AskDefine | Define singer

Dictionary Definition



1 a person who sings [syn: vocalist, vocalizer, vocaliser]
2 United States inventor of an improved chain-stitch sewing machine (1811-1875) [syn: Isaac M. Singer, Isaac Merrit Singer]
3 United States writer (born in Poland) of Yiddish stories and novels (1904-1991) [syn: Isaac Bashevis Singer]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Singer



Agent noun from verb sing + agent suffix -er



  1. person who sings, is able to sing, or earns a living by singing
  2. (square dance) dance figure with a fixed structure, sung by a caller, or a piece of music with that structure. See square dance singer.


person who sings
dance figure

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.
singer in Arabic: مغني
singer in Catalan: Cantant
singer in Czech: Zpěvák
singer in Danish: Sanger
singer in Spanish: Cantante
singer in Estonian: Laulja
singer in Esperanto: Kantisto
singer in Persian: خواننده
singer in French: Chanteur
singer in Galician: Cantante
singer in Korean: 가수
singer in Hindi: गायक
singer in Indonesian: Penyanyi
singer in Italian: Cantante
singer in Hebrew: זמר
singer in Malay (macrolanguage): Penyanyi
singer in Dutch: Zanger
singer in Japanese: 歌手
singer in Polish: Pieśniarz
singer in Portuguese: Vocal
singer in Russian: Вокалист
singer in Simple English: Singer
singer in Slovenian: pevec
singer in Serbian: Певач
singer in Finnish: Laulaja
singer in Swedish: Sångare
singer in Thai: นักร้อง
singer in Vietnamese: Ca sĩ
singer in Turkish: Şarkı cı
singer in Ukrainian: Співак
singer in Walloon: Tchanteu
singer in Yiddish: זינגער
singer in Chinese: 歌手

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Heldentenor, Meistersinger, alto, aria singer, artist, artiste, balladeer, baritenor, baritone, bass, basso, basso buffo, basso cantante, basso profundo, belly dancer, blues singer, burlesque queen, canary, cantatrice, cantor, caroler, chanter, chantress, choir member, choirboy, chorine, chorister, chorus boy, chorus girl, coloratura soprano, comic bass, conjurer, contralto, coryphee, countertenor, crooner, dancer, dancing girl, danseur noble, deep bass, diva, dramatic soprano, ecdysiast, entertainer, exotic dancer, feature attraction, female impersonator, first tragedian, geisha, geisha girl, guisard, guiser, headliner, heavy lead, hero, heroic tenor, heroine, hoofer, hymner, impersonator, improvisator, jeune premier, lead, lead singer, leading lady, leading man, lieder singer, magician, melodist, mezzo-soprano, minstrel, mountebank, mummer, musician, nautch girl, nightingale, opera singer, peeler, performer, prestidigitator, prima ballerina, prima donna, principal, protagonist, psalm singer, public entertainer, rock-and-roll singer, show girl, singstress, soloist, songbird, songster, songstress, soprano, star, stripper, stripteaser, stripteuse, superstar, tenor, thrush, torch singer, troubador, vaudevillian, vaudevillist, vocalist, vocalizer, voice, warbler, yodeler
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