No scatting

From yesterday’s “Metropolitan Diary” in the NYT”, “At Kerouac’s Old Place, No Scatting Allowed”, by Carol Knauder:

I love the unintentional typo of the sign in the courtyard of my sister’s West Village apartment building, where it’s rumored Jack Kerouac once lived.

Taken at face value, though, I do wonder why a no scatting zone would be necessary in this day and age. I then imagine under the sign an illustration of Ella Fitzgerald scatting inside a “No” symbol — a circle and a diagonal red line through the picture — stifling her singing “Bu di di bi bu bi dibi…” from “How High the Moon.”

I doubt that this was an unintentional typo, though — much more likely to be a complex spelling error, combining two errors made with modest frequency by poor spellers:

(1) SC for SK, as in these examples:

It looks like it has those pads that you buy to move furniture (Just 2 of them that are 4 times the size of the original).  I put a few of those things on a pair of shoes before and practically scated across the floor. (link)

You can hit a small puck, but other penguins always kick it away from you. You can also sit in the stands. Your penguin also ice scates across the rink. (link)

(2) Doubling T before -ING, as here:

if he stays off it for a while ( so it doesnt keep swelling up ) maybe in a few months he might be able to skate again… meaning no skatting at all for a few months so it gives his leg time to heal and repair on the inside (link)

The combination yields SCATTING, which seems to be very rare as a spelling for the PRP of skate, but does spell the PRP of the verb scat ‘to scat-sing’:

In vocal jazz, scat singing [or simply scatting] is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice. (Wikipedia link)

(Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé were among the greatest scat singers.)

Morphological bonus: the back-formed two-part verb to scat-sing / scat sing. Many occurrences like this one:

You Can Learn to Scat Sing – Techniques to Enhance Beginning Vocal Improvisation (link)

One Response to “No scatting”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    On the Jazzfuel site: “What is Scat Singing? [+ 10 of the Best Scat Solos in Jazz]” by Matt Fripp — with an explanation of scat singing; an outline of its history; and prominent examples:

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