Whether you’re a shower singer or a karaoke superstar, singing is a universal language that brings joy and expresses emotions. If you’ve ever wondered what singers call their vocal techniques or the lingo they use to describe their craft, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of the top slang words for singing that will have you hitting those high notes and belting out your favorite tunes with confidence. Get ready to expand your musical vocabulary and impress your friends at your next jam session!
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1. Belt it out
To sing with great power and volume. This phrase is often used when someone wants to express their emotions through singing or when they want to make a strong impression.
- For example, “She really belted it out during her solo performance.”
- A judge might comment, “I love how you belt it out and give it your all.”
- In a karaoke session, someone might say, “I’m going to belt it out and impress everyone with my singing skills.”
To sing in a gentle and intimate manner, usually with a smooth and mellow tone. Crooning is often associated with romantic or sentimental songs.
- For instance, “He crooned a love ballad that melted everyone’s hearts.”
- A fan might say, “I love it when he croons, his voice is so soothing.”
- In a jazz performance, a singer might croon a classic tune, captivating the audience with their smooth vocals.
3. Hit the high notes
To sing the highest and most challenging notes in a song. This phrase is often used to describe someone’s ability to reach and sustain high pitches.
- For example, “She really hit the high notes during her performance of the national anthem.”
- A vocal coach might say, “You need to work on your technique to hit those high notes more effortlessly.”
- In a singing competition, a judge might praise a contestant, “You nailed those high notes, well done!”
4. Jam out
To sing or perform music with a lot of energy, passion, and enthusiasm. This phrase is often used when someone is fully immersed in the music and enjoying the experience.
- For instance, “They really jammed out during their rock concert.”
- A music fan might say, “I love going to concerts where the band just jams out and has a great time.”
- In a band rehearsal, a member might say, “Let’s jam out and try some improvisation.”
To sing or perform music for someone, usually as a romantic gesture. Serenades are often performed outside someone’s window or in a public setting to express love or admiration.
- For example, “He serenaded his girlfriend with a beautiful love song.”
- A person might say, “I want to serenade my partner on our anniversary.”
- In a movie scene, a character might serenade their love interest to win them over.
Scatting is a vocal improvisation technique where the singer uses nonsense syllables and sounds to create melodies and rhythms. It is commonly used in jazz music.
- For example, Ella Fitzgerald was known for her scatting skills.
- A singer might say, “I love to scat during instrumental breaks to add some excitement to the song.”
- In a jazz performance, the vocalist might impress the audience with a scat solo.
Warbling refers to singing with a wavering or quivering sound, often used for embellishment or expression. It is commonly associated with birdsong.
- For instance, a singer might warble to add emotion to a ballad.
- A vocal coach might instruct a student, “Try to warble on the high notes to make them more interesting.”
- In a choir rehearsal, the conductor might ask the sopranos to warble during a specific section of the song.
8. Rock the mic
To “rock the mic” means to give an energetic and impressive singing performance. It originated from the hip-hop and rap culture, where the microphone is symbolically rocked by the performer.
- For example, a singer might say, “I’m going to rock the mic at tonight’s concert!”
- A music critic might write, “The lead vocalist truly rocked the mic with their powerful stage presence.”
- In a karaoke competition, a participant might be praised for their ability to rock the mic.
9. Lay down some tracks
To “lay down some tracks” means to record songs in a studio. It refers to the process of laying down individual instrument and vocal tracks to create a complete recording.
- For instance, a singer might say, “I’m heading to the studio to lay down some tracks for my new album.”
- A music producer might tell an artist, “Let’s start by laying down the vocal tracks and then we’ll add the instruments.”
- In a documentary about a band, the lead vocalist might talk about the excitement of laying down tracks in a professional studio.
Harmonizing is the act of singing or playing different notes that blend together to create a pleasing sound. It often involves singing or playing a different melody or chord progression that complements the main melody.
- For example, a choir might harmonize with the lead vocalist to create a rich and full sound.
- A music teacher might explain, “Harmonizing adds depth and complexity to a musical arrangement.”
- In a duet performance, the singers might harmonize to create beautiful vocal harmonies.
When someone “slays” a performance, it means they have executed it flawlessly and impressively. This term is often used to describe singers who deliver outstanding vocal performances.
- For example, “Beyoncé slayed her live performance at the awards show.”
- A fan might comment, “That singer absolutely slayed that high note!”
- In a singing competition, a judge might say, “You completely slayed that song!”
When someone “vocalizes,” they are singing or producing sounds with their voice. It can refer to singing in general or specific vocal exercises and warm-ups.
- For instance, “The choir vocalized beautifully during the concert.”
- A vocal coach might instruct, “Take a moment to vocalize and warm up your voice before starting.”
- In a singing lesson, the teacher might say, “Let’s focus on vocalizing the vowel sounds in this exercise.”
13. Jam session
A “jam session” is when musicians come together to play music in an informal and spontaneous manner. It often involves improvisation and collaboration.
- For example, “We had a great jam session in the garage last night.”
- Musicians might invite others by saying, “Bring your instruments and join us for a jam session!”
- A band might schedule a regular jam session to experiment with new ideas and styles.
When a singer “covers” a song, they are performing a version of a song that was originally recorded and released by another artist. It can involve singing the song in a similar style or putting a unique spin on it.
- For instance, “She did an amazing cover of that popular song.”
- A musician might say, “I’m going to cover a classic rock song during my set.”
- In a talent show, a contestant might choose to cover a famous song to showcase their vocal abilities.
15. Hit the stage
When a singer “hits the stage,” it means they are starting their performance on stage. It is often used to describe the moment a singer begins singing in front of an audience.
- For example, “The band hit the stage and immediately captivated the crowd.”
- A concertgoer might say, “I can’t wait for the artist to hit the stage and start singing!”
- In a theater production, the director might instruct the actors, “When the lights come up, hit the stage and deliver your lines.”
16. Belt it
To “belt it” means to sing with a strong, powerful voice, often reaching high notes with intensity and volume.
- For example, a judge on a singing competition might say, “She really belted it out during her performance.”
- A vocal coach might instruct a student, “Don’t be afraid to belt it when you’re singing this chorus.”
- A fan might comment on a live performance, “I love how she belts it during the bridge of that song.”
17. Vocal gymnastics
“Vocal gymnastics” refers to the use of complex vocal techniques, such as runs, trills, and melisma, to showcase a singer’s agility and range.
- For instance, a music critic might describe a singer’s performance as “full of impressive vocal gymnastics.”
- A vocal coach might challenge a student, “Let’s see if you can nail those vocal gymnastics in this song.”
- A fan might comment on a live performance, “Her vocal gymnastics during that high note were incredible!”
A “crooner” is a singer, typically male, who sings in a smooth, romantic style, often associated with jazz and traditional pop music.
- For example, Frank Sinatra is often referred to as a legendary crooner.
- A music historian might explain, “Crooners were especially popular in the 1930s and 1940s.”
- A fan might comment on a singer’s performance, “He has the perfect crooner voice for this song.”
19. Vocal chops
“Vocal chops” refers to a singer’s strong singing skills and ability to perform difficult vocal techniques with precision and control.
- For instance, a vocal coach might say, “She has incredible vocal chops and can handle any song.”
- A fan might comment on a live performance, “His vocal chops are on another level.”
- A music critic might write, “Her impressive vocal chops were on full display during the concert.”
20. Sing your heart out
To “sing your heart out” means to sing with great passion, emotion, and enthusiasm, giving it your all.
- For example, a judge on a singing competition might say, “She really sang her heart out on that song.”
- A fan might comment on a live performance, “I could feel her emotions as she sang her heart out.”
- A friend might encourage someone, “Go on stage and sing your heart out! You’ve got this!”
21. Lay down some vocals
This phrase means to record or perform vocals for a song or music piece. It is often used in the context of a recording studio or live performance.
- For example, a music producer might say, “Let’s lay down some vocals for the chorus tomorrow.”
- A singer announcing a live performance might say, “Tonight, I’ll be laying down some vocals for my new single.”
- In a music review, a critic might write, “The singer truly laid down some powerful vocals during the concert.”
To “croak” means to sing poorly or with a hoarse voice. This term is often used to describe someone who is struggling to hit the right notes or has a raspy vocal tone.
- For instance, a friend might jokingly say, “Don’t quit your day job, you croak like a frog.”
- In a talent show, a judge might comment, “Unfortunately, she croaked during the high notes.”
- A music teacher might say, “You need to work on your technique to avoid croaking.”
To “belt” means to sing loudly and powerfully, often with a strong and resonant voice. This term is commonly used in the context of musical theater or pop singing.
- For example, a singing coach might say, “You have a great voice, now let’s work on belting those high notes.”
- During a concert, a fan might shout, “Belt it out, we want to hear you!”
- A singer might say, “I love to belt when performing ballads, it adds emotion to the song.”
To “trill” means to sing or produce a rapid alternation between two notes, typically in a melodic or ornamental manner. This term is often used in classical music or vocal exercises.
- For instance, a vocal coach might instruct, “Try to trill between these two notes to improve your vocal agility.”
- In a choir rehearsal, the conductor might say, “Let’s practice the trill in this section, it adds a beautiful texture.”
- A singer might say, “I enjoy incorporating trills into my performances, it adds a touch of elegance.”
25. Tickle the ivories
To “tickle the ivories” means to play the piano. This phrase is a playful and colloquial way of referring to piano playing.
- For example, a friend might ask, “Can you tickle the ivories for us?”
- In a music bar, a sign might advertise, “Live jazz tonight with a pianist who knows how to tickle the ivories.”
- A piano teacher might say, “When you tickle the ivories, remember to use proper hand posture and technique.”
26. Croak out
To croak out a song means to sing it in a manner that is not pleasant to listen to or lacks skill.
- For example, “She tried to sing a high note but ended up croaking it out.”
- In a talent show, a judge might comment, “Unfortunately, he croaked out the song and didn’t showcase his true potential.”
- A friend might jokingly say, “You should stick to shower singing, you always croak out the lyrics.”
27. Belt out a tune
To belt out a tune means to sing it with a powerful voice and a lot of energy.
- For instance, “She belted out the national anthem at the football game.”
- During a karaoke night, someone might say, “I’m going to belt out my favorite song.”
- A performer might be praised for their vocal abilities by saying, “She really knows how to belt out a tune.”
To chirp means to sing in a light-hearted and joyful way.
- For example, “The birds chirped in the trees on a sunny morning.”
- During a family gathering, someone might say, “Let’s all gather around and chirp some holiday songs.”
- A friend might compliment your singing by saying, “You have such a beautiful voice, it’s like a chirping bird.”
To wail means to sing with intense emotions, often in a sorrowful or mournful manner.
- For instance, “She wailed her heart out during the emotional ballad.”
- In a musical theater performance, a character might wail a song to express their anguish.
- A singer might be praised for their ability to wail by saying, “She has such a powerful voice, she can really wail.”
30. Jazz it up
To jazz it up means to add creative and spontaneous elements to a song, such as improvisation or embellishments.
- For example, “She decided to jazz it up by adding a scatting section to the jazz standard.”
- During a jam session, a musician might encourage others by saying, “Let’s jazz it up and take this song to another level.”
- A music teacher might instruct their students, “Don’t be afraid to jazz it up and make the song your own.”
31. Pipe up
This phrase means to begin singing or speaking in a loud or assertive manner. It can also be used to encourage someone to speak up or sing louder.
- For example, “When the chorus started, she really piped up and belted out the lyrics.”
- In a group singing session, someone might say, “Come on, everyone, pipe up and join in!”
- If someone is speaking softly, you might say, “Can you pipe up? I can’t hear you.”