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Port de voix (i)  

Greer Garden

(Fr.: ‘carrying of the voice’)

In Baroque vocal and instrumental music, an appoggiatura, particularly one that resolves upwards by a tone or semitone. Deriving from late 16th-century Italian improvisatory practice – Bovicelli's Regole, passaggi di musica, madrigali et motetti passeggiati (1594/R) contains written-out examples – it became one of the most important graces of French Baroque music. In France it was rarely printed before the late 17th century, but was left to the performer to add extempore. Bacilly explained in his Remarques curieuses sur l'art de bien chanter (1668/R, 4/1681; Eng. trans., 1968) that the accessory note anticipated the beat and took value from the preceding note. Perfection, he continued, lay in its also taking ‘some of the value’ of the note of resolution, as this enabled one to linger on the accessory note.

In his Méthode claire, certaine et facile pour apprendre à chanter la musique (...

Article

Scat singing  

J. Bradford Robinson

A technique of jazz singing in which onomatopoeic or nonsense syllables are sung to improvised melodies. Some writers have traced scat singing back to the practice, common in West African musics, of translating percussion patterns into vocal lines by assigning syllables to characteristic rhythms. However, since this practice allows little scope for melodic improvisation, and since the earliest recorded examples of scat singing involved the free invention of rhythm, melody, and syllables, it is more likely that the technique of scat singing originated in the United States as singers imitated the sounds of jazz instrumentalists.

Scat singing was one of the novelty devices of early New Orleans jazz; it can also be heard in undeveloped form on some early blues, ragtime, and washboard-band recordings. The most celebrated early instances are by Louis Armstrong, whose highly successful recording “Heebie Jeebies” (1926, OK) established his reputation as a jazz singer; his early scat solos rival his trumpet improvisations in virtuosity, range of feeling, and variety of attacks and timbres (see ...