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(Slate)   Why British singers sound American. Is it something related to why people don't stutter when they sing?   (slate.com) divider line 162
    More: Interesting, African-Americans, Beatles, singing voice, dialects, james bond movies, African American Vernacular English, country music, singers sound  
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12844 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Nov 2012 at 3:23 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-21 05:03:31 AM
Subby has never listened to Bowie or the Jam.
 
2012-11-21 05:05:42 AM

Wittenberg Dropout: Subby has never listened to Bowie or the Jam.


Subby doesn't know what the fark he's talking about. He just noticed a couple of people do it and extrapolated.
 
2012-11-21 05:10:14 AM

david_gaithersburg: The British and Aussies are faking their accents. When others aren't within earshot they talk just like the rest of the world.


This is partly true. There was a TV program about the English accent. It claimed that Old English is approximated most closely in the mid-atlantic USA - Inland Virginia, if I recall. The British aristocracy has since deliberately affected their accent to sound exclusive and posh. Of course the bougie peeps followed suit, much like contemporary people often follow trends of celebrities. Different areas of course derived and developed their own regional accents from that model.
Funny that one of America's famous celebs, Madonna, has also adopted her own odd ostensibly british-styled accent from nowhere in particular. I have seen this phenomena of appropriating a similar 'posh' dialect in American cities as well. I've suspected it comes from some shame of one's own native dialect or a sense of identifying with a preferred group.
 
2012-11-21 05:16:42 AM
I listen to a fair amount of metal from bands around the world. I sometimes have to check Wikipedia to find out what nation they're from, as I can't tell by listening, generally. I tend not to care much where they're from, but I've gotten some ribbing from my siblings about being secretly scandinavian or something.
 
2012-11-21 05:17:52 AM

gameshowhost: Die Antwoord - Fatty Boom Boom


gameshowhost: Die Antwoord - Fatty Boom Boom


I was thinking of him after I 'd read the first three posts in this thread - but here you are saving me the trouble!
 
2012-11-21 05:20:30 AM

Legios: SJKebab: Not just british. Basically everyone who sings in the english language sounds american when they sing. Anything else just sounds weird these days.

To counterpoint, here's some hip hop sung with an Aussie accent. As much as I enjoy it, I imagine most of you will be turned off just by the novelty of it (to say nothing about the tonality of the aussie accent to begin with...)

As an Australian I can say that it puts me on edge when I hear Aussie hip-hop. Our accents aren't really that broad. It seems really over-exaggerated in hip-hop.

/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFNZtgKRKf0 Aussie group who sing with decent Australian accents.
//http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDx6nHExwRw is my example of "Sometimes sounds American, but really does sound English at times too"
///He is English


Australian accents make for wonderful Indie pop, or at least Elizabeth Morris' lightly accented voice does.
 
2012-11-21 05:22:54 AM
Liam Gallagher frowns on your shenanigans.
 
2012-11-21 05:26:52 AM
CASEY KASEM'S AMERICAN TOP 40 BRITISH HITS OF THE ROCK ERA - 4/6/74

40: SUNSHINE SUPERMAN - DONOVAN
39: WILD THING - THE TROGGS
38: MY LOVE - PETULA CLARK
37: LOVE ME DO - BEATLES
36: PAINT IT BLACK - THE ROLLING STONES
35: RUBY TUESDAY - THE ROLLING STONES
34: UNCLE ALBERT/ADMIRAL HALSEY - PAUL & LINDA McCARTNEY
33: GIVE ME LOVE - GEORGE HARRISON
32: GET OFF MY CLOUD - THE ROLLING STONES
31: HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN - THE ANIMALS
30: BROWN SUGAR - THE ROLLING STONES
29: HELLO GOODBYE - THE BEATLES
28: I FEEL FINE - THE BEATLES
27: PHOTOGRAPH - RINGO STARR
26: MRS. BROWN, YOU'VE GOT A LOVELY DAUGHTER - HERMAN'S HERMITS
25: DO WAH DIDDY - MANFRED MANN
24: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT - THE BEATLES
23: YESTERDAY - THE BEATLES
22: WE CAN WORK IT OUT - THE BEATLES
21: CAN'T BUY ME LOVE - THE BEATLES
20: HELP - THE BEATLES
19: DOWNTOWN - PETULA CLARK
18: LET IT BE - THE BEATLES
17: COME TOGETHER - THE BEATLES
16a: SOMETHING - THE BEATLES
16b: SHE LOVES YOU - THE BEATLES
15: TELSTAR - THE TORNADOES
14: SATISFACTION - THE ROLLING STONES
13: WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL - NEW VAUDEVILLE BAND
12: GET BACK - THE BEATLES
11: MY SWEET LORD - GEORGE HARRISON
10: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART - THE BEE GEES
9: STRANGER ON THE SHORE - MR. ACKER BILK
8: CROCODILE ROCK - ELTON JOHN
7: HONKY TONK WOMAN - ROLLING STONES
6: MY LOVE - PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS
5: TO SIR WITH LOVE - LULU
4: MAGGIE MAY - ROD STEWART
3: ALONE AGAIN, NATURALLY - GILBERT O' SULLIVAN
2: I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND - THE BEATLES
1: HEY JUDE - THE BEATLES
 
2012-11-21 05:31:54 AM

You are Borg: ClintonKun: NicoFinn: "...as did Paul McCartney in his cover of "Till There Was You," pronouncing saw more like sawr."

Umm, I think that's actually part of some British dialects, isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I hear this a lot in spoken British English. I don't think Paul was trying to sound American, necessarily. More like he let his own accent slip out.

Also, British persons have this odd habit of putting an er on the end of words that end with a. Like "Americer" or "Obamer". Not sure if it's a recent development or not, and even though I tend to like British accents, that little quirk can get annoying.

I hear it on the radio all the time when they mention Canader and Chiner, always found it very odd.


First time I heard it was Hugh Grant, Nine Months. 'Rebeccer' WTF? Rebecker this Rebecker that Thanks Jeff for subtly calling him out on it.

I wouldn't find it so annoying, m'self, if it didn't sound thisclose to turning into a racial epithet. That's why I can't stand it. But folks cain't he'p how they talk, so, not his fault, not intentional, not with malice.
 
2012-11-21 05:34:27 AM
 
2012-11-21 05:35:38 AM

JerkyMeat: Can we talk about the "black" sound for a minute?


OK: Do Black actors in the UK sounds black to (black, white, Asian) Brits, while US Blacks just sound American?

See also: reports that the world saw New Karate Kid as Americans being Americans, while US folks saw New Karate Kid as being black Americans differentiated from white (aka 'general') Americans?
 
2012-11-21 05:39:28 AM

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: Song done British: Link

Same song, done Murrican: Link

/I love 'em both ways


Extra funny points: the Murrican way -- down to the very instruments being played -- was first done by the black and irish slaves those country boys used to own.

then the irish got uppity and called themselves white.
 
2012-11-21 05:41:48 AM

Joce678: SJKebab: Not just british. Basically everyone who sings in the english language sounds american when they sing. Anything else just sounds weird these days.

It's because that's how people sing in the music they listen to.

Look at how many little girl singers sing in that horrible faux-Irish accent when they sing.

This is how you spot true musical talent - they don't imitate everybody else, they do their own thing.


Unless it's a white girl 'singing like a black girl'...... then all bets are off.
 
2012-11-21 05:43:55 AM
So it's the r's. Funny, that's the same thing Gary Oldman said when he was on NPR.
 
2012-11-21 05:45:19 AM

Ablejack: david_gaithersburg: The British and Aussies are faking their accents. When others aren't within earshot they talk just like the rest of the world.

This is partly true. There was a TV program about the English accent. It claimed that Old English is approximated most closely in the mid-atlantic USA - Inland Virginia, if I recall. The British aristocracy has since deliberately affected their accent to sound exclusive and posh. Of course the bougie peeps followed suit, much like contemporary people often follow trends of celebrities. Different areas of course derived and developed their own regional accents from that model.
Funny that one of America's famous celebs, Madonna, has also adopted her own odd ostensibly british-styled accent from nowhere in particular. I have seen this phenomena of appropriating a similar 'posh' dialect in American cities as well. I've suspected it comes from some shame of one's own native dialect or a sense of identifying with a preferred group.


Of course it's shame. See also: the 'party planner' chick in first season revenge. Replace the chick and her accent with a 'Murrican. Parties aren't so 'posh and exclusive' anymore. Nothing but affectation to hire her, nothing but affectation for Madonna to get rid of her real accent.
 
2012-11-21 05:45:30 AM

Jim_Callahan: SJKebab: Not just british. Basically everyone who sings in the english language sounds american when they sing. Anything else just sounds weird these days.

More like the mental factors that distinguish music from speech in the human mind often displace the cultural factors in language that constitute an accent. It's not so much that we sound British when we're singing or the Brits sound American when they're singing as that we both sound like we're singing when we're singing.


That's partly right. Singing properly involves techniques like vowel modification that tend to cause pronunciations to converge. For example, no matter how you would normally speak the long E in "deer", when you sing that vowel in your upper register, it becomes more like the I in "hit". The A in "cat" becomes like the A in "talk", or even like the O in "pot". "ah" modifies to "aw", and so on.

Any trained singer knows enough of the IPA to make fine distinctions between phonemes, and can adapt fairly easily to sing in almost any language. Generally, if you can distinguish an ethnic accent in a song, it's either there for stylistic purposes, or the singer is un- or poorly-trained.

On a related note, the years of vocal training I had when I was younger, for both singing and acting, have enabled me to imitate convincingly almost any accent I hear, so I can retell jokes that my international friends tell me to much greater effect.
 
2012-11-21 05:46:53 AM

ExperianScaresCthulhu: See also: reports that the world saw New Karate Kid as Americans being Americans, while US folks saw New Karate Kid as being black Americans differentiated from white (aka 'general') Americans?


That makes sense though. To a foreigner, an American is an American. In the US, however, since we are ALL Americans we differentiate between different kinds of Americans (since we are such a diverse nation).

I would think that in England that if there was a movie about a Jamaican British person or Pakistani British person, Britons would see it in some ethnic context.

/You'd be surprised by the racism found in Europe, especially if you are from anywhere in the Americas.
 
2012-11-21 05:51:55 AM
 
2012-11-21 05:52:59 AM

AverageAmericanGuy: Gosling: This man knows why you don't stutter when you sing.

Everybody stutters, one way or the other.


B-b-baby you ain't seen nothin' yet!
 
2012-11-21 05:55:24 AM
Amy Whinehouse is not the sole standard for British singing, subby.
 
2012-11-21 06:12:52 AM
Regarding "sawr" it's just a case of linking/intrusive R, a feature of THEIR accent and not American ones. I am disappointed that the writer could have discussed the singing accent phenomenon but also be ignorant of this.
 
2012-11-21 06:13:56 AM
oi45.tinypic.com
All your arguments are invalid
 
2012-11-21 06:20:42 AM

fusillade762: Even when singers aren't trying to imitate a particular vocal style associated with a genre, regional dialects tend to get lost in song

This was always my theory.


CavalierEternal: [www.chartattack.com image 425x288]

Your argument is invalid.

Came for Blur. Leaving satisfied.

See also:

[www2.pictures.zimbio.com image 594x427]

[www.fusedmagazine.com image 800x1200]


That first one isn't Nena, is it? If it is, I don't think this argument counts when singing in a completely different language, at least in my opinion. Either way, I agree that dialects get lost. One of my examples was Ozzy taking vs. Ozzy singing, all the way back to the beginning.
 
2012-11-21 06:42:46 AM

phrawgh: Huh. I always assumed Brits to be talentless, soulless, vacant hacks and that all their artists were American imports. Who knew?


policelink.monster.com
 
2012-11-21 06:44:59 AM

Mikey1969: That first one isn't Nena, is it? If it is, I don't think this argument counts when singing in a completely different language, at least in my opinion.


That's Lily Allen.
 
2012-11-21 06:52:02 AM
 
Boe
2012-11-21 06:53:04 AM
Jarvis Cocker frowns on your shenanigans!
 
2012-11-21 06:54:28 AM
British hip hop shows tha author doesn't have much of a clue

Dizzee Rascal Link
Lethal Bizzle Link

/And for fun Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer Link
 
2012-11-21 07:02:10 AM

fusillade762: phrawgh: Huh. I always assumed Brits to be talentless, soulless, vacant hacks and that all their artists were American imports. Who knew?

[policelink.monster.com image 192x307]


You caught me. I like Brits. I really do. Hell, some of my best friends are Brits.
 
2012-11-21 07:11:46 AM

max_pooper: Austrian Irish accent - best for picking up chicks


FTFY
 
2012-11-21 07:36:20 AM
www.sirensofsong.com
 
2012-11-21 07:45:11 AM

ClintonKun: NicoFinn: "...as did Paul McCartney in his cover of "Till There Was You," pronouncing saw more like sawr."

Umm, I think that's actually part of some British dialects, isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I hear this a lot in spoken British English. I don't think Paul was trying to sound American, necessarily. More like he let his own accent slip out.

Also, British persons have this odd habit of putting an er on the end of words that end with a. Like "Americer" or "Obamer". Not sure if it's a recent development or not, and even though I tend to like British accents, that little quirk can get annoying.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linking_and_intrusive_R

Nope, it's about a 300 year old development.

/Used to teach English alongside Canadians, Britons, and Aussies.
 
2012-11-21 07:49:22 AM

Jim_Callahan: It's a common feature of rural/suburban dialect in south England and Whales.


i27.photobucket.com
 
2012-11-21 07:52:00 AM

DemoKnite: I used to think the same thing until I had lived in both countries for an extended time. Now, I can hear a British singer coming from a mile away.


I came here to say...they usually sound English to me. So I don't really get the article.

Unless they're TRYING to sound American, which is common in rock or blues music. Even then, when they say certain words I can usually tell.

Pink Floyd for instance, even as a rock band, sounds English.
Adele doesn't sound American to me either. I figured she wasn't, even before I knew where she was from.

Maybe most people are just really bad at picking up accents.
 
2012-11-21 07:53:53 AM

Z-clipped: max_pooper: Austrian Irish Oirish accent - best for picking up chicks


FTFY

Also, I'm pretty sure they're singing in English on this album, but sometime a bit difficult to tell:

images.uulyrics.com

Either way, it's fun to sing/grunt along to.
 
2012-11-21 07:55:02 AM
Meant to mention, that one of the best American imposters IMO is Robert Plant. Most of the time he sounds like a standard American rock singer. But like I mentioned above, they're TRYING to sound like American rock, so it's not like English singers just automatically sound American for some reason.
 
2012-11-21 08:01:25 AM

mkultra4013: Z-clipped: max_pooper: Austrian Irish Oirish accent - best for picking up chicks

FTFY

Also, I'm pretty sure they're singing in English on this album, but sometime a bit difficult to tell:

[images.uulyrics.com image 500x500]

Either way, it's fun to sing/grunt along to.


I love trying to figure out what they're saying.

This thread reminded me how much I love someone singing with an Irish or Scottish accent
 
2012-11-21 08:01:46 AM
This is the band that invalidates the argument:
www.musicko.com
 
2012-11-21 08:03:21 AM
4.bp.blogspot.com

This guy wins though with the whole "singing with an American accent" category.
 
2012-11-21 08:17:08 AM

LDM90: I never understood why people say that. When I was a kid I always thought everyone sang with an English accent. The Rs were softened, the way a British person leaves the R off the end of words. The Beatles were from England and every rock band that came after was inspired by them.

Of course in the last 15 or 20 years it's gone the opposite way, mostly thanks to Kurt Cobain. He wasn't really too bad about it but everyone imitating him has overdone it. Pronouncing everything with an ARRRRRrrr makes you sound angry or emotional or something I guess. Hell, even Taylor Swift does it.


Listen to Frank Sinatra. He would even sing consonants. Unorthodox, but he made it work. And well before Cobain.
 
2012-11-21 08:41:40 AM

FunkOut: Meanwhile, why do so many American punk singers sound British?


Because the Beatles. Everybody sounded English before 1980
 
2012-11-21 08:45:11 AM

FunkOut: Meanwhile, why do so many American punk singers sound British?


Bob Pollard's a punk?
 
2012-11-21 08:49:54 AM

ClintonKun:
Also, British persons have this odd habit of putting an er on the end of words that end with a. Like "Americer" or "Obamer". Not sure if it's a recent development or not, and even though I tend to like British accents, that little quirk can get annoying.


My grandmother, who's from Maine, also sprinkles the ends of many words with an "r."

\she's of English descent
\\drinks tea with milk, and has her entire life
\\\referred to her mother as "mum"
 
2012-11-21 08:52:59 AM
It goes to prove that American English is the proper, natural way to speak. British English is the accent, not American.
 
2012-11-21 08:53:56 AM

Dahnkster: Mel Tillis never stuttered when he sang...


If I had a dollar for every time an old person told me that, I might be able to afford speech therapy.
 
2012-11-21 08:54:55 AM

You are Borg: ClintonKun: NicoFinn: "...as did Paul McCartney in his cover of "Till There Was You," pronouncing saw more like sawr."

Umm, I think that's actually part of some British dialects, isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I hear this a lot in spoken British English. I don't think Paul was trying to sound American, necessarily. More like he let his own accent slip out.

Also, British persons have this odd habit of putting an er on the end of words that end with a. Like "Americer" or "Obamer". Not sure if it's a recent development or not, and even though I tend to like British accents, that little quirk can get annoying.

I hear it on the radio all the time when they mention Canader and Chiner, always found it very odd.



What about dropping middle TT sound in words like butter and better (e.g., "butter" is pronounced "bu'er" with a glottal stop)?

Or completely neglecting the "th" sound? When we were in England last week, you heard this everywhere, including the Home Counties: Many of them can't pronounce "th." I've heard rumors that many British can't actually hear the difference between "th" and v/f.

\ "I won the elf lo'ery!"
 
2012-11-21 08:56:42 AM

Tat'dGreaser: [4.bp.blogspot.com image 567x311]

This guy wins though with the whole "singing with an American accent" category.


oddly enough, i'm listening to that soundtrack right now
 
2012-11-21 09:00:01 AM
Did not and does not sound American:

upload.wikimedia.org

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-11-21 09:08:11 AM

Andrew Wiggin: oddly enough, i'm listening to that soundtrack right now


Love that flick
 
2012-11-21 09:21:49 AM

X-Geek: [www.sirensofsong.com image 640x479]


Love me some Harriet Wheeler...
 
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