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Scat Singing

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.

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.

Humor is another important element of scat singing. Cab Calloway exemplified the use of humorous scatting.

Related: Jam Session, Goguette, Improvisation

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