Vocal hiccup

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Vocal hiccup is a " hiccuping" singing technique which was notably used by Buddy Holly and Michael Jackson.

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly used the "vocal hiccup" in many of his songs. It is described as "a clipped ‘uh’ sound used to emphasize certain words", for example, "We-UH-ell, the little things you say and do, make me want to be with you-UH-ou..." in his record of the song Rave On (1958). [1]

Edward Comentale asserts that Holly's hiccup technique comes from the southern tradition of " eefing". He describes it as follows: "he [Buddy Holly] cuts off the sound at the back of the throat, blocking the flow of sound so that it pops out again with greater intensity - hic-a! A sharp break or silence is immediately followed by a loud burp, an extra 'supplemental' syllable." [2]

Scott "Buddy" Cameron, known for his impersonation of Buddy Holly, in particular in the 2005-2009 production of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story musical, among other "trademark" features of Buddy Holly, uses "lilting vocal hiccup". [3] [4]

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson started using the "vocal hiccup" in 1973, in the song "It's Too Late to Change the Time" on the G.I.T.: Get It Together album. The next time he used this technique several years later, in his 1979 solo album Off the Wall. Jackson's hiccup technique is described as "somewhat like a gulping for air or gasping". [5]

Diana Ross claimed on The Today Show that Michael Jackson took the vocal hiccup technique from her. [6]


  1. ^ Buddy Holly bio at buddythemusical.com
  2. ^ Edward P. Comentale, Sweet Air: Modernism, Regionalism, and American Popular Song, p. 229
  3. ^ "Class of 59: The Rock & Roll Circus Tour, June 28, 2019 (retrieved June 28, 2019)
  4. ^ "Revered Buddy Holly Performer Brings the Legend Back to Life", The Chronicle, October 1, 2015(retrieved June 28, 2019)
  5. ^ Brown, Geoff (1996). The Complete Guide To The Music of Michael Jackson & The Jackson Family. New York City, New York: Omnibus Press. pp. 29, 30. ISBN  0-7119-5303-1.
  6. ^ Diana Ross & The Supremes: On The Today Show (2000) (retrieved June 28, 2019)