I can't think of a word or phrase describing this scenario:

Someone is singing beautifully and it has meaning but no one is there to hear it so it is useless.

Please help!

  • Irony? I think it's ironical.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:25
  • 3
    Sometimes you have to sing just for the sake of the song.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:30
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    Singing in vain? Lonely serenade? Please clarify the question. What meaning does it have? Why is it useless?
    – ermanen
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:31
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    It's not quite Zen, since "someone" can presumably hear their own voice. Unlike the tree falling down in the middle of the Amazon jungle with no-one to hear it (which I firmly believe makes no sound at all. :) Jun 3, 2015 at 16:48
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    No it ain't, it's an echo of Gray: "Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air."
    – David Pugh
    Jun 3, 2015 at 17:31

2 Answers 2


Hidden lives, and unrecognised artists are the theme of
Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard.

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air. (55)

Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. (75)

  • So which word answers the OP's question? Jun 3, 2015 at 18:33
  • It could only be, "waste."
    – user98990
    Jun 3, 2015 at 23:01
  • @Kristina Lopez, would you accept hidden, unrecognised, unseen, sequestered? And the ref. leads to obscure, neglected, unhonoured, unknown; and Gray's notes add 'begli occhi chiusi,' two closed eyes.
    – Hugh
    Jun 3, 2015 at 23:59
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    @Little Eva, mercy, mercy!
    – Hugh
    Jun 4, 2015 at 0:00
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    BTW, your only upvote, as I type, is mine (the quality of my mercy) ;-). Love the lines!
    – user98990
    Jun 4, 2015 at 0:15

When someone is doing something 'obliviously', it's another way to say that they continue doing that without any concern or awareness of what is happening around them.

So you could say 'she was singing obliviously' or 'singing beautifully, but oblivious to her environment'.

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