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Scatting
"Repeat after me / It's a scoo-be-doo-bee-doo-bee, scoo-be-doo-bee mel-o-dy"
Scatman John note , "Scatman"

Scatting is vocalization that isn't lyrics. It is, for the most part, improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables, whistling, screaming, or even humming without words at all. It's sometimes used to mimic the sound of other instruments. Scatting gives the singer a chance to improvise his own melody and rhythm, basically creating the vocal equivalent to an instrumental solo. Compare Indecipherable Lyrics and Word Salad Lyrics. Many Lyrical Tics are this.


Examples:

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    Music 
  • This is a major component in jazz music.
  • The earliest scatting on a recording is generally acknowledged to be Louis Armstrong's Heebie Jeebies.
  • Ella Fitzgerald's facility with scatting is legendary.
  • Benjamin "Scatman" Crothers got his nickname for his absolute skill at scatting, which he did in nearly every song he sang.
  • Just about every up-tempo song by Roger Miller is bound to have some of this.
    • His song "Dang Me" may be his best example, as it opens with scatting, and has further scatting all through the rest of it.
  • "Shooby" Taylor made a "career" of scatting in such a hilariously terrible way that it has to be heard to be believed. Here, start believing.
  • Installation from the soundtrack of Coraline.
  • Goldfrapp's songs Voicething, Slippage, Oompa Radar and Felt Mountain- although the last two have lyrics that are basically 'Do do do do do', Slippage has her clearly saying, 'La la la la la la la' and 'Oh, yeah' before screaming.
  • Orbital had several songs like this: "Dŵr Budr", "Out There Somewhere?" (both featuring the aforementioned Alison Goldfrapp), and "Way Out".
  • Ray Barretto's song Acid.
  • "The Great Gig In The Sky" by Pink Floyd.
    • "Pow R Toc H" is mostly instrumental aside from a section of really strange scatting.
    • "A Saucerful of Secrets".
    • "Atom Heart Mother", with the choir scatting lines that sound like choir warm-up exercises.
  • Sigur Rs have a name for their gibberish, Vonlenska (or Hopelandic).
  • The Police songs that do this include "Masoko Tanga", "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" (yes, it's the song name, and it gets a Title Drop in the chorus!), and "A Kind of Loving". Sting likes to interject his popular "Eee-yooooh!" into a lot of songs as well.
  • Jack Black often does this (or as he calls it, the "Ventrila-solo") in his singing.
  • Some songs by Liv Kristine.
  • Disturbed are an interesting case - when lead singer David Draiman is writing lyrics, he listens to the band's completed track until he can imagine a tune to follow, scat-sings until his voice satisfactorily gels to the song, and then applies actual lyrics as late as possible. Basically, every Disturbed song was Scatting at one point.
    • And in some cases, Draiman decided that any lyrics he wrote didn't have quite as much punch as the Scatting, so he left it in. Examples include The Game (Ramidi ma ma ba di ma, ramidi ma ma din do) and This Moment (Bi-ya-ta! Bi-ya-ta!note ).
  • If vocal bridges qualify under this trope, then Korn's "Freak on a Leash" definitely fits in.
    "Boom na da mmm dum na ema / Da boom na da mmm dum na ema / Go!."
    • Seed, BBK, Twist and Ball Tongue are a few examples.
  • Talking Heads' "I Zimbra", which is based on a dada poem full of nonsense words by Hugo Ball.
    • Otherwise, lead singer David Byrne used the same method as Disturbed, singing nonsense over the band's instrumentals and then coming up with lyrics to fit. The title of Speaking In Tongues is a reference to this.
  • Ponytail do these kinds of songs exclusively: their vocals generally consist of "ooh", "whooo!", nonsense syllables and screaming - although "Sky Drool" starts with a very clear "mmm baby, mmm mmm".
  • Lamb Of God's "Black Label". Even with the lyrics handy, you can hardly make out what Randy Blythe is singing there.
  • Focus' song "Hocus Pocus" has a Dutch man yodeling as the only lyrics. And it's awesome.
  • It picked up real words by the time it appeared on an album, but the lyrics to Weezer's "Burndt Jamb", as heard in demos and live performances, were originally just long stretches of "do" and "ah". The Maladroit version did still retain some scatting in the backing vocals ("doot do doo doo").
  • Projects related to musician Mike Patton almost always feature at least a little bit of this. As the title might suggest, Mr Bungle's "Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz". "Chemical Marriage" off of the same album is just scat singing. At one point in time you could have sent two dollars to a P.O. box listed in the Disco Volante liner notes to get some stickers and the "lyrics" to "Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz" and "Chemical Marriage."
    • Another Mike Patton project, Fantomas, plays this straight. Their self-titled debut features Patton singing on every track without ever uttering a single word. Suspended Animation, which came after, has him using his voice to emulate sound effects from The Golden Age of Animation.
    • Patton also released two solo albums, one of which is just him making sounds into a tape recorder with his voice in various hotel rooms. The second one is a series of songs based off of bizarre recipes from an Italian Futurist cookbook.
    • Yet another Patton project with saxophonist John Zorn has him blabbering nonsense in the vein of Crowleyist high-magic.
  • Animal Collective is made of this trope. Most of their songs have got actual lyrics, but they love to include all sort of non-word shouting, singing, speaking in their songs. Particularly noticeable on Sung Tongs, or any live performance.
  • Jean Michel Jarre's song 'Zoolookologie'.
    • The whole "Zoolook" album, for that matter, what with all those voice samples.
  • Robert Maxwell's "Solfeggio", best known as the song Ernie Kovacs used in his Nairobi Trio sketch, has "lyrics" consisting of the scale notes of the melody ("mi sol la, re fa re sol...").
  • David Crosby's "Tamalpais High (At About 3)".
  • Bob Dylan's "Wigwam", with Dylan mostly singing variations on "la da da dee." It was actually a minor hit in 1970.
  • Most Dead Can Dance songs are like this. As are most songs by Lisa Gerrard since going solo.
    • And "One Perfect Sunrise" by Orbital, which features her.
  • The instrumental version of CAKE's Arco Arena. No real lyrics, just John McCrea occasionally muttering something or interjecting with his usual Lyrical Tics ("Yah!").
  • The Beatles instrumental "Flying" with no words aside from chanting "Lah, la-la, la-laaa" near the end.
    • "Girl" has a rather amusing background harmonic vocal accompaniment of 'tit tit tit tit' appear before the chorus.
    • "Hey Jude" has about four minutes of "nana na na".
    • In Abbey Road, 'Sun King' segues into 'Mean Mr. Mustard' with a lovely triplet of harmonically sung lines in some kind of mock-Italian.
    • John Lennon's solo hit "#9 Dream" has a chorus with the phrase "Ah! bwakawa pouss, pouss" repeated over and over.
  • Brazilian singer Vanessa da Mata actually named a song "Ai, Ai, Ai" after the inane singing on it.
  • Fleet Foxes' "Heard Them Stirring", which has nothing but harmonized "whoa-oh"'s for vocals.
  • "Mah Na Mah Na".
    • Doo doo, doo-doo-doo!
  • Chacarron Macarron, also known as the "Ualuealuealeuale" song, is a dance-esque song that's comprised entirely of...something. The singer originally composed the song using the David Draiman method mentioned above — he intended to write actual lyrics, but decided at some point that the mumbling sounded too funny to drop.
  • The song "Davnesaur," by To Slay Zombie Newton, contains a few genuine lyrics, but mostly it's nonsense that the band members claim is an ancient Scandinavian language... but were actually written by a random syllable generator on a graphing calculator.
  • The band Relient K has a song titled "Gibberish" that is comprised of mostly gibberish, outside of the chorus, which tells you to "Stop talking gibberish or just stop talking."
  • Adriano Celentano's "Prisencolinensinainciusol", gibberish specifically written to sound like English.
  • The much-covered song "Land Of A Thousand Dances" consists of pretty much nothing but "na na na na na na". Dave Barry once commented on how easy it was to make song lyrics by quoting the chorus in its entirety.
  • Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" starts with "doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo... dee dee dee dee de dee" (with some more "doos" and "dees" in there).
    • From the same duo, The Boxer's choruses go "Lie la-lie, lie la-lie lie lie la-lie..."
  • The plurality of Roxette's "The Look": "Na." I.e, "Na na na na na, na na na na na, na na na na na na na, na na na na na, na na na na na na na na, she's got the look."
  • Robbie Williams' (formerly of Take That fame) song "Road To Mandalay" has a refrain consisting of him going "dah duh duh dum, da, duh, dum dum" a few times.
  • Eiffel 65 has the song "Blue (Da Ba Dee)". The lyrics are Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Pendulous Skin by Mastodon has this. The vocals are so unclear that the band actually describes the song as an instrumental.
  • Nadia Oh has a song called "Hot Like Wow". The final minute is nothing but chorus and la la la la.
  • ''Rah rah ah-ah-ah / Ro mah ro-mah-mah / Gaga Ooh-la-la!''
  • The bridge of Metallica's "The Memory Remains" is Marianne Faithful singing nonsense syllables in a very creepy tone of voice.
  • The Ting Tings, "Impacilla Carpisung" is the closest to actual Scatting ever heard.
  • Cab Calloway was famous for this. He admitted that he first began singing 'scat' it was because he'd forgotten the words to a song, but after it went over well with his audience he began to purposely write it into his songs.
  • Ska-swing band Cherry Poppin' Daddies has some scatting in the song "Zoot Suit Riot" right before the coda (basically during the bridge).
  • The Gorillaz song "Rockit" consists mostly of "blah blah blah".
  • Frou Frou really liked this trope.
  • So does Akara.
  • Insects vs. Robots, Sacred Moose.
  • Karl Jenkins' Adiemus is several albums full of this trope - while the words sound like they're in some exotic foreign language, they're just nonsense syllables arranged into a pleasing order.
    • Bonus points for the Scat being constructed for appropriate influences. All albums have a certain 'world' component, but the first has quite a Latin feel to mirror the more classical nature of the music. The second plays around with scales: do lah mi so fah etc, because it's an album playing with structure. The fourth is influenced by Celtic sounds (especially from Jenkin's native Wales) and has a lot that sounds rather like Welsh.
  • In Five Iron Frenzy's early years, they would test their songs at live shows before the lyrics were finished, and Reese would just sing gibberish for the unwritten parts. Only one of these performances was ever recorded and released, but this particular performance (the version of "Fistful of Sand" on the b-side album Cheeses of Nazareth) was so embarrassing that they never did it again.
  • Cocteau Twins.
  • Morrissey of The Smiths likes this trope.
  • Many of Blue Amazon's early works, eg "Never Forget" "The Javelin", and "Four Seasons", the last of which sounds like Gaelic chanting.
  • The refrain of O-Zone's "Dragostea Din Tei": "Maya hi, maya hu, maya ho, maya ha ha". Often mistaken for the title, as is "Numa Numa".
  • Very nearly the complete works of Meredith Monk except for Do You Be. The only actual lyrics in Monk's brilliant "Book of Days" are a humming "these things, these things, these things" and a rhythmic, rising-and-falling "come and go and go and come and come and go and go and come". I am ready to swear there is an entire stanza of "hop bdlyena hop bdlyena hop bdlyena hop pah, hop bdlyena hop bdlyena hop bdlyena hop pah ... "
  • "Give It Up" by KC and the Sunshine Band. "Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na, baby, give it up..."
  • R.E.M.'s "Endgame" is mostly instrumental, aside from some wordless harmonizing and Michael Stipe singing variants on "ba ba ba" a few times.
  • "Rubber Biscuit" by the Chips. If you don't know it, you might be more familiar with the Blues Brothers versions. The original does have lyrics of sorts, though...
  • "Centerfold" by the J. Geils Band has a Scatting part right after the second chorus and one near the end.
  • "Godspeed" by BT, featuring Jan Johnston. "If, if, if, nyow nyow aah", and "uh hoooo, you you you". The vocables appear to be snippets from their earlier collaboration "Remember".
  • Nightcrawlers - Push The Feeling On (Dub of Doom and its re-remixes): "Er/Their lives again/Er/Their li/To pull us/Er"(Looped Lyrics). The rarely-heard original had full lyrics, which were chopped up into vocables in the remixes.
  • Woven Hand's "Slota Prow" has David Eugene Edwards speaking in tongues, set to music.
  • The refrain of Opus III's "It's a Fine Day": "Nanananana nee na nee nah". This part was Sampled Up ( backmasked) by Orbital in "Halcyon".
  • Rise Against actually performed a Simlish version of Savior (youtube link) written for a Sims 3 advertising campaign. It is remarkably similar to the actual version ("it kills me not to know this" becomes "ta kil me naka no dis", for example), suggesting that either Simlish is closer to English than thought or that Rise Against is unimaginative.
    • There are other Scatting song versions too, including Katy Perry's "Hot n Cold." Quite a number of the lyrics are also remarkably similar to the original.
  • "Hubba Hubba Zoot Zoot" by Caramba.
  • Much of Supertramp's material, especially with Roger Hodgson on vocals.
  • Soul Coughing songs contain a little bit of scatting on occasion in general, but the most Scat-heavy song is "Paint", which ended up that way as sort of a Throw It In moment: Mike Doughty had written chorus lyrics, but not any verses, so he just started spouting rhythmic nonsense over the verse section, then decided it sounded cooler that way.
    • Doughty's live album Smofe + Smang features an early version of "Grey Ghost" where he admits he didn't write any lyrics for the bridge yet, so he has to sing "fake words". The title of the album actually comes from part of that very same scat bridge.
  • Haru Mamburu by the Russian band Nogu Svelo! has "lyrics" made of vaguely English-like gibberish.
  • Bla Bla Bla by Gigi D'Agostino (Exactly What It Says on the Tin), and the refrain of Elisir(Your Love).
  • Nirvana's "Tourette's" has no lyrics, just lots of screaming that sounds vauguely like it might be lyrics. Of course, given that some people think all Nirvana lyrics sound like "garbled, vaguely word-like gibberish", many are convinced that is also true of this song, and that there are real lyrics there if you listen hard enough. There aren't. It's just gibberish.
    • To make it worse, Kurt Cobain had habits of decending into this anyway. If you listen to a lot of the unreleased stuff on the "With The Lights Out" box set you'll know what I mean.
  • "Witch Doctor": "Ooh ee, ooh ah ah, ting, tang, walla walla bing bang..."
  • Death Metal vocals are rarely if ever this. More likely Indecipherable Lyrics.
  • Cows' version of the Midnight Cowboy title theme substitutes the string part of the original with vocalist Shannon Selberg singing "ooh".
  • A good part of the lyrics of Queen's Under Pressure.
  • The refrains of many Eurodance and Bubble Gum Dance songs used this, such as "oh la oh la eh"(La Bouche's "Sweet Dreams"), "iai iai iai"(Smile.dk's "Butterfly"), "na na na na way-oh"(Alice Deejay's "Will I Ever"), "li da di da di da di"(Amber's "Sexual"), etc.
  • Hush by Deep Purple, what with its unforgettable "Na nana na na nana na" opening the song.
    • The last twenty or so seconds of "Bloodsucker", where Ian Gillan starts screaming incomprehensibly.
  • Pretty much the basis of the chorus from "Goodbye": "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye."
  • My Chemical Romance has a new song called "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)". Guess how the chorus goes.
    • There's also a version literally in Simlish.
    • From the same album is "Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back" which also has parts of the chorus that come with five na's.
  • Hanson song "Mmmbop".
  • John Zorn's famous Jazz deconstruction band Naked City featured Yamatsuka Eye of The Boredoms and Mike Patton (see above) doing everything except singing: screaming, crying, babbling, gurgling, screeching, howling, gargling, barking, snarling, croaking, growling and generally sounding like men possessed by demons.
  • Aretha Franklin is well-known for scatting in pretty much all her songs. Especially since the 80's. Even on a cover of "Jumpin' Jack Flash".
  • Yes could really make this work when they used it, e.g. on "Leave It" from 90125.
    • Trevor Rabin's 90124, a collection of old demo versions of songs he'd later record with Yes, included an excerpt of an acoustic version of "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" recorded before he'd really written any verse lyrics. Needless to say, it's sort of amusing to hear the first few lines rendered as "move yourself, ya da da da da da, ya da dada da da dada".
  • King Crimson weren't immune. "Easy Money" featured the repeated line "Ooooo da di dow dow, da diddy dow, da dow dow- da do doooo -"
  • The Rhinemaidens from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle engage in this frequently. Weia! Waga! Wagala weia! Also, anyone listening to "Ride of the Valkyries" in its original context for the first time may be surprised to hear that the Valkyries are singing "Hojotoho! Hojotoho! Heiaha! Heiaha! Hojotoho! Heiaha!" over the music. This is usually left off when the piece is played by itself.
  • "Played" by Mindless Self Indulgence features a part sung/shouted in gibberish.
  • "I'm the One" by Van Halen features this phrase towards the end: "Bop-ba-da, shooby-doo-wah, bop-ba-da, shooby-dooby-shooby-doo-wah."
  • "Ooby Dooby" by Roy Orbison has the chorus "Ooby dooby, ooh, ooby dooby, ooby dooby, ooby dooby, ooby dooby, ooby dooby, doo wah doo wah doo wah doo wah."
  • "I Like to Sing" by Teresa Jennings has the lyrics "I like to scat like minnie mop mop moop moop me/I like to scat like oo-wee mummy mummy/I like to scat like that dat dab-a dab-a dat dat dat..."
  • Vocaloid producer Hachi is very fond of this; "la lu la" with variations can be found in many of his songs. Matryoshka has "chu-chu-chu-chu, la lu la, pa-i-ya-i-ya-aa-ah i-ya-pa-pa" and Panda Hero has "pa-pa-pa-ra pa-pa-pa-ra-pa," to name a few.
  • "Bawitdaba" by Kid Rock, unsurprisingly. This last the entire chorus and is the song's hook.
  • Loreena McKennitt's Tango to Evora is like this, essentially "lalalala" repeated over and over.
  • French parody band The Bratisla Boys composed an entire album with gibberish and meaningless words. Their first single, "Stach Stach", is the 30th best selling single in French history.
  • Most vocals in spacesynth are vocodered scat-singing, although a few songs like Laserdance's "Digital Dream" have real, albeit hard to decipher, lyrics.
  • "13.1.14.4.18.1.7.15.18.1.1110" by iamamiwhoami is nicknamed "papachoo" for its meaningless lyrics.
  • Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hotrod"; five minutes of Motor Mouth Scatting ("ding-a-ding-dang my dang-along-ling-long"?) to an equally energized background.
  • The Crystalline Effect's "Where The World Ends".
  • Prince Buster does some semi-scatting in the song "Al Capone", by making "Chk-a-tk" noises to mimic a snare drum, along with "Hik" noises towards the end of the song. This scatting had an effect on later Ska songs.
  • Ah Oh, a song by the israely band Gazoz, is about the band trying to write a song, but only comeing up with a tune, but no words. the chorus is basically the band Scatting the tune
    • Similarly, Kaveret, un older and more well-know israely band (that share some band members) have Lu Lu, another song with a Scatted chorus.
      • Kaveret also got שיר המחירון (The Price List Song). Na Na Na Na Na...
    • an even better exmaple will be Doda's (that had most of the same members as Gazoz, but a Different style) שקט שקט הגרסה הפחות משודרת (Quite Quite - The Less Aired Version) , is basically "Quite Quite" , but shorter and all the lines beside the first and the last are Scatting
      • they also have ריקוד הגשם (Rain Dance), which is pure Scatting
  • נוף אחר (A Different View) by the israely artist Yoni Bloh might be a love duet, but all of the woman's lyrics is "A-ah-a"
    • another song of his, תפוזים (Oranges), is mostly the same- but the woman get more variety of sounds (she starts with Oh whoa Whoa, and ends with Badi-ba-da)
  • a very unknown song by the israely singer Danny Sanderson הגיע ממטולה (Came From Metoola)got a lot of this. but it's not like the parts with REAL WORDS make any sense
    • Danny Sanderson is also the voice of your conscience. Wo oh oh oh oh!
    • and there's also Ole Le-La, another song whose chorus is mostly nonsense sounds
  • Mashina's רכבת לילה לקהיר (Night Train to Cairo) also has a chorus of Oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh oh...
  • Aerosmith: even when Steven Tyler isn't actually trying to sing the drum parts (Heart's Done Time, Livin' on the Edge) he's quite happy to go off the end of the lyric sheet (Rag Doll, Livin' on the Edge, many others).
  • I am very glad, because I'm finally returning back home (Trololo) by Eduard Khil, was performed with Scatting in place of the original lyrics, ostensibly for artistic reasons. Since then it's been embraced as the official Troll song of the Internet. Go figure.
  • The fadeout of "What Can't Be Seen" by Everything Else features the melody scatted at a faster tempo.
  • Many songs by Imogen Heap.
  • Jaga Jazzist: "Swedenborgske Rom" has an a cappella lyricless interlude. And "All I Know Is Tonight" has lyricless singing in unison with the main horn riff.
  • Scott Walker starts doing this over the fade out of "The Old Man's Back Again (Dedicated To The Neo-Stalnist Regime)".
  • Towards the end of The Doors' "Cars Hiss By My Window", Jim Morrison takes a wordless vocal solo where he imitates a harmonica: "whoooh, wha-wha-whaoo-ooh...".
    • "My Wild Love" is entirely acapella (with stomping and hand-claps as the only non-vocal accompaniment), so naturally there's a lot of this.
  • Jason Mraz does quite a bit of this, especially in his live performances. It features at least once in the majority of his songs.
  • Led Zeppelin does this in "D'yer Mak'er" and "The Ocean".
  • "Zeitgeist" by Solarstone uses this, along with One-Woman Wail. Same for "Ultraviolet" and "The Last Defeat"(both versions).
  • Bon Jovi's "Born to Be My Baby" has a "na na na" chorus at the beginning and end of the song.
  • The chorus to Otis Redding's "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa", surprisingly, goes
    Fa fa fa fa fa
    Fa fa fa fa
    Fa fa fa fa fa
    Fa fa fa
  • P.D.Q Bach's madrigal "My bonnie lass she smelleth" ends with a long scat cadenza.
  • Simple Minds' have done this occasionally. Most famously during the coda of Don't You (Forget About Me)
    "I say la, lalalala, lalalala, la la la la la la lalala la!"
    • Stands out as one of the only parts of the song they actually wrote (aside from the intro.) Singer Jim Kerr has expressed that this part is "very meaningful"
  • Devastatin' Dave the Turntable Slave does some scatting in his anti-drug song "Zip Zap Rap".
  • Pretty much all of the vocalizations on Damo Suzuki-era Can albums are wordless.
  • "Into the Ether" by The Crxshadows solely has ominous gibberish chanting for vocals.
  • Too many novelty songs to count, from "Three Little Fishies" to "Chickery Chick" to "The Hut Sut Song."
  • The Rolling Stones had a couple:
    • "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)", which had those six "doos" in the song along with the lyrics about street life and the police in The Big Rotten Apple.
    • And "Miss You" had it's "woo-oo WOO-oo woo-oo-oo" line between the verses.
  • Ylvis: "What does the fox say? Ring-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding gering! Hatty-hatty-hatty-ho! Jacha-chacha-chacha-chow!", etc.
  • Phil Collins redid "Trashin' The Camp" for Tarzan's soundtrack and employed *NSYNC to help him pad it out.
  • Van Morrison often employs this, most notably on the intro to "Jackie Wilson Said".
  • THePETEBOX, in addition to his usual beatboxing, occasionally ventures into scat. Seen most prominently in the song V.O.D.K.A.
  • Country music singer Steve Wariner incorporated scat signing in a guitar solo bridge of his 1989 No. 1 hit "I Got Dreams," later reported as the first chart-topper at least in that genre to have scat singing..
  • Scatting actually became a minor religious controversy in Churches of Christ during the late 80s and early 90s, because of "a capella vocal bands", which exist somewhere between old-style gospel music and Christian Rock. For complex historical reasons, Churches of Christ generally don't permit the use of musical instruments in religious music, which made it difficult to perform popular religious music. To compensate, vocal bands began scatting, in particular to imitate the sound of certain instruments, whereupon conservative elements began to argue that proper religious music should contain only meaningful words, and bands engaging in scatting were heteroprax.

    Anime 
  • In Macross Plus, Some of Sharon Apple's songs are in a made-up "language" of nonsense words chosen only for their sound and the emotional tone they conveyed.
  • May's lullaby in Pokmon: Jirachi Wishmaker is just singing, "Doo-doo-doo". And gaining a Japanese accent in the process.
  • Many had wondered what were the lyrics behind Hellsing opening theme World Without Logos. When the official soundtrack included nonsensical lyrics where half of the words weren't actually English, people started realizing something.
    • It was, however, obvious from the outset that "Shubidubidu, shubidubidu, shubidubidu turu" was supposed to be scat singing.
  • The refrain of "Cha La Head Cha La" from Dragon Ball Z.
  • "Komm, Ssser Tod", being inspired by "Hey Jude", has the backing chorus chanting "Ah-ah-ah-ahaaaa."
    • Some other tracks on the End of Evangelion soundtrack feature indistinct "aaaah" sounds as well.
    • Are we forgetting the background choir in the theme song, Zankoku na Tenshi no Teize, itself? First of all, they go "aaaah" in the intro, and then, during the chorus, you're tone deaf if that "Ahhh-ahhh-ahhh-ahhhh, haa-haa-haa-ah, haa-haa-haa-ah, ahhh-ahhh-ahh-ahhh-ahhhh" doesn't get stuck in your head for weeks.
  • A track from one of the Bleach soundtracks has lyrics composed solely of some particularly weird vocalizations.
  • Scatting is omnipresent in the soundtrack for .hack//Legend of the Twilight.
  • "Rose and Release" from Revolutionary Girl Utena is a version of the Opening sung entirely in "la-s".
  • "Dogs and Angels" from Wolf's Rain.

    Fanfiction 
  • The Smurflings in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story adaptation "The New Smurfs On The Block" do this with an anachronistic parody of a Hanson song: "Smurfbop, smurf a bop, I smurf a bop, smurfy smurfy do wop, smurfbop, smurf a bop, I smurf...yeah, yeah".

    Film 
  • Played with in The Simpsons Movie: as Green Day perform the Simpsons theme, the 'lyrics' are shown on their prompter as a scrolling wall of "Da Da Da Da Da Da..."
  • Some of the Coraline songs fit. Try Exploration and the end credits song.
  • Charlie Chaplin's one and only speaking role as The Tramp in Modern Times features him singing a gibberish song that sounds vaguely French/Italian. Chaplin didn't want the character to be limited by language barriers.
  • Most of the musical score of Winged Migration is Scat... sometimes it's even hard to distinguish from percussions. The trailer.
    • The composer, Bruno Coulais, also did the Coraline soundtrack.
  • "Humuhumunukunukuapua'a" from High School Musical 2 has the Hawaiian gibberish lines "maka hiki mala hini hu" and "waka waka waka niki pu pu".
  • The March of the Winkies from The Wizard of Oz: "Oh eeh uh, yo ah", and repeat.
  • Tarzan has a sequence where Terk and the other animals singing in gibberish as they obliviously break everything in the camp as the noise of things breaking make up the music.

    Literature 
  • The Ankh-Morpork national anthem, We Can Rule You Wholesale, has a second verse composed almost entirely of gibberish. It was written that way because the writer figured people would sing it that way anyway. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performed it.
  • Dada poet Kurt Schwitters wrote a fairly long poem called Eine Sonata mit Urlauten ("a sonata with primitive words") that goes on for quite some time like this. The lyric sheet is pretty amazing, being made mostly of consonants. NNZKT RNS KRMU!

    Live Action TV 
  • Many of the musical cues in Hannah Montana are of Miley scat-singing whoa-ohs and yeah-yeahs for a line or two.
  • The theme for Farscape has an alien version of this trope.
  • In The Mighty Boosh, music snob Howard mocks Vince for being confused and unsettled by the formless flow of jazz. He starts scatting, which causes Vince to panic and punch him.
  • For what was believed to be one week only, the Theme Tune to the game show All Star Blitz had some scatting mixed in. The results were surreal.
  • HGTV's Divine Design has a noticeable scat solo over light jazz as its theme song.
    "Whee-dow, ba-bop-bop-bah-bwee..."
  • The Clarissa Explains It All theme song. "Na na na-na-na na...na na na na na-na! Hey cool!"
  • Vic and Bob use it in the theme tune for The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. Vic also uses it when "singing a song in the club style" in Shooting Stars.
  • Various Ultra Series, Mirrorman, and Fireman all feature a variation of the scat chant "Wandabadadbada, Wandabadadabada" featured for the Science patrol teams.
  • A scene in Jeeves and Wooster had Bertie wondering aloud about the lyrics to Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher".
    "All this 'ho dee ho dee ho' stuff is pretty clear, but what do you suppose is a hoochie coocher?"
  • Impractical Jokers: Joe does this as an apparent attempt to distract diners that he's stealing food from their plates. It doesn't work.
  • Andy does this in a band practice on The Office (US). He's got the "words" written on a piece of paper, and at the end of the song apologises because "I think I sung a bebop instead of a doowop in there somewhere."

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Sam and Friends sketch "Visual Thinking" shows what happens when you combine scatting with Painting the Medium. It's not pretty.
  • The opening theme to Fraggle Rock starts with Gobo (Jerry Nelson) and Wembley (Steve Whitmire) scatting, before the other Fraggles join in for the words.
  • There's a scene in The Muppet Christmas Carol in which Kermit/Bob Cratchett (Steve Whitmire) and Robin/Tiny Tim (Jerry Nelson) scat "One More Sleep To Christmas".

    Theater 
  • Most Cirque du Soleil songs use "Cirquish" nonsense vocals. Such as "Elma om mi lize, elma om mi lize away, baby o ma ley, m baby o ma ley", from Amaluna. Only on rare occasions do they perform a song in English or a real foreign language.
  • In the misleadingly cheerful opening number of Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, members of the Greek Chorus sing scat phrases like "skid a lit day" and "ratty boo, sofa so far so."
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Judge Turpin hums "Ladies In Their Sensitivities" while waiting to be shaved by Sweeney Todd.
  • The intro and outtro of "Setting Your Sights" from Vanities: A New Musical, as well as the ending of "Looking Good", use "do do da da da" singing.
  • "Alleluia" from Leonard Bernstein's Mass is mostly scat syllables sung in canon.
  • "Da Doo" from Little Shop of Horrors.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof, "If I Were A Rich Man" represents some sort of Yiddish version of this trope.
  • From time to time in Sunday In The Park With George, Georges hums "Bum-bum-bum, bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum..."
    • The above is parodied lovingly in Jonathan Larson's tick, tick... BOOM! when he sings about working in a diner on an ordinary Sunday, and seeing all the "Bums, bums, bums, bums bums bums..."
  • "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Porgy and Bess has a refrain which combines scatting with call-and-response.
  • The chorus of "Good Morning Starshine" from Hair is practically nothing but nonsense syllables.
  • "Keep-A-Hoppin'" from The Unsinkable Molly Brown uses the 19th century music-hall version:
    Keemo kimo derro art
    Me-hi, me-low, humdrum pennywinkle
    Tit tat, pitty pat, pussy cat,
    Hey kitty, can't you ki-me-oh
  • While Bye Bye Birdie doesn't have this in any of its actual songs, Rosie jokes that she knew Albert was giving up on being an English teacher when he wrote a hit song for Conrad Birdie titled "Ugga Bugga Boo."

    Video Games 
  • The Grox Empire's anthem in Spore.
  • Much of the music in the Metroid Prime games features wordless chanting as a backing track. No words, just "Oooo-oooo-oooo-OOOOOO-ooo..."
  • Loco Roco used this for all its music in order to have a universally accepted soundtrack that wouldn't need translating. The nonsense sung by the Rocos sounds uncannily like real language due to the way it's structured, but it's just cute-sounding gibberish.
  • The sound "Giant Egg" from Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is mostly composed of children going "La la la la la la la lalala..." They do spell "G-I-A-N-T E-G-G" at one point, but that's it.
  • A number of the playable songs in Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times feature random vocals. "Cerulean" has a guy yelling "Yeaaah, behbeh!" at several points, and "Corusican Betrayal" has a wordless soprano wail in it, for example.
  • Beyond Good & Evil has several BGM songs in Simlish to help create the impression of an alien world (and one in Spanish).
  • Venus's song in EarthBound.
  • The background music to the "Secret of..." levels in Super Mario Sunshine is "Do-do-do" sung to the tune of the classic Mario theme.
    • The choir added into the Bowser battle themes from both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 whenever Bowser takes damage.
    • The secret level theme of Battleblock Theater features gratuitous scatting by William Stamper.
  • The original Aria di Mezzo Carattere from Final Fantasy VI.
    • Technically it has lyrics - it is part of an opera, after all - but the SNES couldn't really handle extended voice recordings, so they're displayed as subtitles while the MIDI voice synth goes "ooo-OOOOO-ooo-OOOO".
  • In Animal Crossing, K.K. Slider's singing consists of "we" "oh" and other such sounds. His voice is even an instrument in Wii Music.
  • The Grand Fonic Hymn from Tales of the Abyss, made up of seven short verses, uses single-syllable words that don't come from any particular language, used to explain why only the first verse works like a magic spell. Each verse apparently has a "deeper meaning" that must be learned before its magic can manifest.
  • As The Sims characters speak Simlish, the songs heard on the radio are also sung in gibberish, in all three installments and their respective expansions. The Sims: Unleashed hired a real band (Zydeco Flames) to perform their songs in Simlish, and The Sims 2: University started the now-famous series tradition of getting a whole selection of artists to re-record their songs in Simlish for each expansion.
  • On Katamari Damacy's pre-game tutorial level, there's a version of the theme song that just has the "na na na na na na na" for vocals, on top of the backing beat from the NES version of Lode Runner.
  • Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil has a snowboarding level with a very catchy song. Sung by Klonoa. In Phantomilian. Check out the lyrics.
  • Awakening The Chaos, v-13's theme from BlazBlue, has lots of Ominous Wordless Chanting.
  • Yoshi's Story has the eponymous dinosaurs singing in an incomprehensible chatter that would become the establishing voice of Yoshi forever on.
  • Many songs in the Dawn of War II soundtrack feature a choir singing made-up lyrics. Some (Angels of Death, Khaine's Wrath, For The Craftworld) are presumably supposed to represent the fictional languages of the 40K universe, while in others (The Green Horde Rises, The Great Devourer) it's most likely just for effect.
  • Rouge's levels in Sonic Adventure 2 all have this. Her theme is about half Scat, half English.
    • Sonic Mega Collection Plus includes a video with an early version of the Sonic Heroes theme. The words "Sonic Heroes" are in place, but everything else is nonsense.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask use this for the singing of Malon and Lulu, respectively. Use of this trope goes back to The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, where Marin (of whom Malon is an Expy) sings "The Ballad of the Windfish".
  • Final Fantasy X has a really cool version of this. The Hymn of the Fayth sounds like Japanese, but it's actually nonsense syllables. However, when you rearrange the syllables into a square, and read them from top to bottom, it actually does spell out words in Japanese. They roughly translate into "Praise be to Yevon".
  • Much of the music in Black & White and its sequel has wordless singing or chanting.
  • In some entries in the My Sims series, some songs have Simlish vocals. There's a lovely example in My Sims Kingdom, which plays on The Royal Academy island. Also, in My Sims, a Sim can activate a karaoke machine, and sing the song in his or her particular voice.
  • The soundtrack to Grandia II has a piece called "DangerousZone" that features a woman who sounds like she's trying to blow her voice out. There are no lyrics; this would be a true One-Woman Wail, except that it's not sad at all. Given that this track is only played in dangerous areas, it works.
  • The song "Rainy Rose" and its remix "Poison Queen" from the God Hand soundtrack (Shannon/Demon Shannon's boss themes, respectively) are entirely sung in "nya"/"nyo" sounds.
  • In Machinarium, the song "Clockwise Operetta" has a part where a robot sings glibberish.
  • How come Halo is not mentioned anywhere? From the moment you hit the main menu in Halo/Halo:CE you are treated to wordless chanting.
    • In some parts of the second game you can find holograms of the Prophets chanting the series theme in alien gibberish.
  • Xenosaga episodes 2 and 3 had plenty of songs with nonsense words. It's a preferred style of Yuki Kajiura, a composer for both games.
  • The track "Knight of Fire" in Xenogears sparked countless debates among fans as to what a voice was saying in a certain portion of the song. After years of speculation, somebody simply messaged Yasunori Mitsuda via Twitter, and he replied that the words were "coined" for the song.
  • Wasn't the entire point of The Urbz to build a game around The Black Eyed Peas Scatting?
  • Much of the soundtrack of The Neverhood consists of this. To quote the liner notes of the official soundtrack: "Note to the listener: Should you choose to sing along to any of the following songs, we wish you luck. You're gonna need it!"
  • A few Dance Dance Revolution songs break into this. "Golden Sky" earns bonus points for the lyrics devolving into "la de da" at two separate points in the chorus.
  • In Warcraft 3, some parts of the Frozen Throne Human and Night Elf songs do this.
  • Most of the music in NieR is sung in a made up language, stated to be a "possible future evolution of our current languages" by the composer. There's several versions of the ending theme depending on the ending and at least 1 of them is in English though.
  • Eve's Asylum Int Music from LittleBigPlanet 2
  • Team Fortress 2: One of Heavy's quotes as he destroys a building is him singing the Sabre Dance melody with the lyrics "Ya ta ta ta!"...
  • Hideki Naganuma's sampling tends to turn vocals into this. A good example is "Ethno Circus".
  • Fuka's theme in Disgaea 4 is a remixed version of a previous song ("You Go, Girl!") With Lyrics... well, sort of. More accurately, it has a lyric ("la") repeated about six hundred times or so.
  • Several songs from Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow, which was soundtracked by Azam Ali, have this type of vox.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in Homestar Runner, where Strong Bad specifically names "Songs that try to pass off na-nas, hey-heys and doot-doos as legit lyrics" as part of his Bottom Ten. As an example, he plays a track from the fictional Limozeen album "Feed the Childrens", which meets this description to the letter.
    • Ironically, Strong Bad later sings a song that includes na-nas.
  • The Leekspin video is set to a 20-second loop of Finnish scat singing from the bridge of Loituma's cover version of "Ievan Polkka". (The song lyrics available on the internet obviously don't include the random gibberish, leading to confusion among Internet denizens trying to find the part that the girl is singing.)
  • Napster Bad, in the "Sue All The World" short:
    There are people stealin' our copyrighted tunes
    Bwaighlo weirhlo, bwaighlo weirhlo lailolailo... prunes!
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, Scootaloo only communicates by scatting. She requires subtitles for anyone else to understand her. Also, during Rainbow Dash's verse in the song "At the Gala", she realizes she's not very good at improvising lyrics, so she sings gibberish to fill time for a few lines.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb have a lot of fun with this trope when they sing "Gitchy Gitchy Goo".
  • Futurama uses this behind the scenes. Bender's singing is almost always John DiMaggio scatting. Frequently mentioned (and demonstrated) on the DVD commentaries.
  • 75% of the background music in the Nickelodeon version of Doug...and it was awesome.
  • Bradford Marsalis capped off his Space Ghost Coast to Coast appearance by leading the cast in a round-robin scat session (although Zorak had to threaten him with a laser rifle first).
  • The opening theme to The Tick. Bop TWEEE-dot-dot-dot TWEEE dah!
  • Popeye had a charming habit of scatting to himself as he went about his business.
  • This is a characteristic of the Mothersbaugh Brothers, such as their work on Rugrats.
  • The Aristocats featured the voices of jazz singers Phil Harris and Scatman Crothers in both speaking and singing roles. During their songs, the two would scat constantly.
  • During its first season, the closing theme of Muppet Babies was basically the opening theme with its lead vocals mixed out - leaving just the scatting in the background.
  • The VeggieTales song "I Love My Lips".
  • In The Simpsons episode "Springfield Up", Declan Desmond does this when Homer asks him to join in on his rock song "Satan, You're My Lady". Homer isn't impressed.
    Declan: Shooby dooby doo-wah, shooby dooby...
    Homer: Those aren't the lyrics! It goes "Satan, you're my lady"!
    Both: Satan, you're my lady, stick me with your pitchfork thing!
    Declan: Shooby doo-wah, shooby doo-wah!


Recitation HandclaspMusic TropesSelf-Backing Vocalist
Scary Black ManWe Are Not Alone IndexSchrdinger's Cat

alternative title(s): Non Lexical Vocables; Scat; Scat Singing; Singing Scat; Word Puree Lyrics; Singing Simlish
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