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Vocalese, vocalise and scat

Bastien

Manager
Posts: 29978

Bastien @ 2020-10-20 08:19:54 UTC

Vocalese, vocalise and scat are terms that can get pretty confusing. As we use them as tags in the database, we needed to define them more properly. With the help of sebcat , microtherion , walt and Jeff Chamberlain , we have come up with the following:

VOCALESE

  • Vocal work & performance with words
  • Root work is usually (not always) instrumental
  • Lyrics usually (not always) added to previously improvised parts of the song
  • By convention restricted to jazz

Example: So What , where Chris Hall added lyrics to the Miles Davis song of the same title.

Added to the guidelines for work tags.

Currently, no works were tagged "Vocalese" yet.

SCAT

  • Vocal performance with nonsense words.
  • Improvised (possibly also the melody)
  • Example: Ski-bi dibby dib yo da dub dub Yo da dub dub

Currently, 107 performances were tagged as scat, but I expect there are a fair number of vocalise versions in there. Please check your entries artsinspired (2), DashBoardDJ856 (52), Limbabwe (6), mduval32323 (1), microtherion (1), Oldiesmann (6), Oliver One (3), sebcat (3) and walt (2).

NB: The above misattributions are nobody's fault, unfortunately scat used to be clustered with vocalise before.

VOCALISE

  • Vocal performance without words, just one or more vowel sounds.
  • Not improvised, the vocal melody is a part of the work.
  • Example: lalalala lalalalala ooooo oooo lalalala
  • Its work may or may not have lyrics.

Example: Romance , with Nana Mouskouri singing the tune but without words.

Currently, 225 performances are tagged "Vocalise".

Added to the guidelines for performance tags.

FYI, the three definitions were also added in simplified version to the Glossary.

Thread in which the above was discussed.

We can further tweak the guideline if needed, share your thoughts below.

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Clee J

Junior Editor
Posts: 182

Clee J @ 2020-10-20 08:31:53 UTC

Read very closely. And taken into special consideration.


Clee J

Junior Editor

VirileVagabond

Member
Posts: 5276

VirileVagabond @ 2020-10-20 08:44:34 UTC

This remains a bit confusing to me.


VOCALESE: Why isn't this just an adaption? A lyricist adds lyrics to a root instrumental work. I have no objections to an SHS term of art for these, but reads to me as a specific type of adaption.


SCAT: To me, "scat" isn't always nonsense words. These are often random parts of the actual lyrics repeated as a song fades or random but actual words injected by the singer as the song fades. These tend to not be used in covers and likely not part of the sheet music, etc, I suppose these recordings wouldn't be "scat" but vocal performances that include some scat; however, there are recordings with "minimal lyrics" that may have this type of vocals. Your example reads to me as vocalise.


VOCALISE: A term of art for "vocal effects" or are these different things?

DROSSELBOY

Certified Contributor II
Posts: 76

DROSSELBOY @ 2020-10-20 09:07:24 UTC

ok bien compris

Oliver One

Editor
Posts: 265

Oliver One @ 2020-10-20 09:10:30 UTC

Read… but sometimes not easy to choose!

Vocalese tag is only present for work, normal?

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Olivier

CarlDennis

Editor
Posts: 2709

CarlDennis @ 2020-10-20 09:21:00 UTC

Thanks for the explanation: it is clear to me now....................

Canary

Editor
Posts: 6816

Canary @ 2020-10-20 10:17:34 UTC

Rather confusing, but I'll follow the rest of the discussion

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Canary

dudek

Editor
Posts: 452

dudek @ 2020-10-20 12:40:53 UTC

Read.

VirileVagabond

Member
Posts: 5276

VirileVagabond @ 2020-10-20 14:52:26 UTC

Some additional thoughts....


What is the practical difference between "scat" and "vocalise" for SHS purposes? Wouldn't either be treated as an instrumental with perhaps a comment and/or applicable tag? What is the pressing need for separate tags (if they exist)?

mduval32323

Retired Editor
Posts: 965

mduval32323 @ 2020-10-20 15:20:13 UTC

(line breaks added by Bastien)

Well Bastien, I'm really glad you defined this more precisely this is very helpful.

I do want you to clarify this further on VOCALISE. I probably am one of the main ones who has used this Tag.

I clearly have been doing this incorrectly as my understanding was if it was an instrumental tune with say humming (but clearly not actual lyrics) I would set it up as an Instrumental and check the Vocalise tag and note this in the Comments.

It appears to me you are defining Vocalise performances to be set up as vocal performances by definition. Frankly, I'm not sure that I agree with that. I consider a Vocal performance to have lyrics.

There are tons of old time tunes set up on SHS and if some performance has humming in it or say square dance calls (which was the rage for a while 90 years ago) but neither of those are actual lyrics then your treatment would require the tune to be set up with the lyric component checked in the Work set up.

I thought the whole point of the Tag was just for my scenario where one can call it an instrumental but still indicate there was some "vocal" aspect to the performance and then denote it in the Comments box (e.g., Instrumental performance with non-lyrical square dance calls or non-lyrical humming).

If my thinking is out of whack here I'm glad to finally learn this as I've always struggled with how to set up Vocalise performances. So I'd greatly appreciate more guidance from you all here.

The other reason I'm not a fan of this treatment is when I know there is a tune that isn't ever performed with real lyrics but I go ahead and set it up as a lyrical Work anyway because I was required to because someone hummed in their's or did square dance calls then by default when another Editor adds a new performance it will be a vocal performance and the Editor may have no clue what he is even really adding and we often don't have video/audio to confirm one way or another so we will just end up with a bunch of performances likely in the incorrect vocal/instrumental bucket.

As far as scat/vocalese I haven't used those tags yet as I really haven't dealt w/ Jazz much at all. However, I was under the impression vocalese had words added to jazz performances and would qualify as vocal performances, but your guideline is saying set up vocalese as instrumentals and then use the tag. Frankly one of us is incorrect here as that's what I would have said for Vocalise.

And honestly, to me it looks dumb to set something up as Vocal performance and then tag it as Vocalise or whatever. There could be a song with lyrics in it throughout and then a portion where it's just humming or nonsense words and it's just confusing as heck to have it in vocals and also tag it too. I just think these tags are better for differentiating 100% instrumentals vs instrumentals that have some vocal (non-lyrical) component to them and just let vocal performance be shown as is.

Thx Mark

Last edit: 2020-10-23 14:37:50 UTC by Bastien

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Mark

SlimD

Editor
Posts: 1207

SlimD @ 2020-10-20 16:22:30 UTC

Read. I don't really see enough value to these tags to offset the complications they introduce.

artsinspired

Managing Editor
Posts: 967

artsinspired @ 2020-10-20 17:13:17 UTC

Read. I don't really see enough value to these tags to offset the complications they introduce.


I agree. I've read through the definitions several times and am still confused. I doubt they will be used in the same way by enough people to make the tags worthwhile.

sebcat

Managing Editor
Posts: 5877

sebcat @ 2020-10-20 23:34:53 UTC

SCAT

  • Vocal performance with nonsense words.
  • Improvised (possibly also the melody)
  • Example: Ski-bi dibby dib yo da dub dub Yo da dub dub

Currently, 107 performances were tagged as scat, but I expect there are a fair number of vocalise versions in there. Please check your entries artsinspired (2), DashBoardDJ856 (52), Limbabwe (6), mduval32323 (1), microtherion (1), Oldiesmann (6), Oliver One (3), sebcat (3) and walt (2).

NB: The above misattributions are nobody's fault, unfortunately scat used to be clustered with vocalise before.

Two of mine were scat and one vocalise.

camembert electrique

Editor
Posts: 5660

camembert electrique @ 2020-10-21 01:02:18 UTC

Apparently, I never tagged recordings as any of those options, which actually are quite 'hair-splitting' and both confusing (seemingly even to Managing Editors) and disputable...

IMHO, briefly explaining more or less non-verbal vocal contributions to individual recordings in the public comments generally appears more helpful and comprehensable.

So, I surely agree to Murray's to the point comment, which makes a lot of sense.

PS: Mark, please try to comprise and structure your often valuable comments more clearly. I simply had to jump to the last paragraph and in particular would agree to your last sentence. But, again, see Murray's comment...

Oldiesmann

Managing Editor
Posts: 1978

Oldiesmann @ 2020-10-21 02:09:23 UTC

Fixed half of mine. The other three are definitely scat.

Canary

Editor
Posts: 6816

Canary @ 2020-10-21 09:57:08 UTC

Read.

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Canary

dudek

Editor
Posts: 452

dudek @ 2020-10-21 11:16:17 UTC

Read. I don't really see enough value to these tags to offset the complications they introduce.


I agree. I've read through the definitions several times and am still confused. I doubt they will be used in the same way by enough people to make the tags worthwhile.

I agree, too.

Dola

Certified Contributor II
Posts: 12

Dola @ 2020-10-21 12:12:21 UTC

Read. Although I haven't used any of these tags yet, the defintions sound fine to me. Smile