vocalist vs. singer

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Shandol

Senior Member
Persian - پارسی
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Longman Photo Dictionary of American English

24: singer / vocalist


Is there any difference between the two? a vocalist and a singer?
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    My dictionary says not, except that 'vocalist' is often used for a singer with a jazz or pop band.

    You wouldn't say: he is an opera vocalist/a classical vocalist.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    A soloist is also not a vocalist. A singer can be called a vocalist when they're part of a small group playing together: there's the drummer, the vocalist, the fiddler, and so on.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Each person in the band "plays" an instrument: keyboard, guitar, drums. A "vocalist" is a person in the band that "plays" their voice.

    The word "vocalist" is just like "guitarist" or "percussionist" or "pianist" -- it describes a person using something to create music.

    Note that "vocals" (music created with a human voice) don't have to be words. Any musical sound created with a voice is a vocal sound. There is a lot of music that uses vocal sounds without words.

    But in a lot of music (in "songs") the vocal part is words that are sung, and the vocalist is a singer.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The word "singer" is often used for a vocalist who doesn't use words.

    For example, in American doo-wop music (popular in the US from the 1950s to around 1990), the lead singer will sing words, while 1, 2, 3 or 4 other singers use their voices to make music, but often don't use words. Instead they sing nonsense syllables like "doo bee doo" or "doo wop a doo" or "wah wah wah waa-aah".

    But we call them all "singers", so there isn't much difference between the words.
     
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