From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vocal music is music performed by one or more singers, with or without instrumental accompaniment, in which singing provides the main focus of the piece. Music which employs singing but does not feature it prominently is generally considered instrumental music (e.g. the wordless women's choir in the final movement of Holst's The Planets) as is music without singing. Music without any instrumental accompaniment is referred to as acappella.
Vocal music typically features sung words called lyrics, although there are notable examples of vocal music that are performed using non-linguistic syllables or noises, sometimes as musical onomatopoeia. A short piece of vocal music with lyrics is broadly termed a song.
Vocal music is probably the oldest form of music, since it does not require any instrument besides the human voice. All musical cultures have some form of vocal music.
Forms and genres
- Art song
- Song cycle
- Choral music
- Gregorian Chant
- Contemporary a cappella
- Doo wop
- Pop standards
- Rock song
- Musical theater
- Jazz vocalese
- Folk song
- Sacred Harp
Vocal music without lyrics
- Elaborate traditions of untexted vocal improvisations was and still is an important element in Turkish and Middle Eastern music traditions. Such music existed prior to the 1200s and the First Crusade into Palestine and the city of Jerusalem, possibly even before the year 900.
- The modern descendants of the ancient Kung tribes and clans of Southern Africa utilize similar traditional music techniques.
- A form of improvisation known as thillana is a very important feature of Carnatic music from South India.
- Tuvan throat singing often features wordless and improvised song. The sygyt technique is a particularly good example of this.
- The Sámi yoik is a predominantly wordless form of vocal expression.
- The musical tradition of mouth music (Puirt á beul) was used in various forms of traditional music in the Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic communities.
- Hasidic Jews use a form of voice improvisation called nigunim. This consists of wordless tunes vocalized with sounds such as "Bim-bim-bam" or "Ai-yai-yai!", often accompanied by rhythmic clapping and drumming on the table.
European classical vocal music
Solfege, a vocalized musical scale, assigns various syllables such as Do-Re-Mi to each note. A variety of similar tools are found in traditional Indian music, and scat singing of jazz.
Jazz and popular music
Hip hop music has a very distinct form of vocal percussion known as beatboxing. It involves creating beats, rhythms, and scratching.
Icelandic singer/songwriter Björk album, Medúlla, is composed entirely of processed and acoustic vocal music. It includes beatboxing, choral arrangements and throat singing.
Singer Bobby McFerrin has recorded a number of albums using only his voice and body, sometimes consisting of a texted melody supported by untexted vocalizations.
Extended techniques that involve lyrics
The Second Viennese School, especially Alban Berg and Arnold Schoenberg, pioneered a technique called Sprechstimme in which singers half-talk, half-sing, and only approximate pitches.
- Voice registers
Categories: Music genre stubs | Vocal music | Improvisation | Oral communication