Talk:Scat singing

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I moved the Dick Higgins' material here from the article called Skat, which I just converted into an article on the card game. I took one word out of the Dick Higgins quote when I moved it. The word was metatacized which I do not recognize and neither does Webster's Unabridged or the Oxford Englsih Dictionary. I replaced it with [transformed] which is what the sense suggested to me. Either Higgins meant metastasized in which case the word is very poorly chosen, but I suppose should be put back in the quote, or metatacized is a technical musical term that at least one person with a fairly large vocabulary did not recognize, and should be glossed with [transformed] or some better word if it is put back in. See Talk:Skat for what I did to that article. Ortolan88 04:12 Dec 30, 2002 (UTC)

Earliest form of Scat?[edit]

Is Konnakol, an Indian vocal perfomance, the earliest form of scat? Media Research 10:02, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Terrific source of information on Scat[edit]

Many thanks for the expanded information about the history of Scat, the origin and early performers. As a student, I found your site one of the best on the subject.

Frances Spranger


I am reverting the change of article title from "Scat singing" to "Jazz scat", as the former is a very much more common term for the subject. I'll agree to moving the title if there is concensus to do so; if you think the page should be retitled, please discuss the reasons, thanks. -- Infrogmation 04:45, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The B-52's[edit]

The B52 did scat singing in some of their songs, should we mention them in this article? --SuperDude 02:17, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

If they are particularly famous or notable for their scat singing. Certainly hundreds of artists have done scat singing, those mentioned are generally those who were unusual for doing it early, in some influential or extrodinary way, or were famous specifically for scat singing. -- Infrogmation 04:50, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

King of Scat?[edit]

Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't Louis Prima's name be mentioned in here? I've heard him referenced before as the King of Scat.

I'm curious as to why there is no mention of Scatman Cruthers. I've only heard Louis being referred to as "King of Scat" by people born after 1970. Whats the deal? Rasklaat (talk) 01:19, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Re: King of Scat?[edit]

Scatman John is the King of Scat. You want to know why? Listen to his song from 1995 named Scatman. Believe it or not but fusing his popularity on video sharing websites like YouTube, and fusing his CD's and Cassette Tapes sold. That makes him the King of Scat. Nike De Leon (talk) 11:03PM August 8, 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)


Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't an article on scat singing include a cliche example? "Schoobee shoobaba doo baba fluble wop do do ee o?" or the like? The article seems to beat around the bush.

I quite agree with you. Also, there appears to be nothing on scat singing post-Louis Armstrong, despite the significant contributions by Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter et al. I find it difficult to write about these singers acheivements without falling foul of the old NPOV/not sourced law! Gareth E Kegg 03:52, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Ella Fitzgerald[edit]

On revising the History section, I found the following in the code:

<!-- It was [[Ella Fitzgerald]] who popularized scat singing as a legitimate vocal jazz art form, her [[1947]] recording of the [[Gershwin]]'s [[Lady be Good!]] is usually credited with this. comment: credited by who? Who concidered it not "legitimate" before, and why the change? -->

I've weakened the claim and reattached the information to the section; also fixing it up some (like correcting the Gershwin and song links).

--Andymussell 02:16, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

I added some stuff on Adelaide Hall, Duke Ellington, Jim Morrison and Sarah Vaughan.SmokeyTheFatCat 21:28, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Women scat singing[edit]

I removed the claim in the description of Adelaide Hall in 1927 "This is the first instance of a woman singing scat." Source please? That certainly doesn't sound right to me-- I'd have to review my Lizzy Miles, Bessie Smith, Clara Smith etc records and discographies.... Boop boop a doop, -- Infrogmation 00:23, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I have the reference from the sleeve notes to a Duke Ellington album by Nat Hentoff. Not available on the web as far as I know. I believe the reference to be true but I won't put it back in if it bothers you SmokeyTheFatCat 15:34, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

It "bothers" me only in that is seems wrong. I certainly believe you that the sleeve notes say that, but unfortunately some dubious assertions have wound up appearing on liner notes. I recall an acoustically recorded version of "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street" from '24 or early '25 with a scat duet chorus (I'd have to refind the 78; the female singer may have been Aileen Stanley). I don't know who the first female to record scat (and of course the first to record doesn't necessarily mean the first to do it). I wouldn't be surprised if earlier examples still could be found. However Hall in '27 is certainly not the first female example, no more than Armstrong in '26 suddenly invented scat while recording "Heebie Jeebies" (to mention another incorrect assertion that has found its way into liner notes). Cheers, -- Infrogmation 16:19, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

what would a person who scats be called?[edit]

would they be a scatter, a scatist, or something else? does anyone know?

A scat singer. -- Infrogmation 15:11, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Scatter has been used frequently by myself and the scattin' cats I've been around. : ) -- Zeebe 04 April 2007

Lea de Laria once said "I'm a scat singer. This does NOT mean I sing like shit"Saxophobia (talk) 11:01, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Classic examples/recordings of scats.[edit]

Mmmmm... it seems to me, that we could have a different subheading towards the bottom of this entry that would include examples of substantial and significant examples of scat (this o'course could go a lot longer than bios list ... mmm... Mayhaps it gets a whole new entry.

I'll start - informally - by throwing out:

-Mark Murphy on 'Stolen Moments'

-Al Jarreau on 'Spain'

-Ella Fitzgerald on 'How High the Moon'

-Bobby McFerrin on Chick Corea's DVD 'Rendezvous in New York' [10-DVD set with various Chick combos) (or a title something like that)

just for starters. I'll have to get back to the main entry page later. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Zeebe (talkcontribs) 15:11, 4 April 2007 (UTC).

I'll agree with all of that, and with the person who suggested Ricki Lee Jones (below) and raise you Jim Morrison on "Roadhouse Blues" on the album "Morrison Hotel." When performing this song live he extended the scat-singing. I submit the version of "Roadhouse Blues" on Live_in_Detroit_(The_Doors_album) as an example. (talk) 03:49, 6 February 2014 (UTC) Eric

Is Bjarne Riis really a scat singer?[edit]

I know Bjarne Riis is a cyclist, but this is the first time I heard that he is a scat singer. Is there an article to verify that he actually is one?

Lrguy 12:12, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

NO!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:08, 14 April 2009 (UTC)


I am putting scat singing in the category, Jazz & Jazz genres. Even though it is used in all sorts of musical genres it is usually seen as jazz singing & it was founded by early Ragtime & Jazz players so yeah that's all you need to know.

Jackie Chan (Artist)?![edit]

Jackie Chan is in the list of "Notable Scat Singers". Not only do I see nothing on Jackie Chan singing, let alone scat, but nothing to suggest him being notable. Either this is linking to the "wrong" Jackie Chan, or it is just completely wrong in general. If it is the wrong Jackie Chan, I suggest removing the interwiki link or linking to Jackie Chan (Artist) to avoid confusion later. --Spodi 05:10, 2 September 2007 (UTC)



I'm surprised that the Swingle Singers are not mentioned on this page. They have, in my opinion, elevated scat singing to its highest level since ella fitzgerald's work. Of particular interest would be the album Bach's Greatest Hits, released in 1963. The group is still active today, albeit with a completely different membership, but still doing remarkable music.

Karen12398 04:15, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Slim Gaillard and the Gaillard Trio[edit]

Quote from Slim Gaillard wikipedia article: "Gaillard first rose to prominence in the late 1930s as part of Slim & Slam, a jazz novelty act he formed with bassist Slam Stewart. Their hits included "Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)", "Cement Mixer (Puti Puti)" and the hipster anthem, "The Groove Juice Special (Opera in Vout)". The duo performs in the 1941 movie Hellzapoppin'... he was a master improviser whose stream of consciousness vocals ranged far afield from the original lyrics along with wild interpolations of nonsense syllables like MacVoutie O-reeney. One such performance is celebrated in the 1957 novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac."Cuvtixo (talk) 20:36, 5 April 2008 (UTC) Gaillard claimed his singing was part of his own made up language, which he called "Vout." I think its very clear that he was "scat" singing, but I'm not sure if he disqualified himself from the scat tradition by calling his technique something else entirely (Vout). Or perhaps because of specific signature multisyllable phrases like "o-roony," that he is not really a scat singer? If I had some published sources comparing Gaillard to other scat singers, I would include him in this article, but until then... Cuvtixo (talk) 20:36, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Technical difficulty[edit]

I am a scat singer and trombone player and the section about vocalizing being harder than playing an instrument is completely off. I'm not sure how to edit the article properly, but I'm tempted to just remove this whole heading.

As far as I can tell, the biggest reasons that there are more decent jazz sax players than scat singers are: 1) Saxophone is by far the easiest melodic instrument to sound decent on. 2) It takes a long time to get good at jazz improvisation, and it's harder to get away with sounding crappy for a while as a singer. 3) Big bands play charts that have horn solos written into them. So if you play in a big band and you have any talent for improvisation at all, you'll get practice at it. (And if you play an instrument suitable for jazz you'll play in many big bands.)

There's no established niche for scat singing. You have to make one. Which requires expertise that is difficult to come by. But technically it is far and away easier to do than improvisation on most(/all?) instruments.

Datedman (talk) 17:17, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree, the technical difficulty section is completely off. The only reason why there are more instrumental soloists than scat singers isn't because of any supposed "technical difficulty" or the first two reasons listed above. The reason is the mindset. If we stay with the example of comparing a saxophonist to a vocalist, the saxophonist has the mindset that after he plays the melody, that he will solo afterwards and end after all the other solos by restating the melody. Most vocalists don't have this mindset, and often fall trap to the "diva" mindset, where they're only purpose on the bandstand is to sing the melody, look pretty/dance on stage, and thats it. Most of them just don't get around to practicing soloing/scat singing.

The reason this section is included is because it was published by a reliable source. If you believe it is incorrect, please either supply another reliable source that says something different, then add that in, or challenge the author/publisher's credentials to show that they are not reliable. Calliopejen1 (talk) 23:54, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

I fully agree with the two above that the section on technical difficult should be removed. Wikipedia shouldn't include everything that has a source. Comparing difficulty of different musical styles is highly subjective and is just not the kind of thing that belongs in an encyclopedia. Gavoth (talk) 02:23, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

It's not comparing musical styles, it's comparing musical instruments, akin to saying something like "Violin is a more technically challenging instrument than guitar," which can be argued as true by a number of what I would call empirical criteria such as the need for precise intonation on a non-fretted instrument whereas on a fretted area you have a very large area of the string that you can depress and still play an accurate note. I agree that this section should be removed, but not because it is untrue. I think it should be moved to the either the Singing or Vocal pedagogy pages as it deals with vocal technique in general and not scat in particular. Either way, it is information from a reliable source and as such should not be considered dubious unless you can show that there was an error in the methods used. CaptainColon (talk) 17:35, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

The opinion of one psychologist has no value here. Anyone can create a scat melody whilst singing in the shower. It's so easy it's ridiculous. I can offer no source to back this because no-one has before bothered to differentiate between the difficulties of singing and various instruments. It is too objective. Seriously though, use your logic. If I took a person with no musical knowledge and in a week tried to teach them to improvise on sax and scat vocally, by the end of the week they would barely be able to form notes on the sax but they would have a comprehensive understanding of how to scat. I have no sources but the nature of scat is obviously intuitive and the psychologist in question is quite clueless. Use some common sense. (I'm not familiar with the talk guidelines so I've probably done something wrong here) - Ernest W — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:18, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Agree; the section has been shortened, but I'd favor cutting it out completely. It seems to be one person's opinion, and doesn't seem to do much to improve the article. (BTW, I'm a trombonist and do an occasional bit of scat singing myself; it seems a rather "apples and oranges" dubious comparison to me.) Unless there is some counter argument, let's remove this section. -- Infrogmation (talk) 19:09, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

As an instrumentalist and vocalist, this section sounds utterly wrong to me. What's more, in the musical history section of the article it talks about how louis armstrong and other musicians formulated jazz riffs vocally before playing them instrumentally. "If you can't sing it, you can't play it". Surely this indicates that scat singing is the easier practise. Comparing different instruments and voices is an absurd notion. If louis armstrong believed scat to be easier than blowing his horn, I believe this psychologist can be ignored. Singing is more intuitive and natural. (talk) 13:08, 28 July 2013 (UTC) blutackjack

Only jazz?[edit]

This article is exclusively about jazz. Should it not also cover wordless vocal improvisation or invented languages in other musical genres? e.g. Alive (Sa Dingding album). - Fayenatic (talk) 22:35, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

The answer, given by hatnote, seems to be that other genres should not be covered here but at Non-lexical vocables in music. - Fayenatic (talk) 17:37, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Rickie Lee Jones not included?[edit]

It's surprising that Rickie Lee Jones is not included as a modern day scat singer. One of her most popular songs, "Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking", from "Pirates", is almost nothing but scat-singing. She deserves a mention. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jcabraham (talkcontribs) 22:48, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Scatman John Is Da King Of Scatting[edit]

He is the true scatting king. Belive me! Belive me! Belive me! Listen To Scatman (ski ba bop ba dop bop) Whos teh pro? SCATMAN JOHN!!! Aka john larkin.

Badlego34 (talk) 02:19, 27 June 2014 (UTC)