Re: First "scat" singing; Definition of "scat singing"
- I found two definitions of scat singing.
1. From Grove Music Online.
"A technique of jazz singing in which onomatopoeic or nonsense
syllables are sung to improvised melodies."
2. From Wikipedia.
Scat singing is vocalizing either wordlessly or with nonsense words
and syllables as employed by jazz singers who create the equivalent of
an instrumental solo using only the voice. Also it is a type of voice
instrumental. While the use of nonsense syllables in singing long
predates scat, scat singing is distinguished by the fact that rather
than using the sounds to exactly reproduce the melodic line,
improvisations are made with the melody and rhythm, much as in other
If we restrict scat singing to jazz, then the two key ingredients are
"non-sense syllables" and "improvisation." Then we need to look only
at jazz recordings to find the first example of scat singing. On the
other hand if the use of non-sense syllables is sufficient to define
scat singing, then we can go back to non-jazz numbers.
According to Grove Music Online,
"Scat singing was used in early New Orleans jazz, as demonstrated by
Jelly Roll Morton in his Scat Song (1938, Library of Congress). Morton
gave the credit for originating the practice to Joe Simms of Vicksburg."
--- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Martin" <martin@...> wrote:
> Well, I've just listened to Marables's Frankie & Johnny four times and
> don't hear any vocalise at all. The muted trumpet has a kazoo-like
> timbre, but even if it were a kazoo or comb, I would classify that as
> an instument.
> But what about Cliff Edwards using his voice as an instrument from at
> least "Oh Lovey Be Mine" recorded in October, 1925, and continually on
> more than a dozen sides prior to Armstrong's 2/26/26 Hebbie Jeebies?
> If we define scat singing as using the human voice as instrument, there
> are probably many more examples as well.
> That begs the question, does someone have another (or better)
> definition of scat?