AskDefine | Define vocalist

Dictionary Definition

vocalist n : a person who sings [syn: singer, vocalizer, vocaliser]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

vo*ca-list VOH-kah-list

Etymology

vocal + -ist

Noun

  1. A singer; a person who likes to sing.

Translations

Extensive Definition

A singer is a person who uses his or her voice to produce music. Often the singer is accompanied by musicians and instruments. While many people sing for pleasure, vocal skill is usually a combination of innate talent and professional training. People who fit the above requirements are referred to as vocalists.
A lead singer performs the primary vocals of a song, as opposed to a backing singer who sings backup vocals or harmonies. An exception is five-part gospel a cappella music, where the lead is the highest of the five voices and sings a descant, and not the melody.
Professional singers usually undergo voice training, provided by a voice teacher or coach.

Human voice

In European classical music and opera, voices are treated like musical instruments. Composers who write vocal music must have an understanding of the skills, talents, and vocal properties of singers.
Singers usually build their careers around certain musical styles. Voice classification systems have evolved to classify singers by tessitura, vocal weight and timbre. Choral singers are classified by vocal range (see also musical range). Other categories are soubrette, heldentenor, coloratura, and basso buffo.
There are also categories for men capable of singing in the female range. This type of voice is rare, but is still used in opera. In Baroque music, many roles were written for castrati, male singers who were castrated as boys to prevent their voices from changing. A male with this kind of singing voice may be a countertenor (suitable for Castrato Alto roles) or a sopranist (suitable for Castrato Soprano roles).
Singers are also classified by the style of music they sing, such as soul singers or carnatic vocalists.

Lead and backing vocalists

In many modern musical groups, there is one singer that is singing the main parts (the lead vocalist) and one or more to perform backing vocals. Backing vocalists sing some, but usually not all, parts of the song. They often provide a harmony to the lead, or just sing along in the refrain or hum in the background.
vocalist in Arabic: مغني
vocalist in Catalan: Cantant
vocalist in Czech: Zpěvák
vocalist in Danish: Sanger
vocalist in Spanish: Cantante
vocalist in Estonian: Laulja
vocalist in Esperanto: Kantisto
vocalist in Persian: خواننده
vocalist in French: Chanteur
vocalist in Galician: Cantante
vocalist in Korean: 가수
vocalist in Hindi: गायक
vocalist in Indonesian: Penyanyi
vocalist in Italian: Cantante
vocalist in Hebrew: זמר
vocalist in Malay (macrolanguage): Penyanyi
vocalist in Dutch: Zanger
vocalist in Japanese: 歌手
vocalist in Polish: Pieśniarz
vocalist in Portuguese: Vocal
vocalist in Russian: Вокалист
vocalist in Simple English: Singer
vocalist in Slovenian: pevec
vocalist in Serbian: Певач
vocalist in Finnish: Laulaja
vocalist in Swedish: Sångare
vocalist in Thai: นักร้อง
vocalist in Vietnamese: Ca sĩ
vocalist in Turkish: Şarkı cı
vocalist in Ukrainian: Співак
vocalist in Walloon: Tchanteu
vocalist in Yiddish: זינגער
vocalist in Chinese: 歌手

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Heldentenor, Meistersinger, alto, aria singer, baritenor, baritone, bass, basso, basso buffo, basso cantante, basso profundo, blues singer, canary, cantatrice, cantor, caroler, chanter, chantress, choir member, choirboy, chorister, chorus girl, coloratura soprano, comic bass, contralto, countertenor, crooner, deep bass, diva, dramatic soprano, heroic tenor, hymner, improvisator, lead singer, lieder singer, melodist, mezzo-soprano, nightingale, opera singer, prima donna, psalm singer, rock-and-roll singer, singer, singstress, soloist, songbird, songster, songstress, soprano, tenor, thrush, torch singer, vocalizer, voice, warbler, yodeler
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