Nugget of Knowledge: Accent falls away when singing

Dragging out syllables to keep the beat cancels an accent

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Why do accents seem to disappear with singers?

You’ll hear an interview with, say, Adele, and there’s no doubt she’s British.

Listen to her sing and you’ll think, no she’s not.

It’s the same thing with the Beatles. They sounded cockney and sang in, what, American?

Actually, yes.

When you sing, you have to stress certain syllables and stretch out certain vowels.

The result ends up sounding almost “American.”

The generic “American” accent is fairly neutral. Even American singers with a strong New York accent or country accent tend to lose it unless they deliberately want to keep a country sound.

Put it this way: melody and beat cancels out the rhythm of speech. You’ll hear a person’s accent when he’s speaking at normal speed.

When singing, the pace is often slower. The singer has to draw out words and pronounce them more, and the accent becomes more neutral.

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