I'm looking for music featuring wordless vocals.
January 11, 2012 5:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for music featuring wordless vocals. I'm not sure if there's a technical musical term for this sort of thing, but Sambalero by Stan Getz and Baie des sables by Claude Léveillée are good examples of what I have in mind. Bonus points for particularly formless sounds ("ooooo" "bah bah bah," etc.), rather than made-up language/nonsense syllables like Prisencolinensinainciusol.
posted by The Card Cheat to Society & Culture (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Scat singing is the term you're looking for.
posted by supercres at 5:03 PM on January 11, 2012

Eliza's Aria - Elena Kats-Chernin
posted by flabdablet at 5:09 PM on January 11, 2012

Best answer: One of my favorite albums is Donald Byrd's A New Perspective - here, try some.
posted by dirtron at 5:16 PM on January 11, 2012

On the more classical side of things, look up vocalises. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Kathleen Battle & Christopher Parkening - Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 (it has a Portuguese part in the middle, but most is wordless vocals)

Vocalise (Rachmaninov) - Natalie Dessay
posted by wondermouse at 5:21 PM on January 11, 2012

This may be a bit too weird/experimental, but I really like the album All Souls by Thomas Bickley and Joseph Zitt.

Then there's the Swingle Singers (lots more to be found on youtube)
posted by moonmilk at 5:25 PM on January 11, 2012

Bobby McFerrin's Beyond Words. Wonderful.
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 6:37 PM on January 11, 2012

I thought this performance by Mederic Collignon is pretty good and unusual scatting.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:06 PM on January 11, 2012

Vocalese is the term you want.
posted by spitbull at 7:19 PM on January 11, 2012

It may well cross the line into the 'nonsense syllables' area, but I've always enjoyed some Adiemus.
posted by SquidLips at 7:20 PM on January 11, 2012

The second side (yes, I can only think of it in terms of "sides") of David Bowie's Low has some great examples, including both formless sounds and nonsense syllables.
posted by scody at 7:30 PM on January 11, 2012

Pretty much any Dead Can Dance with Lisa Gerrard would seem to fit the bill.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 7:31 PM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cocteau Twins do non-lyrical vocals. Here's my favorite example.
posted by yellowcandy at 7:48 PM on January 11, 2012

You might find something you like in this.
posted by cardioid at 8:23 PM on January 11, 2012

Maybe some Esquivel
posted by Locobot at 9:14 PM on January 11, 2012

Here's a very short clip from Koyaanisquatsi with music composed by Phillip Glass. This immediately came to mind plus it's a stunning film both visually and musically.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:07 PM on January 11, 2012

Much of the music for Cirque du Soleil shows is of that nature, so you might find their cast recordings interesting.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:33 AM on January 12, 2012

Vocalese is the term you want.

No, vocalese actually means making up lyrics to what were previously instrumental melodies. More here.

Check out the Novi Singers or the Swingle Singers for the kind of music you're looking for
posted by Clustercuss at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2012

Right, I read the question wrong clustercruss.

"Vocables" is the technical term here. Might I suggest some Georgian polyphony or Native American ceremonial music?
posted by spitbull at 10:08 AM on January 14, 2012

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