Musical Accent?

Last week I wrote about digital music, then it occurred to me there is a far more interesting topic where music is concerned.

Do you find that people tend to lose their regional accents when they sing? (I mean when they sing in English cause I can only speak two other languages but I wouldn't be able to identify accents). I've often listen to a band or singer and been surprised to find out they weren't a native English speaker. I've been just as surprised to hear different singers speak in a strong, American, English, Irish (etc) accent but when they sing there is no trace of it. If fact it seems almost an effort to sing with a very recognisable accent. For example there is a singer I adore call Rosie Thomas, who has an almost comical high pitched (but endearing) voice but when she sings its an almost shocking transformation you'd never guess she was the same person.

I've also read that singing therapy has help people who stutter to over come their speech impediment - which completely fascinates me. There is even a case that singing can improve ones mood - much like chocolate.

So what is so different about our voices when we sing? I'll have to go away and read up on this but I just thought I'd go one belt out a number at the top of your voice, you know you want to!

N.B With the way thing are at the moment I might be limited to posting on Mondays only. Fear not I will do my best to make sure that my post are worth the visit.


  1. Chicky it is always Worth the visit anyway:)
    Well this is actually true I never taught about it like that.
    I always feel better after singing in the shower:)
    Cant say that for the ones that hear me sing;0)

  2. That's right, some people don't have noticeable accents when they sing in English. Singing can also help improve enunciation and pronunciation. So, off to sing in the shower then! :-)

    P.S. You'll be posting just once a week? :-( I hope you can up the frequency soon. Looking forward to next Monday's post already.

  3. I always thought singers trained themselves so we don't hear their regional accents. Hmm. Anyway, look out later on my blog, I'm doing the guess-the-song-by-the-first-lyric again!
    (once a week!)

  4. I always assumed that it is a lot of practice and effort on ones part to get these things right and know it is true.

    Have to admit that I like singing along to MV's and laugh at my own singing and reading abilities (I cannot seem to get the right key or keep up with the pace). Obviously I do this in privacy un less you have lived with me before, then you would have been subject to it once in a while (Sorry Shadowfalcon)

  5. I believe your music theory is correct for all art forms except rap. With rap music, the singer's ignorance and immaturity will always show. Unless there Jay-Z, who seems to have grown out of it.

  6. Yes I've noticed that too! Celine Dion is another one. and I'm sorry to hear that you're only going to post on Mondays..I'll miss ya.
    (and if singing improves my mood, I'm going with it...even if no one wants to hear me! hehehe

  7. I never got that one. It is so consistent throughout music that people sing in English without accents and speak English with accents. I just don't get it.

  8. I remember noticing this about Sting in the 80's. I would venture to say that maybe the "art" of singing supercedes our regional accents. American country music singers seem able to maintain their nasal twangs, but then again, I could argue that ain't "art"! ;)

    Interesting post! If you come up with some research, I'd love to read it.

  9. I remember noticing this about Sting in the 80's. I would venture to say that maybe the "art" of singing supercedes our regional accents. American country music singers seem able to maintain their nasal twangs, but then again, I could argue that ain't "art"! ;)

    Interesting post! If you come up with some research, I'd love to read it.

  10. Hi Shadow,

    Yes, your blog is wonderful:)

    By the way - I'm off for an indefinite period too. Deadlines loming large for a number of things.

    I'Ll keep reading for pleasure though - and in answer - I doubt you lose your accent (i.e. it could be traceable using special technology) unless you intentionally tried to mask it...

    Interesting post...

    Cheers. Hope all is well.

  11. It's all do do with how you sing and what you sing. Those who are taught to sing are taught to enunciate clearly and make sure they sing without accent. It helps you hear the words.
    Some music sounds silly with an English accent ie. Country and Western. And i sing irish songs with an irish accent, it's how they're meant to be sung!

  12. I may actually have to take a little blog break coming up very soon myself.


  13. Being a former singer myself, it's a frame of mind, as well - or at least that's how it was for me. Singing along with music or even without is almost like reading a book. I suppose one could even compare it to meditation, or some sort of relaxation therapy, depending on the type of music it is, of course.

    From the physical side of singing, you use so many more muscles and air when you do, that you can virtually completely change the sound of your speaking voice. However, think of the power behind opera singers, such as Pavoratti (sp?) - he does not lose his accent, but then is it only because of the fact that he sings mainly in romantic languages such as Italian? I think you're on to something here, Shadow. ;)

  14. Your posts are absolutely worth reading. And this ones topic is fascinating. I've never thought about. Maybe 'cause my native language is not english.....

  15. The opposite of this of course is country western music where everyone has a twang in their voice. Even when an Austrailian or Canadian tries it the twang returns ;-)

  16. I love singing, especially karaoke! Gimme that mike! I think it must access locked emotional centres linked to the 'good old days' or something...

  17. the proclaimers sing with an accent, so does the bloke from snow patrol sometimes
    and noel coward
    and all the country and western singers...they have accents...

  18. I've always been amazed by the fact that Ozzy Osbourne is articulate when he sings and totally unintelligible when he speaks.

  19. sqt - Ozzie friggin kills me!

  20. You ask some excellent questions regarding singing. And yes, Mel Tillis was a country singer who had a terrible stutter when speaking but it disappeared when he sang.

    Have you noticed that some singers (like the gal in the Cranberries) actually stress their accent? Because it won't come through otherwise.

    Accents, I guess, are differences in pitches following specific time intervals. Since singing specifies exactly the pitch and time interval, there is no room for accents. That's my theory. :)

    And, incidentally, your posts are always worth the visit!

  21. Some people change their accent. The one that most comes to mind is Mick Jagger. When I listen to him singing songs like "Wild Horses" or "Little Red Rooster", I can't help but smile.

    I remember the English invasion of the early sixties. American bands found themselves hard pressed competing with the British accents of Herman's Hermits and other such bands.

    I also thought the Beatles tended to sound less Liverpudlian (is that a word?) when they sang, with the exception maybe of Ringo.

  22. I also notice this with a lot of British or Australian bands...


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