Where Do Accents Go When People Sing?

Having a conversation with Noel Gallagher requires a translator who speaks fluent Mancunian. I’ve sat with the man several times and I’ve had to ask him to repeat himself because I couldn’t understand a word he said. But when he sings, he’s totally understandable.  No accent.  Why?

The short answer is that singing prevents you from stressing syllables, the “supersegmentals,” if you want to get technical about it.  The rhythm of a song often limits your ability to pronounce words–vowels, especially–in the way you would when you’re speaking normally.  Your accent gets neutralized.

The full explanation can be found at BuzzFeed.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38542 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Where Do Accents Go When People Sing?

  • 🙂
    … since English is my second language, I thought that I was so stupid ear-trained that I could not understand him. Good to have your confession. Now I know my ear-train is not that stupid.


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