According to wikipedia, scat singing is:

In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all.[2][3] In scat singing, the singer improvises melodies and rhythms using the voice as an instrument rather than a speaking medium.

But does it have a name when you sing doubling the melody of the instrument you are playing while improvising? This is very common in jazz music, related to scat (that's why I mentioned it).

For example ...

This can only be possible in instruments like guitar, piano and bass for obvious reasons.

  • Do you mean the singer is impersonating the sound of an instrument? So singing to sound as much like a muted trumpet as possible, say? Jul 24, 2020 at 12:03
  • @BrianTHOMAS Here's an example of what I mean. It's common in instruments like guitar, piano and bass, not for "mouth" instruments for obvious reasosns. Jul 24, 2020 at 17:44
  • 2
    Side comment, let alone the naming of it: It is extremely useful for improvising to sing along your playing! If a solo is singable, it is most likely a good solo with good lines and phrasing! Too bad it doesn't have a name! Something useful should definately have a name! :-) Jul 28, 2020 at 21:01
  • @AsgeirNesøen Yeah, and I think is good for the ear too. If you can sing it it's because you have the music in your mind and not in your fingers. ☺️ Jul 28, 2020 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


In the case where an instrumentalist doubles their own improvisation with voice, there is not a specific term. Slam Stewart made his name doubling his bass in this way, having gotten the idea from Ray Perry, who did the same in his violin solos (recording not readily available). In general, it's considered something of a novelty.

Some musicians famously vocalize while they play, but not with the intentionality of a Slam Stewart. Standout examples are Glenn Gould and Keith Jarrett. In this video, Glenn Gould is actually singing along (about 5 sec. in), though not with the intention of featuring his voice. And here is a compilation of Keith Jarrett vocalizations.

An article published by radio station KQED characterizes Jarrett's (and Gould's) vocalizations as "involuntary."

Vocalese is the term for adding lyrics to and singing an instrumental melody. The term is sometimes also applied to any vocal realization on an instrumental part.

Wikipedia has a good entry on the term and some history of the practice.

To pick just one particularly well-known example, Eddie Jefferson turned James Moody's improvisation on "I'm in the Mood for Love" (link to Frances Langford's premier of the song) into a vocalese version.

Here is a YouTube link to James Moody's version. (Introduction by Dizzy Gillespie; James Moody begins at 1:45) And here is "Moody's Mood for Love" by Eddie Jefferson.


The answer is no; the style of scat singing in unison along with an instrumental solo, or doubling it at an octave (like George Benson) does not have a specific, concise name (as far as I can tell).

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