Scat Singing


 

Cultures all over the world use scat singing to composing and passing music through the generations.  

Scat singing is another form of solmization.

This is the name for the process of using syllables---instead of notation---for music.

South Indian ragas and talas are taught by scatting.
 
Here's an eight year old demonstrating one Indian scatting tradition. 
 
 
 
 

African drum rhythms are scatted as well as played.

Scottish bagpipe tunes are taught by scat singing off the instrument, around a peat fire.

When they can scat the tune, then they can put it on their bagpipes.

Scat singing is wonderful voice training that lets anyone and everyone be part of any music singers event.

Whether onstage. Or on the back porch. Or in the living room.

In the west,  the solfeggio or solfa system is the best known solmization system. 

This is a system that allows you to read and vocalise pitch. And sight sing.

It's an awesome system that has been around since about 950 AD.

The Pope of the day was unhappy about hymns sounding different everytime he heard them. 

He then called in a young monk to stabilise the papal melody system.

And solfeggio has been operating as the pitch-solmization system of choice since then.

Alongside the solfeggio system has been the scatting system.

Used primarily by jazzers and bluesers.

As explained in this video. 



Rhythm Scatting


We in the west have not been so well served with rhythm-solmization systems however. 

Primary schools and childhood music teachers offer rhythm scatting systems.

These are primarily designed however for a few periods of school curriculum.

Not for a few decades of playing across many genres.

So from this point of view, their rhythm scat singing systems are inadequate.

 

Rhythm Counting

Rhythm is primarily taught in the west by a counting method.

For example: 1 + 2 + 3e+a 4-trip-let etc.

I've heard this system used in all the time classrooms but never at a rehearsal.

It's great for static measuring but not for dynamic direction or response.

 

Scatting Rhythm


A scatting rhythm system needs to be able to account for the following:

  • five levels of rhythm sound: whole, half, quarter, eghth and sixteenth note 
  • triplet sound "mezzanines" on each level of rhythm
  • five levels of rhythm rest: whole rest, half rest, quarter rest, eighth rest and sixteenth note rest 
  • triplet rest "mezzanines" on each level of rhythm
  • principle of alternation: strong and weak value; strong v weak bar, strong v weak beat, up v down etc

 In addition the system needs to be:
  • consistent 
  • easy to use 
  • easy to learn
  • durable
  • trustworthy
 
At last, there is one system available that meets these rhythm scatting requirements.
 
 
Blues Rhythms Scatting 
 
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