Coming from this question link I am looking for the English term for this singers: They might be able to sing in tune, but they sing always too low low pitch - singing only with the breast voice).

In German we call them "Brummer". Brummer is to "brumm" and is quite neutral the phenomenological description of their sounding.

I've once read an article about "bad singer" but I don't think bad singer is differential psychological explaining their problem.

  • If they sing too low, then they're out of tune. Or do you mean a whole octave too low?
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 11:36
  • This can be both the case: They may sing right a whole octave lower and "brumming" but boys often don't manage this and sing just wrong ... Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 12:01
  • 1
    Untrained? .....
    – user50691
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 13:31
  • 1
    K@ggcg: it this would be a good answer, as it looks that they are retarded in development of singing. We could also classify them as beginners in contrast to others that are advanced while people who can’t sing is a label that might imply they can’t learn to sing and will nw er learn it. Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 14:42
  • If I translate my question in German it says: zu leise what means too quietly ... But I mean too low pitch! Now I’m not sure if this is clear? Or should I correct my question? Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 14:48

2 Answers 2


People who simply cannot sing, aim for the octave down & still fail to hit anything properly are generally known as groaners, a term I first heard in about 1967. [possibly related to the same term being applied in recent times to movie zombies]

btw, Google translate really doesn't seem to know what to make of 'brummer' though low down the list is mentions 'droner' which is close to my 'groaner' I overheard my teachers talking about at my first ever choir audition… I am certain they didn't say droner as I've heard the term many times since, but Brits are well-known for pushing the language a bit, especially for amusement value in derogatory terms ;-)


I remember I’ve read in an English singing teaching page: bad singer ...

A question like this implies this could be the answer: If you currently have a bad singing voice (can only sing quite low notes and not high notes) is it possible to increase your vocal range and learn to sing at a performance level?

I think this explanation is as unsatisfying and undifferentiated as people that can't sing

I would prefer not-trained singer or untrained singer.

But I am still waiting for acceptable labels that are not discriminating and insulting people who have that problem but are describing respectfully their need and problem:

In my opinion - (conviction) this has a lot to do of learnt self-concepts, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-identity.

The following quotations are describing in extension what I think about the phenomena:

The human voice is a core component of our identity, both in singing as well as in speech. This is because our vocal utterances intimately reflect our inner physical and psychological health. In singing, our vocal products are closely related to our current phase of musical identity, as well as to the coordination of the voice mechanism. Relative singing mastery and development are nurtured or hindered by experiences in socio-­‐cultural settings, which range from the initial playful explorations of cot-­based infancy to making sense and attempting to recreate elements of the glocal (global/local) sung repertoire, as experienced in the home and outside, either virtually (as mediated by media) or directly through contact with another human. Singing skills usually develop over time, relative to the nature and quality of cumulative experience. This includes how others perceive our singing—which, in turn, relates to their own experience of singing, expectations and singer identity. It is normal for singing competency, in relation to the expectations of the local culture, to develop across childhood into adolescence and adulthood. However, where singing skills are not appropriately nurtured and developed, the outcome can be a lifelong mislabelling of negative musical self-efficacy and self- worth. Critical periods for whether or not singer identity emerges as positive or negative have been noted in childhood and adolescence. The chapter explores singer identity by drawing on empirical data from a wide range of studies of children's, adolescents' and adults' singing development in the UK and elsewhere. The chapter also suggests how appropriate educational interventions can address negative singer identity."

Graham Frederick Welch: Oxford Handbook of Musical Identities Chapter 30 Singer identities and educational environments


I'm going to tell you what labels I have found:

*Other labels have surfaced over time, such as "note deafness", "tune deafness" being "tone dumb", a "monotone," *droner" "growler," "grunter," "poor pitch singer" "uncertain singer" and (for the Japanese) "onchi" or "tone idiot"-a label reportedly evidenced in public performance by some less-than-skilled karaoke singers (cf. Welch, 1979; Welch & Murao, 1994; see Wise, 2015,

(Obviously most of these labels are not terms for the "tone-deafness" of children or adults but they express and demonstrate how thumb and ignorant our society and education is considering the non-ability of singing!)

In this book I have found the quotation of the terms above:




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