippi Mud," which Barris wrote in 1927. One of the early female singers to use scat was Aileen Stanley who included it at the end of a duet with Billy Murray in their hit 1924 recording of "It Had To Be You"(Victor 19373).
Jelly Roll Morton credited Joe Sims of Vicksburg, Mississippi as the creator of scat around the turn of the 20th century.[12] Here is a transcription of a conversation between Alan Lomax and Jelly Roll Morton where Morton explains the history of scat:[13]
Lomax: Well, what about some more scat songs, that you used to sing way back then?
Morton: Oh, I'll sing you some scat songs. That was way before Louis Armstrong's time. By the way, scat is something that a lot of people don't understand, and they begin to believe that the first scat numbers was ever done, was done by one of my hometown boys, Louie Armstrong. But I must take the credit away, since I know better. The first man that ever did a scat number in history of this country was a man from Vicksburg, Mississippi, by the name of Joe Sims, an old comedian. And from that, Tony Jackson and myself, and several more grabbed it in New Orleans. And found it was pretty good for an introduction of a song.
Lomax: What does scat mean?
Morton: Scat doesn't mean anything but just something to give a song a flavor. For an instance we'll say: [launches into an example scat song, accompanying himself on the piano]
Morton also once boasted, "Tony Jackson and myself were using scat for novelty back in 1906 and 1907 when Louis Armstrong was still in the orphan's home".[10] Don Redman and Fletcher Henderson also featured scat vocals in their recording of "My Papa Doesn't Two-Time No Time" five months prior to Armstrong's 1926 recording of "Heebie Jeebies".[10]
It was Armstrong's 1926 performance, however, that was the turning point for the medium.[14] According to Armstrong, when he was recording the song "Heebie Jeebies", soon to be a national bestseller, with his band The Hot Five, his music fell to the ground. Not knowing the lyrics to the song, he invented a gibberish melody to fill time, expecting the cut to be thrown out in the end, but that take of the song was the one released.[10] The story is widely believed to be apocryphal,[15] but the influence of the recording was nonetheless enormous.
Louis Armstrong served as a model for Cab Calloway, whose 1930s scat solos inspired Gershwin's use of the medium in his Porgy and Bess;[16] it was from the 1926 recording of "Heebie Jeebies" arose the techniques that would form the foundation of modern scat.[14]

Later development[edit]

On October 26, 1927, Duke Ellington's Orchestra recorded "Creole Love Call" featuring Adelaide Hall singing wordlessly.[17] "She sounds like a particularly sensitive growl trumpeter," according to Nat Hentoff. The creativity must be shared between Ellington and Hall as he knew the style of performance he wanted, but she was the one who was able to produce the sound. In 1932, Ellington repeated the experiment in one of his versions of "The Mooche", with Baby Cox singing scat after a muted similar trombone solo by Tricky Sam Nanton.
Bands such as The Boswell Sisters regularly employed scatting on their records, including the high complexity of scatting at the same time, in harmony. An excellent example would be their version of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)". Another famous scat singer is Scatman Crothers who would go on to movie and television fame. British dance band trumpeter and vocalist Nat Gonella was a notable scat singer. Some authorities considered scat singing as lacking respectability, including BBC Radio which did not permit scatting on air in the late 1930s.
Over the years, as jazz music developed and grew in complexity, scat singing did as well. During the bop era, more highly-developed vocal improvisation surged in popularity.[16] Annie Ross, a bop singer, expressed a common sentiment among vocalists at the time: "The [scat] music was so exciting, everyone wanted to do it."[18] And just about everyone did: Ella Fitzgerald, Eddie Jefferson, Betty Carter, Anita O'Day, Joe Carroll, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Jon Hendricks, Babs Gonzales, and Dizzy Gillespie all were important singers in the idiom.[16] Fitzgerald once hailed herself as the "best vocal improviser jazz has ever had", and critics since then have been in almost universal agreement with her.[1]
In the 1960s, traditional scatting gave way to the free-jazz movement, which allowed scat singers to include sounds in their repertoire that had before been considered non-musical, such as screams, cries, and laughter. Dion DiMucci (Dion) was the most prominet Rock arist to consistently use Scat singing. A good example is "Little Diane" Laurie, 1962. The kazoo (very unusual in rock music) that plaintively "sings throughout the song even has a scat quality. Dion used scat singing either by him or his backing group throughout his career. Even his famous Runaround Sue Laurie, 1961 begins with his vocal group (the Del Satins, not the Belmonts) singing scat lyrics.
Free jazz and the influence of world musicians on the medium pushed jazz singing nearer to avant-garde art music.[16] In the 60s Ward Swingle was the product of an unusually liberal musical education. He took the scat singing idea and applied it to the works of Bach, creating The Swingle Singers. Scat singing is also featured by Louis Prima and others in the song "I Wan'na Be Like You" in Disney's The Jungle Book (1967).
The bop revival of the 1970s renewed interest in bop scat singing, and young scat singers viewed themselves as a continuation of the classic bop tradition. The medium continues to evolve, and vocal improvisation now often develops independently of changes in instrumental jazz.[16]
Jazz artist John Paul Larkin (better known as Scatman John) renewed interest in the genre briefly during the mid-1990s when he began fusing Jazz singing with pop music and electronica, scoring a world-wide hit with the song Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop) in 1994. This has continued to a degree in recent years, due to the continued popularity of Scatman John, and segments in the British television comedy series The Mighty Boosh which featured scat singing (referred to by its performers as "crimping").
Vocal improviser Bobby McFerrin's recent performances have shown that "wordless singing has traveled far from the concepts demonstrated by Louis Armstrong, Gladys Bentley, Cab Calloway, Anita O'Day, and Leo Watson."[19]
Experimental rock singer Mike Patton uses a variation of scat singing in many projects, including the avant-garde metal band Fantomas and Mr. Bungle. Aerosmith's Steven Tyler has made scatting a part of many of the band's recordings and live shows, sometimes performing extended scat solos which work to complement extend guitar solos, act as solos themselves, even to replace forgotten lyrics. Some nu metal bands such as Korn and Disturbed use the style in some of their songs, for instance "Twist" and "Down with the Sickness".

Use in hip-hop[edit]

Many hip-hop music artists and rappers use scat singing to come up with the rhythms of their raps.[20] Tajai of the group Souls of Mischief states the following in the book How to Rap: "Sometimes my rhythms come from scatting. I usually make a scat kind of skeleton and then fill in the words. I make a skeleton of the flow first, and then I put words into it."[20] The group Lifesavas describe a similar process.[20] Rapper Tech N9ne has been recorded demonstrating exactly how this method works, in an audio segment covered by The Washington Post.[21] Godfather of gangsta rap Eazy-E uses it extensively in his song Eazy Street.

Music historical explanations[edit]

Paul Berliner has suggested that scat singing arose from instrumental soloists like Louis Armstrong (pictured) formulating jazz riffs vocally.[22]
Some writers have proposed that scat has its roots in African musical traditions.[16] In much African music, "human voice and instruments assume a kind of musical parity" and are "at times so close in timbre and so inextricably interwoven within the music's fabric as to be nearly indistinguishable".[23] Dick Higgins likewise attributes scat singing to traditions of sound poetry in African-American music.[24] In West African music, it is typical to convert drum rhythms into vocal melodies; common rhythmic patterns are assigned specific syllabic translations.[16] However, this theory fails to account for the existence—even in the earliest recorded examples of scatting—of free improvisation by the vocalist.[16] It is therefore more likely that scat singing evolved independently in the United States.[16]
Others have proposed that scat singing arose from jazz musicians' practice of formulating riffs vocally before performing them instrumentally.[22] (The adage "If you can't sing it, you can't play it" was common in the early New Orleans jazz scene.[22]) In this manner, soloists like Louis Armstrong became able to double as vocalists, switching effortlessly between instrumental solos and scatting.[22]

Critical assessment[edit]

Scat singing can allow jazz singers to have the same improvisational opportunities as jazz instrumentalists: scatting can be rhythmically and harmonically improvisational without concern about destroying the lyric.[25] Especially when bebop was developing, singers found scat to be the best way to adequately engage in the performance of jazz.[18]
Scatting may be desirable because it does not "taint the music with the impurity of denotation".[26] Instead of conveying linguistic content and pointing to something outside itself, scat music—like instrumental music—is self-referential and "d[oes] what it mean[s]".[27] Through this wordlessness, commentators have written, scat singing can describe matters beyond words.[26][28] Music critic Will Friedwald has written that Louis Armstrong's scatting, for example, "has tapped into his own core of emotion", releasing emotions "so deep, so real" that they are unspeakable; his words "bypass our ears and our brains and go directly for our hearts and souls".[28]
Various psychological and metaphysical theorists have instead proposed that vocal improvisation allows for revelations from the soul's depths.[29] Musician and lecturer Roberto Laneri has proposed a theory of improvisation based on "different states of consciousness" that draws on the Jungian model of the collective unconscious.[29] The music stemming from Laneri's improvisatory "consciousness expansion" tends to be vocal, as the voice is regarded as the "primal instrument".[29]
Scat singing has never been universally accepted, even by jazz enthusiasts. Writer and critic Leonard Feather offers an extreme view; he once said that "scat singing—with only a couple exceptions—should be banned".[18] Perhaps ironically, he also wrote the lyrics to the jazz song "Whisper Not", which Ella Fitzgerald then recorded on her 1966 Verve release of the same name. Many fine jazz singers, including Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Jimmy Rushing, and Dinah Washington, have avoided scat entirely.[30] Of course, many fine jazz vocalists do not play instruments at all, either.


a. ^ In her 1949 performance of "Flyin' Home", Fitzgerald alternates the bilabial "b" and "p" plosives with the alveolar plosive "d".[31] The "b" and "p" sounds are formed similarly to the sounds of jazz wind instruments, which sound by the release of built-up mouth air pressure onto the reed, while the "d" sound is similar to the tonguing on jazz brass instruments.[31] William Stewart, a Seattle researcher, has proposed that this alternation simulates the exchange of riffs between the wind and brass sections that is common in big bands.[32] Sarah Vaughan, on the other hand, tends to use the fricative consonant "sh" along with the low, back of the mouth "ah" vowel. The "sh" closely resembles the sound of brushes, common in the bop era, on drum heads; the "ah" vowel resonates similarly to the bass drum.[33]

See also[edit]

Non-lexical vocables in music

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Non-lexical vocables, which may be mixed with meaningful text, are a form of nonsense syllable used in a wide variety of music. A common English example would be "la la la".

Traditional music[edit]

Non-lexical vocables are used in Blackfoot music and other American Indian music, Pygmy music, the music of the Maldives and Highland Scots music. Vocables frequently act as formal markers, indicating the beginning and end of phrases, sections or songs themselves,[1] and also as onomatopoeic references, cueing devices, and other purposes.[2]
The Blackfoot, like other Plains Indians, use the consonants h, y, w, and vowels. They avoid n, c (ts) and other consonants. i and e tend slightly to be higher pitches, a, o, and u lower ones.[3]
The AIM Song has its origins in the Plains; as such, it holds similar characteristics to Blackfoot song. It is intended as an intertribal song, so the use of non-lexical vocables prevents bias to one particular language.
Other traditional musical forms employing non-lexical vocables include:
  • Canntaireachd (ancient Scottish practice of noting music with a combination of definite syllables for ease of recollection and transmission)
  • Eefing (Appalachian vocal technique similar to beatboxing)
  • Puirt à beul (traditional Scottish and Irish song form that sometimes employs nonsense syllables)
  • Nigun in Jewish religious music
  • Joik or luohti (improvised Sami chant employing nonsense syllables and few or no lyrics )

Jazz music[edit]

Scat singing is a type of voice instrumental music. A scat is vocalized using wordless vocables and syllables (e.g. "bippity-bippity-doo-wop-razzamatazz-skoobie-doobie-shoobity-bee-bop-a-lula-shabazz") as employed by jazz singers. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice. Scatman John (John Paul Larkin) renewed interest in the genre briefly during the mid-90s.
Vocal improviser Bobby McFerrin’s performances at major concert halls worldwide show that “wordless singing has traveled far from the concepts demonstrated by Louis Armstrong, Gladys Bentley, Cab Calloway, Anita O’Day, and Leo Watson”.[4]
Another method of scat singing is practiced by guitarists who scat along with their solos note for note. Notable practitioners include George Benson, Sheldon Reynolds, and Rik Emmett.

Musical training[edit]

  • Solfège, or solfa, is a technique for teaching sight-singing, in which each note is sung to a special syllable (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti).
  • In India, the origin of solmization was to be found in Vedic texts like the Upanishads, which discuss a musical system of seven notes, realized ultimately in what is known as sargam. In Indian classical music, the notes in order are: sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, and ni.
  • Byzantine music also uses syllables derived from a hymn to name notes: starting with A, the notes are pa, vu, ga, di, ke, zo, ni.
  • In Japan, the Iroha, an ancient poem, is sometimes used as solfège (i, chi, yo, ra, ya, a, we).

Popular music of the WWII era[edit]

The song "Swinging the Alphabet" is sung by The Three Stooges in their 1938 film, "Violent Is the Word for Curly." It is the only full-length song performed by the Stooges in their short films, and the only time they mimed to their own pre-recorded soundtrack. The lyrics use each letter of the alphabet to make a nonsense verse of the song:
 B-A-bay, B-E-bee, B-I-bicky-bi, B-O bo, bicky-bi bo, B-U bu, bicky bi bo bu.
 C-A-cay, C-E-cee, C-I-cicky-ci, C-O co, cicky-ci co, C-U cu, cicky ci co cu.
 D-A-day, D-E-dee, D-I-dicky-di, D-O do, dicky-di do, D-U du, dicky di do du.
 F-A-fay, F-E-fee, F-I-ficky-fi, F-O fo, Ficky-fi fo, F-U fu, ficky fi fo fu.
The song "Mairzy Doats" (1943) used blurred lyrics that sound non-lexical:
 Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
 A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
However, the lyrics of the bridge provide a clue:
 If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey,
 Sing "Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy."

Popular music[edit]

Examples of popular music employing non-lexical vocables include:
  • A cappella (singing without instrumental accompaniment, sometimes accompanied by a chorus of nonsense syllables)
  • Beatboxing (vocal percussion)
  • Doo-wop (style of rhythm and blues music that often employs nonsense syllables)
  • Kobaïan (language used by French progressive rock band Magma)
  • Hopelandic (gibberish language employed by the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós)
Van Morrison employed scat in his performances.[5]
Scat singing influenced the development of doo-wop and hip hop. It has also appeared in various genres of rock music. Jim Morrison of The Doors sings a chorus of slow scat on the song "Cars Hiss By My Window", trying to replicate a harmonica solo he had heard, as well as on the song "Roadhouse Blues"; scat singing also notably opens the B-side of Joe Walsh's 1973 album The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get with the song "Meadow". The technique was employed in the song "The Great Gig in the Sky" by Pink Floyd, as well as the R&B song "Rubber Biscuit" by The Chips (also as by The Blues Brothers).
Scat also makes appearances in newer genres, including industrial music, in the chorus of Ministry's 1991 song "Jesus Built My Hotrod"; nu metal music, in the band Korn whose lead singer Jonathan Davis has incorporated scat singing into songs such as "Twist", "Ball Tongue", "Freak on a Leash", "B.B.K.", "Beat it Upright" and "Liar"; and the heavy metal subgenre of death metal, where scat singing is used by John Tardy of the band Obituary. Jack Black incorporates scat into several Tenacious D songs, most notably: "Tribute", "Cosmic Shame", "Classico," "Jesus Ranch," Low Hangin' Fruit," and "Bowie". Singer JoJo performs ad-libbed scats on the track "Yes or No". Other modern examples include "Rag Doll" by Aerosmith, "Under My Voodoo" by Sublime, "No! Don't Shoot" by Foxy Shazam, "Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz" by Mr. Bungle, "In My Bed" by Amy Winehouse, and "Stuck in the Middle" by Mika. Scatman John successfully combined scat and early-1990s electronic dance music.
Examples by popular non-anglophone singers using such techniques include "Bla Bla Bla" by Gigi D'Agostino, Eena Mina Dika in the Bollywood film Aasha, Eduard Khil's "I Am Glad, Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home" (known as "Trololo") sung entirely without lyrics, "Restless" (Fu Zao) by Faye Wong and "Lagu Lagu" by Sa Dingding.
Due to the wide-ranging vocal styles used in popular music, occasionally songs have been mistakenly categorized as having non-lexical vocables, when in fact the singers are performing actual lyrics rendered partially (or completely) unintelligible to the ear of certain (but not all) listeners. Two famous 1960s examples are "Louie Louie" as recorded by The Kingsmen and "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

Disney songs[edit]

A signature of some Disney musical films is their songs' use of nonsense words, the longest and most famous of which is from Mary Poppins, entitled "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". A close second is "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" from Song of the South, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Nonsense word song titles include:
Nonsense lyrics also feature in the following Disney songs:


  1. Jump up ^ Heth, cited in Ellen Koskoff (Ed.), ed. (2001). The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: Volume 3, The United States and Canada. New York and London: Garland Publishing. pp. 368–369. ISBN 0-8240-4944-6. 
  2. Jump up ^ "Native North Americans in Canada", The Canadian Encyclopedia Historica: Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Accessed 01/23/07.
  3. Jump up ^ Nettl, Bruno (1989). Blackfoot Musical Thought: Comparative Perspectives, p.71. Ohio: The Kent State University Press. ISBN 0-87338-370-2.
  4. Jump up ^ Crowther & Pinfold 1997, p. 135.
  5. Jump up ^ Pareles, Jon; Romanowski, Patricia; George-Warren, Holly, eds. (2001). "Jim Morrison" ([dead link]). Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. Fireside. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9 

Further reading[edit]

Vocal Music

Vocal music without lyrics

World traditions

  • Elaborate untexted vocal improvisation was and still is an important element in Turkish and Middle Eastern music traditions. Such music existed prior to the 13th century and the First Crusade into Palestine and the city of Jerusalem, possibly even before the year 900.
  • The modern descendants of the ancient Kung tribes and clans of Southern Africa utilize similar traditional music techniques.
  • A form of improvisation known as thillana is a very important feature of Carnatic music from South India.
  • Tuvan throat singing often features wordless and improvised song. The sygyt technique is a particularly good example of this.
  • The Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic communities.
  • Hasidic Jews use a form of voice improvisation called nigunim. This consists of wordless tunes vocalized with sounds such as "Bim-bim-bam" or "Ai-yai-yai!” often accompanied by rhythmic clapping and drumming on the table.
  • Puirt a beul, also known as "Mouth Music", is a Scottish technique based around imitating the sounds of bagpipes, fiddles, and other instruments used in traditional Scottish music. It was popularized in North America by Scottish immigrants, and has been incorporated into many forms of American music from roots music to bluegrass.

European classical vocal music

Solfege, a vocalized musical scale, assigns various syllables such as ‘‘Do-Re-Mi‘‘ to each note. A variety of similar tools are found in traditional Indian music, and scat singing of jazz.

Jazz and popular music

Hip hop music has a very distinct form of vocal percussion known as beatboxing. It involves creating beats, rhythms, and scratching.
The singer of the Icelandic group Sigur Rós, Jón Þór Birgisson, often uses vocals without words, as does Icelandic singer/songwriter, Björk. Her album Medúlla is composed entirely of processed and acoustic vocal music, including beatboxing, choral arrangements and throat singing.
Singer Bobby McFerrin has recorded a number of albums using only his voice and body, sometimes consisting of a texted melody supported by untexted vocalizations.

Vocal music with lyrics


See Song and Category: Song forms for short forms of music with sung words. songs like this are more popular now than just music

Extended techniques that involve lyrics

The Second Viennese School, especially Alban Berg and Arnold Schoenberg, pioneered a technique called Sprechstimme in which singers half-talk, half-sing, and only approximate pitches.

Wide-ranging voices

  • Yma Sumac: her range was said to be "well over four octaves"[13] and was sometimes claimed to span even five octaves at her peak. From B2 to C7[14][15]
  • Mariah Carey: A2 - A7. Carey has hit an A2 while talking on an interview and an A7 in a live performance of her song "Emotions" in 1991 at the MTV Music Awards, making hers a vocal range of exactly five octaves.

See also[edit]

Voice type
Female voices
Male voices


  1. Jump up ^ Allmusic. Vocal music. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  2. Jump up ^ Titze, I. R. (2008). The human instrument. Sci.Am. 298 (1):94-101. PM 18225701
  3. Jump up ^ "Lucrezia Aguiari, dite La Bastardella ou La Bastardina ou Lucrezia Agujari, dite La Bastardella ou La Bastardina. Encyclopédie Larousse"
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b "Encyclopédie Larousse. Chant"
  5. Jump up ^ Ira Siff, « I vespri siciliani » in Opera News, March 2008.
  6. Jump up ^ Ardoin, John (1991). The Callas Legacy. Old Tappen, New Jersey: Scribner and Sons. ISBN 0-684-19306-X. 
  7. ^ Jump up to: a b L'Invité Du Dimanche, The Callas Conversations, Vol. 2 [DVD] 2007, EMI Classics.
  8. Jump up ^ David A. Lowe, ed (1986). Callas: As They Saw Her. New York: Ungar Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8044-5636-4.
  9. Jump up ^ F Haböck, Die Gesangkunst der Kastraten, (Vienna, 1923), p. 209
  10. Jump up ^ Saint Bris, Gonzague (2009). La Malibran (in French). Belfond. p. 25. ISBN 978-2-7144-4542-1. 
  11. Jump up ^ Saint Bris, Gonzague (2009). La Malibran (in French). Belfond. pp. 37 and 104. ISBN 978-2-7144-4542-1. 
  12. Jump up ^ Nicholas E. Limansky (Translated from English by Jean-Jacques Groleau): Mado Robin, soprano (1918 - 1960)
  13. Jump up ^ Ellen Highstein: 'Yma Sumac (Chavarri, Emperatriz)' Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy. (Accessed 8 August 2006)
  14. Jump up ^ Clarke Fountain, "Yma Sumac: Hollywood's Inca Princess (review). Allmovie, reproduced in the New York Times. 1992. [1]
  15. Jump up ^ David Richards, "The Trill of a Lifetime; Exotic Singer Yma Sumac Meets a New Wave of Fans." The Washington Post, March 2, 1987, STYLE; PAGE B1. Accessed August 6, 2006, via Lexis Nexis, [2]