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Accents in Folk Music

GUEST,Tunesmith 03 Jun 08 - 04:50 PM
John MacKenzie 03 Jun 08 - 04:54 PM
Bert 03 Jun 08 - 04:56 PM
Sue Allan 03 Jun 08 - 05:00 PM
glueman 03 Jun 08 - 05:06 PM
Bonzo3legs 03 Jun 08 - 05:09 PM
Def Shepard 03 Jun 08 - 05:12 PM
glueman 03 Jun 08 - 05:28 PM
Tangledwood 03 Jun 08 - 05:36 PM
Def Shepard 03 Jun 08 - 05:42 PM
Rowan 03 Jun 08 - 07:12 PM
meself 03 Jun 08 - 07:44 PM
the button 03 Jun 08 - 07:59 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Jun 08 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 04 Jun 08 - 03:26 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Jun 08 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,VP 04 Jun 08 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 04 Jun 08 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 04 Jun 08 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 04 Jun 08 - 07:17 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jun 08 - 07:24 AM
Grab 04 Jun 08 - 08:18 AM
Sue Allan 04 Jun 08 - 08:40 AM
Phil Edwards 04 Jun 08 - 08:51 AM
Saro 04 Jun 08 - 09:23 AM
theleveller 04 Jun 08 - 09:41 AM
glueman 04 Jun 08 - 09:50 AM
theleveller 04 Jun 08 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 04 Jun 08 - 11:10 AM
Goose Gander 04 Jun 08 - 11:26 AM
theleveller 04 Jun 08 - 11:29 AM
Sue Allan 04 Jun 08 - 11:31 AM
theleveller 04 Jun 08 - 12:09 PM
PoppaGator 04 Jun 08 - 01:00 PM
Grab 04 Jun 08 - 01:41 PM
Phil Edwards 04 Jun 08 - 01:47 PM
dick greenhaus 04 Jun 08 - 01:54 PM
melodeonboy 04 Jun 08 - 02:20 PM
Def Shepard 04 Jun 08 - 02:23 PM
Ferrara 04 Jun 08 - 03:09 PM
GUEST 04 Jun 08 - 03:19 PM
Def Shepard 04 Jun 08 - 03:22 PM
Richard Mellish 04 Jun 08 - 04:05 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Jun 08 - 06:46 PM
glueman 04 Jun 08 - 06:56 PM
Phil Edwards 04 Jun 08 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 04 Jun 08 - 07:48 PM
dick greenhaus 04 Jun 08 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,dazbo at work 05 Jun 08 - 03:49 AM
theleveller 05 Jun 08 - 04:24 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Jun 08 - 04:57 AM
Piers Plowman 05 Jun 08 - 05:33 AM
theleveller 05 Jun 08 - 05:48 AM
Piers Plowman 05 Jun 08 - 06:15 AM
Grab 05 Jun 08 - 06:43 AM
Phil Edwards 05 Jun 08 - 06:50 AM
theleveller 05 Jun 08 - 06:54 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Jun 08 - 07:40 AM
Piers Plowman 05 Jun 08 - 10:16 AM
melodeonboy 05 Jun 08 - 10:20 AM
RobbieWilson 05 Jun 08 - 10:32 AM
Bonzo3legs 05 Jun 08 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Offkey in Portland 05 Jun 08 - 01:49 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Jun 08 - 01:52 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Jun 08 - 04:49 PM
Tootler 05 Jun 08 - 07:58 PM
melodeonboy 06 Jun 08 - 04:43 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Jun 08 - 04:54 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 06 Jun 08 - 07:03 AM
trevek 06 Jun 08 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,meself 06 Jun 08 - 10:54 AM
Grab 06 Jun 08 - 12:21 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Jun 08 - 02:51 PM
trevek 06 Jun 08 - 03:04 PM
trevek 06 Jun 08 - 03:36 PM
Steve Gardham 06 Jun 08 - 04:51 PM
Tootler 06 Jun 08 - 04:57 PM
RobbieWilson 06 Jun 08 - 09:32 PM
Rowan 06 Jun 08 - 11:29 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jun 08 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Ewan Spawned a Monster 07 Jun 08 - 02:55 AM
trevek 07 Jun 08 - 04:03 AM
The Sandman 07 Jun 08 - 04:09 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jun 08 - 05:03 AM
The Sandman 07 Jun 08 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,facetime 07 Jun 08 - 11:43 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jun 08 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Mademoiselle Nobs 07 Jun 08 - 12:26 PM
meself 07 Jun 08 - 12:56 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jun 08 - 02:57 PM
meself 07 Jun 08 - 03:51 PM
Richard Mellish 07 Jun 08 - 04:39 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jun 08 - 04:52 PM
Bonzo3legs 07 Jun 08 - 05:00 PM
trevek 08 Jun 08 - 12:20 PM
meself 08 Jun 08 - 12:44 PM
trevek 08 Jun 08 - 12:46 PM
meself 08 Jun 08 - 01:05 PM
Don Firth 08 Jun 08 - 01:53 PM
Gene Burton 08 Jun 08 - 02:01 PM
trevek 08 Jun 08 - 02:04 PM
Don Firth 08 Jun 08 - 02:14 PM
Bonzo3legs 08 Jun 08 - 03:35 PM
Bonzo3legs 08 Jun 08 - 03:36 PM
trevek 08 Jun 08 - 03:38 PM
Kiss Me Slow Slap Me Quick 08 Jun 08 - 03:46 PM
mattkeen 09 Jun 08 - 10:42 AM
BB 09 Jun 08 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Volgadon 09 Jun 08 - 12:51 PM
Stringsinger 09 Jun 08 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 09 Jun 08 - 07:32 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 May 11 - 01:01 AM
Joe Offer 22 May 11 - 01:33 AM
GUEST,Desi C 22 May 11 - 08:22 AM
Musket 22 May 11 - 09:55 AM
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Subject: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 04:50 PM

We've been here before, but the "Peggy Seeger Cockney Leadbelly" thread started me thinking about it again. I really believe that all great folk/blues/world singers have sung in their natural voice, and by that I mean they sing/sang in a voice that echoed their natural speaking voice. Some would argue that you can't sing the blues in a Irish - or whatever, accent. Nonsense! Indeed, if we reverse the arguement we can see how silly such a viewpoint is. For example, if Hank Williams sang Raglan Road should he adopt an Irish accent or would it be better if he used his own natural singing voice? I hope nobody thinks the former!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 04:54 PM

Ever hear Rambling Jack Elliot sing 'I belong to Glasgow'?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Bert
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 04:56 PM

...I really believe that all great folk/blues/world singers have sung in their natural voice...

Hmmm, that of course means that Dylan isn't great.

I always try to sound like myself but with some songs, Manura Manyah, for one, it is difficult. Doesn't stop me singing it though.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Sue Allan
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:00 PM

I have problems with some dialect songs: I know and understand and can speak my local dialect, but have never habitually used it. So I feel I'm singing in a false accent, even though strictly speaking its my native one.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: glueman
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:06 PM

Neil Tennant is an example here, singing in impeccable posh, gay, Newcastle. Rachel Unthank OTOH, sounds like a lady about to ask who you feckin looking at man woman at the end of each verse.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:09 PM

Rock n Roll sounds daft in any English accent to me, we always used to sing it in a USAian accent. George Faux had an interesting accent for folk music. He could make finger rhyme with window.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Def Shepard
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:12 PM

glueman said, "Rachel Unthank OTOH, sounds like a lady about to ask who you feckin looking at man woman at the end of each verse."

as well she should :-D

Acents with me are not a good idea, I don't do them well, Except fer me Brummie accent, an' naaa I doy sound loike Ozzy Osbourne :-D


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: glueman
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:28 PM

DS I miss hearing Black Country from the days I worked nearby but confess to finding it the most impenetrable sound imaginable. On Saturday we're going over to my wife's family reunion so I'll have to get my yamyam-english, english-yamyam dictionary sorted.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Tangledwood
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:36 PM

A poorly executed attempt at another accent really grates on the ears and detracts from the rest of the performance. There's one problem I have though - how do you sing a song containing Scottish vocabulary without slipping into a phoney accent to match it?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Def Shepard
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 05:42 PM

You might find the following useful, glueman,

Songbooks for the Black Country and Birmingham


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Rowan
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 07:12 PM

I really believe that all great folk/blues/world singers have sung in their natural voice, and by that I mean they sing/sang in a voice that echoed their natural speaking voice.

Leaving aside any notion that I might aggrandise myself as "great", Tunesmith's proposition has some exceptions, while being generally correct.

Most people speak, most of the time, in a voice that doesn't require much in the way of projection unless they're speaking to a large audience or issuing instructions over distance or ambient noise (to use several examples in my experience); conversational levels don't often require projection. Where projection is required (such as in the examples listed, or when singing, the character (and thus accent) of most voices may change and sometimes the change may be extensive, without the speaker/singer being aware of it. Singing teachers teach, among other things, how to control such changes to produce desired effects.

Another exception to Tunesmith's proposition, in my experience, is where the singer acquires their songs aurally rather than by 'reading'. Using my own experience as an example, I started acquiring songs literally "at my mother's knee" and many of them were sung by family and friends who, even in Oz, had regional accents that were subtly different. I sang the songs with the accents I heard them sung in. This got to the stage where, a quarter of a century later, I was singing some song from Durham to a group of friends in the folk scene in Melbourne; after I'd sung it one came up to me and asked if I'd spent time there as I'd sung it with (to them) a completely authentic accent. Well, I still haven't been to Durham nor even north of Nottingham (I'd heard the song on a mate's LP I suspect) and I thought I was singing it in my normal voice.

Most of you from north of the equator would certainly pick my accent as Oz and never think my "Durham" accent had any resemblance of validity/authenticity but I was just singing what I'd heard. Even now, that's how I learn tunes on the leather ferret, although my fingers certainly don't replicates them with the same felicity as my vocal chords, probably because my vocal chords had had a head start.

And, to add another layer of difference between the "natural" spoken voice and its singing counterpart, I was gobsmacked at how "Oz" my accent was, the first time I heard a tape of it. This was when I worked at the Melbourne distributors of National (now Panasonic), who "did" tape decks and we played around with one; it was my speaking voice but the tape heard an accent that was vastly different from what my ears were hearing; these days (now that I'm used to hearing recordings with my voice cluttering up the sonics) I "think" my singing voice has a similar accent (much of the time) to my speaking voice but there are still differences I can discern. Probably, they are there for the reasons I've suggested.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 07:44 PM

This has proven a contentious subject on this forum, for the reason that those who have made a habit if not a career of affecting accents, or AN accent, seem to feel - understandably - under attack when the practice is criticized. So it's one of those subjects that cannot be discussed calmly and amicably for very long ...


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: the button
Date: 03 Jun 08 - 07:59 PM

One of the things that always strikes me about listening to certain traditional singers (Fred Jordan & Walter Pardon especially) is that they have less of an "accent" when they sing compared with when they speak. But then they don't have to prove their authenticity by "singing in an accent," do they?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:19 AM

"Ever hear Rambling Jack Elliot sing 'I belong to Glasgow'?"
Or The Red Army Choir singing 'It's a Long Way To Tipperary'?
'Walter Pardon especially'
Towards the end of his life we played Walter an early recording of himself singing on a radio programme. His response was "didn't I sing broad in them days; you can hardly understand me!"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:26 AM

I have a CD of the Red Army Choir singing Tipperary! They had released an album of soldier songs from the world over.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:39 AM

Volgadon;
Lovely sound
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,VP
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 04:11 AM

"It's a Long Way To Tickle Mary"


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 05:29 AM

I'll admit up front I'm no singer and even worse at doing accents. To me, as I've grown up, I've come to dislike singers singing in affected accents more and more. Much of English pop seems to be sung in a psuedo US accent and it's always a pleasure to hear pop sung in an English voice.

Folk is the same, I'd rather someone sing in their own accent (unless they've totally mastered mimicing the "foriegn" accent) and where necessary translate a dialect phrase or word. For example I love Bonny at Morn but when I sing it (for my own pleasure well away from anyone else) using a word like kye is, and sounds, ridiculous in my Middle Saxon accent.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 05:31 AM

That seems to be Martin Carthy's philosophy.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 07:17 AM

"There's one problem I have though - how do you sing a song containing Scottish vocabulary without slipping into a phoney accent to match it?"

A very important and sensible question.
1) If there is just an odd Lallans word in the song – sing it without an assumed accent and don't worry.
2) If there are a few such, see if you can replace all/most of them with standard English equivalents. If so sing it without an assumed accent and don't worry.
3) If there is a one off reason for singing it (the writer died the day before, or your Scottish grandmother has come to watch you and desperately wants you to sing it) fine – apologise, explain and do it with cod accent if you need it. Once.
4) Otherwise DON'T SING IT. Is that harsh of me? It's just that there are many many thousands of folk songs out there, most of which do not require an assumed accent, and which would be perfectly good alternatives. Why do people have to insist on their right to sing exactly what they want to sing, irrespective of whether by any objective standards it is a good idea?
I see exactly the same thing happening with the 'ownership' of songs. At one time (and I don't just mean in Traditional Land; it was the case in most folk clubs until comparatively recently) if a singer in a particular area was known to sing a specific song, noone else would sing it when that person was there. In many cases not even when they were absent. God forgive me, I can remember in the seventies waiting anxiously for a certain person to carry out his promise to move to another area so I could lay claim to 'Harry Was A Bolshie'. Nowadays I've had people ask me for the words of a song (which as always I have willingly given) and within a few weeks they've been singing it there in front of me.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 07:24 AM

So long as the English accent in question is not Lily Allen (or similar). I dislike it about as much as I dislike the sound of Kate Bush.

I do think it is manners not to sing a song that soeone else does if they are there unless they have expressly or impliedly given permission. The Young Coppers were there at the Pigs Ear folk ale last weekend and no way was I going to do any Copper songs with them aroun or even impending.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Grab
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 08:18 AM

One problem with the "regular" English accent is that it mostly consists of short vowel sounds. This reaches positively ludicrous levels in Lancashire (where I'm from), where people literally don't finish pronouncing the ends of words or sentences - it just kind of tails off about 90% of the way through. This is a tendency which took me quite a while to fix when I started singing lessons!

The problem is though that if you simply elongate your vowels, your accent becomes very "upper clarsse", because that's the major characteristic of the upper-class accent. This might be fine for classical, but it doesn't work for rock or pop, nor folk either. So I think that's a major factor for why British people often end up with a slight American accent when they sing - the vowels are slightly shifted in a way which allows for a more natural-feeling delivery, but this has the effect of changing the accent. Singing "laave" for "love" is a perfect example of this.

It might also be worth noting that it's thought the American accent historically *was* the British accent. But the Americans kept the same accent (and words like "catercorner"), whilst the native British-English speakers changed how they spoke and lost some words from their vocabulary.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Sue Allan
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 08:40 AM

Interestingly, the singers onthe Pass the Jug Round album (recorded in 1954 near Carlisle) all speak very strong dialect when they introduce their songs, but moderate this to more standard English when they sing.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 08:51 AM

This might be fine for classical, but it doesn't work for rock or pop, nor folk either. So I think that's a major factor for why British people often end up with a slight American accent when they sing

I never, ever, ever sing with a slight American accent, ever. Not ever. Sometimes when I learn a song from a record I find I've picked up a bit of the accent it was sung in (Paddy McAloon's faint Irish is good, or bad, for this) and I have to school myself to sing in my own voice. But American? Never. (And I have sung bits of Dylan, although that's something of a special case - an off-the-peg 'mid-Atlantic' accent wouldn't sound anything like him, but if you did try and sound him it would sound either spooky* or ridiculous.)

Dunno about the elongated vowels - my sense is that a lot of the long notes in traditional songs have long vowels to go with them ("the trees they do grow hiiiigh and the leaves they do grow greeeen"). It is an oral tradition, after all - the songs wouldn't have come down to us in the shape they're in if they were unsingable, or unsingable without sounding posh or American.

*I did once hear a young bloke doing Dylan numbers who sounded *exactly* like the man himself, right down to the picking style - and it was a bit spooky. Wonder if he's made a career out of it.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Saro
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 09:23 AM

This is an issue which Craig Morgan Robson think about a lot, as we consist of a Scot, a Northumbrian and a Southerner (albeit with some Yorkshire roots, but they are buried a bit deep!) who sing together in harmony.   We are very keen on singing songs from each of our "home" regions, which potentially poses a problem of accent. I would never attempt to sing a song from the North East as a solo, but when Carolyn leads a song in which she uses her native accent, I know that I adapt to match her vowel sounds as closely as I can, as to me that is part of creating the blend of sound that we want to make. We have tried singing songs (as an example at a workshop) where we each maintain our "original" accents and we now find it almost impossible, as we so used to tuning in to each other.

However, this doesn't feel so much like "changing my accent" as "matching the sound of my fellow singer".   I don't think I could cope with "putting on" a different accent for singing regional songs as a soloist, and I have to confess I find it a bit grating when I hear it from others. I don't count those who are have two accents - the one they were brought up with and the one they had to learn for school or work - I think they are just lucky to be "bi-accentual" if there is such a term!
Saro


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 09:41 AM

"I have problems with some dialect songs: I know and understand and can speak my local dialect, but have never habitually used it"

I tend to agree with Sue. When I sing East Riding songs, including those I've written, I tend to use an East Riding accent, as it is used today. The traditional accent, especially from oop in t' Wooalds, is so strong as to be unfathomable to most people nowadays. In fact, my grandfather (who spoke it) used to tell me that, before the war, some Danes came to East Yorkshire and could understand and communicate with the locals because the vocabulary was so similar.

Incidentally, has anyone noticed that John Jones of Oysterband, although he doesn't speak with one, sings with a pronounced lisp (or should that be pronounced lithp?).


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: glueman
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 09:50 AM

"before the war, some Danes came to East Yorkshire and could understand and communicate with the locals because the vocabulary was so similar."

This may be a folk tale spread by ostention. I've heard the same said of Northumbrian dialect and that Newcastle and Norwegian fisherman could understand one another's, and also of Norfolk. I fear it belongs with the tale that the first place the wind from the Urals hits is The Wolds (Yorks or Lincs), Belvoir Castle, Marjory Hill, etc.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 10:33 AM

You could be right, Glueman, although it's been quite well documented – actually, it was Danish soldiers during the first world war. Unfortunately, my grandfather died many years ago so I can't ask him if he had personal experience of this, although I have it in my mind that he was. The Old English and Old Norse roots are very similar.

I was always told that is was the wind blowing from the urinals! (And Driffield is supposed to be the coldest place in England).


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 11:10 AM

Glueman's story isn't so far fetched. I went interrailing round Europe and camping in various camps sites there were whole sentences spoken that I understood perfectly - and they weren't speaking English.

I was always told that going due east from the top of Harrow On The Hill the next highest land you got to was the Ural Mountains (IIRC HotH is about 250Ft and due east is mainly the North German Plain which I believe to be flat and lower than 250fty).


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Goose Gander
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 11:26 AM

"One of the things that always strikes me about listening to certain traditional singers (Fred Jordan & Walter Pardon especially) is that they have less of an "accent" when they sing compared with when they speak."

Listening to the interviews with Harry Cox on 'What Will Become of England?' (Rounder 1839), his Norfolk accent is (to me) nearly incomprehensible, but I have little or no trouble understanding his singing.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 11:29 AM

Those, like me, of an anally-retentive disposition may find this is of interest.

www.genuki.org/big/eng/YKS/Misc/Books/FolkTalk/Chapter7.html

The rest may prefer to talk amongst yourselves.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Sue Allan
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 11:31 AM

hi leveller, link just seems to go to a site 'under construction' ...
(damn - I've just admitted I'm also of the AR disposition!)


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 12:09 PM

Hmmm... not sure what's happening there. If you Google Yorkshire Folk Talk - Danish Comparisons you should get there.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 01:00 PM

I've been reluctant to chime in, because I've expressed my (unpopular) views on this topic many times before.

Also, this seems to be a controversy pursued much more passionately on one side of the Atlantic than the other, and I live on the side where we're not too worried about this.

Perhaps one reason is that folks in the UK are so very conscious of the many different accents that still survive in different geographical areas (and in different social classes, too), while in the US, we are much further along the road to homogenization. We still have regional accents, to a degree, but they're dying out as our people become ever so much more mobile, and as a nationwide media market exerts an ever-increasing degree of influence upon us.

All that said, let me posit what I believe to be fairly universally true: The song and the musical form (or "genre") has a whole lot to do with determining a singer's pronunciation of lyrics.

Now, there's a big difference between a tasteful and sympathetic approach to a song's native and built-in "accent," on the one hand, and a slavish and ill-informed attempt at imitation of persons of a linguistic subculture different from one's own.

For example, there are any number of excellent blues/R&B singers who are white Americans and white Britons, and what they are doing is far removed from the blackface/minstrel-show entertainment of an earlier generation. Any halfway decent interpreter of the blues will sing in his/her "own voice," but at the same time will employ a set of standard, traditonal vocal sounds that should not be considered imitations of Black American speech, but rather as integral sonic features of a musical tradition.

Let me offer an example from outside the world of music and song to demonstrate that an element of "accent" can be built into a given bit of lyric, so that it can only be uttered using its own "native" vowel and cononant sounds. Find a copy of the collected works of John Milllington Synge, or of any one of his plays ~ "Playboy of the Western World," or any of the one-acts.

Read that material out loud ~ it's impossible not to employ a bit of an Irish accent or "brogue." Much of this effect is undoubtedly due to the rhythms and lilt of the poetry; word-order within sentences must be part of it, too. I don't claim to understand exactly why it is that a composition of words on a page can dictate the manner in which they are pronounced aloud, but it certainly seems to work that way, whether or not we understand why.

Now, the way that you or I read Synge aloud may not exactly match the true accent of any particular region or subculture in Ireland (although Synge is probably forcing us to speak more-or-less like the residents of his beloved Aran Islands). But we are going to adopt certain dipthong sounds and certain rhythms that are common to all the various regional accents of Ireland.

If any of us were to portray one of these characters on stage, we'd be expected to speak in a manner that is NOT precisely our own native accent, but not blatant overstated "stage Oyrish," either. Any halfway decent actor, even an amateur, will find a way to use his own voice, certainly, but to add a layer of interpretation in the form of pronunciations that differ from his everyday offstage speech.

I would argue that the same goes for performance of songs, not all songs certainly, but many songs that are identified with a particular culture or that are typical of a given style. I would tell anyone wondering whether or not to sing a particular song, or how to pronounce its lyrics, just to trust your instincts ~ and also, if there's any doubt, to "try it out" with a limited audience of trusted friends and advisors before going more widely public.

If you have grave doubts that you can perform a given number adequately, you may be right ~ your own ambivalent feelings will be evident in your performance. There is always a way to sing "naturally" and "in one's own voice" on the one hand, and to use pronunciations appropriate to the song on the other. However, there's an art to this. Ask yourself if you're capable of this particular tighhtrope act; also ask yourself if you feel capable of learning. I'd say that we're all capable, but unless you start off with a bit of confidence, you won't be able to do it.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Grab
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 01:41 PM

Phil, I don't mean deliberately. To be honest I think the problem is that as people with English accents we need to find that compromise between how we talk and how we sing, because our speaking accents are uniquely mis-suited to singing. That compromise won't always end up with a recognisably-English accent. And as I said in my last post, some of these songs might have been written back when we *were* speaking like Americans. :-)

Lest people misinterpret how I wrote my earlier post, that would be "lah-ah-ahve" for "love". A long-vowel "lahve" for "love" is what Brits would see as a classic example of an American accent. A shorter harder "lav" for "love" is a classic estuary-English accent. Northerners would say something more like "loov" with a short vowel. Neither is well-suited for singing. And singing "lo-o-ove" perfectly on the vowel puts you squarely into the "I-want-to-sing-like-Noel-Coward-let's-all-go-to-elocution-lessons-old-bean" ballpark. More commonly with less-good singers, on longer notes the vowel sound changes as the singer moves through the note. This usually sounds horrible, with some strangled sound like "loh-ah-arve". An alternative to all this of course is the more nasal traditional-folk delivery which often results in something more like "loi-i-ive" - and now we're heading towards an Irish accent.

The letter "i" is another similar problem, in that it's virtually impossible to sing a long "i" without becoming nasal, and most people don't like that kind of sound unless you're consciously aiming for a trad-folk delivery (which again is different from anyone's spoken accent). So "smile" might become "smahle" - again, we're into American vowels again. Phil, to take part of your example, "hiiiigh" is almost universally sung "hah-ah-igh" - American again.

As several people have said earlier, singers usually lose much of their regional accent when they sing. I think it's simply because you *can't* usually sing in those accents! (I'd submit three Geordie nominations of Jimmy Nail, Chris Rea and Mark Knopfler, all of whom are broad Geordie when speaking but not at all when singing.) Where English singers *do* stick with their speaking accent in singing, I think it's very often as part of an act which consciously trades on their regional (or ethnic) background, like Cockney music-hall songs.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 01:47 PM

Dunno, PG. If the actors in your 'stage Irish' aren't being coached for authenticity, it's highly likely that they'll end up with slightly different Irish accents. I don't know much about accents, but I always notice that kind of thing ("oh, is he not from round here, then?"). As for singers, I always want to ask singers with fake American accents which part of the US they think they're from. I'm a great believer in making the song your own - which means not putting on any of the stereotypical 'folk voices', as far as possible, as well as not doing foreign accents.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 01:54 PM

Whatever works.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: melodeonboy
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 02:20 PM

"singers usually lose much of their regional accent when they sing. I think it's simply because you *can't* usually sing in those accents!"

Blimey! I don't think the Coppers had/have much trouble singing in their own accent. I don't either. I doubt if anyone else did up to the age of mass communications. I find the idea that someone has to adopt a foreign accent in order to sing quite bizarre.

What next? Dolly Parton singing with a Geordie accent? Jamaican reggae stars singing in HIghland Scots? Or perhaps Vin Garbutt with a Texan accent? The mind boggles!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Def Shepard
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 02:23 PM

melodeonboy said, "What next? Dolly Parton singing with a Geordie accent? Jamaican reggae stars singing in HIghland Scots? Or perhaps Vin Garbutt with a Texan accent? The mind boggles! "

You'll be giving a certain VERY pro-English patriot a heart attack, don't know about anything else :-D


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Ferrara
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:09 PM

I sang the songs with the accents I heard them sung in. - Rowan. On the Helen Hartness Flanders collected recordings, singers from New England sang songs with Irish and other accents, corresponding to the accents of the singers they learned them from. I.E., It's a natural thing to do when a song is learned aurally.

GUEST, VP - in my dad's WWI Army songbook the title is, "That's the Wrong Way to Tickle Mary."

Some people can't help picking up accents. I'm one of those. I spent 6 weeks with friends in England, came back to the U.S. with one of them, and was asked, "and what part of England are you from?" And in Munich, people asked whether I grew up there. I.e., I was unconsciously speaking German with a Munich accent. And in Naples, people I met said, "We can tell you're Neapolitan." Etc. It just happens.

The hardest thing for me is to sing an English ballad with standard American pronunciation. I prefer American ballads, because I don't have to work so hard to say "get" when my mind is trying to say "git" thanks to my mom's Georgia accent which I still haven't got rid of....


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:19 PM

"Northerners would say something more like "loov""

You talkin' ter me, luv?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Def Shepard
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 03:22 PM

In Birmingham (UK) that would be

Yaouw talkin' ter me, love? :-D


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 04:05 PM

If I want to sing a Scots song and can manage to render it into standard English, well and good. If I can't, I'll sing it in Scots: inevitably not a totally authentic accent from any particular part of Scotland, but a generalised lowland accent learnt from listening to many singers and from having "stayed" just outside Edinburgh for some 18 months in my younger days. This is not ideal, but I consider it preferable to losing many of the rhymes.

Something that I dislike in certain singers (who shall be nameless) is singing a Scots song in an English accent except for an occasional "doon", "toon", "frae" and the like. I see no sense in mixing Scots pronunciations of a few words with English pronunciations of everything else. Either sing in Scots or sing in English, not a mixture.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 06:46 PM

As a folk song collector coming from a family of traditional singers one of my biggest frustrations is my mother who normally speaks with a straight local accent but when I record her singing she automatically adopts her 'telephone voice'. It just does not work!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: glueman
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 06:56 PM

A minefield. It's impossible to imagine singing 'the wee lass on the the brae' without a hint of Scots inflection. Substituting the words for standard English would just be surreal. That way lies madness.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 07:08 PM

I think 'Suffolk Miracle' had it about right - naturalise it if you can, and if you can't then sing something else. I did once do horrible things to Twa Corbies, although in my defence

a) I only did it because I wanted to pair it with Three Ravens (is Twa Corbies an 'answer ballad'?)
b) I asked if there were any Scots in, and apologised to them in advance.

It's a challenge - and fun - to get inside the skin of a song in a different version of English (or a close relation of English, depending how you see Scots): those birds aren't crows and they're not cawbies either, they're corbies with an R, and they're not "making moan", they're quite definitely makkin' mane... But I think the temptation should be resisted - it's not so much a foreign language as somebody else's language, and in the case of Scots or Irish English that somebody might well be in the audience.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 07:48 PM

As a Scottish blues singer, I wish I knew what accent I speak and sing in. I grew up in Edinburgh, with a father from Wester Ross, and cousins farming in Angus, so that by the time I was eight I was aware of my accent changing with the circumstances. Most of the music on the radio was from the Robert Wilson/Kenneth MacKellar school of singing, and in Church we sang in an attempt at an accentless style for the most part. When Rock 'n Roll came along I sang what I heard, and probably picked up and American singing accent - my first wife told me that was what I had apart from heavily rolled Rs. Since then I've lived in Tyneside, Surrey, then Wigan for a short time.

Signed

Confused of Chester.

PS I've caught myself speaking German with a slight Cologne accent!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Jun 08 - 08:19 PM

As I reflect upon singers who have adopted accents, I keep recalling the likes of Peggy Seeger, Buell Kazee, Rambling Jack Elliot, Dave Van Ronk, Jean Redpath, Stanley Holloway, Utah Phillipps and a horde of other who are (I guess) not good. Also Dylan, but I won't get into arguments about him.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,dazbo at work
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 03:49 AM

Theleveller,

Just tried to google Google Yorkshire Folk Talk - Danish Comparisons and this thread was the second item that came up. Not obvious which site it should be at first glance - must get to look like I'm working before the boss gets in.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 04:24 AM

Hi Dazbo. When I googled it as 'pages from the UK' it was the first that came up. Hmmmmm...that's google for you. Yup, back to work!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 04:57 AM

For me, the singing of (folk) songs is a matter of trust. For the duration of the song an audience will be asked to listen while the singer communicate a bundle of emotions, ideas, experiences... whatever. In order for the song to work (to my satisfaction) they are asked to believe what the singer is singing/saying, or, at the very least, believe that the singer believes it. If the song is beyond logical acceptance, the listener should be able to suspend their belief for its duration, otherwise it becomes an exercise in technique. Personally, I can't see how this can happen if the language the singer uses is far removed from the way he or she normally speaks, often so far as to sound ridiculous.
I wonder how Americans feel about British singers putting on mock-Southern accents, or East Anglians when somebody from the Smoke does their ooo-aar bit, or an Abedonian listening to a Brummie trying to sound as if he had just come in straight from the bothy.
I can remember my own feelings in the sixties when we Liverpudlians were treated to songs by 'scousers' hailing from anywhere from Scapa Flow to the Isle of Wight - somewhat amused, to say the least. Here in Ireland the practice is occasionally referred to as 'Gobshite Oirish'.
Years ago we became involved (slightly) in the storytelling scene, when we took a few of the traditional storytellers we were recording around to some of the sessions. The contrast between, say Londoners desperately trying to sound as if they had osmosised their stories beside a smouldering turf fire while sitting on their shawl-clad mammie's laps, and Traveller Mikeen McCarthy quietly telling his fantastic tales in his natural Kerry accent, was stunning.
The one bright spark among the revival storytellers was a young West Indian man who told tales from all over the world in his own rich way of speaking.
For me the storytelling movement eventually foundered on the rocks of its own tweeness, and accent played a major part in that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 05:33 AM

"For me the storytelling movement eventually foundered on the rocks of its own tweeness [...]"

Ah, "The Rocks o' Tweeness" --- now there's a fine title for a ballad! To be sung only in a phony Scottish accent.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I've been lurking here for awhile but haven't posted before. I've read this thread and the one about Peggy Seeger with great interest, but hadn't yet felt called upon to contribute my two cents, although it's an issue that affects me, as it affects anyone else who love folksongs and ballads and is not a master of all of the world's many languages and accents.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 05:48 AM

I've actually got a real problem, not with 'foreign' accents, but with my 'native' East Riding accent. For a couple of years I've been writing a series of songs interlinked with stories, all based around East Yorkshire. Having lived for a large part of my adult life outside the area, all over England and abroad, my own accent is a bit of a mishmash. What's more, I can't find anyone who now speaks the 'real' East Riding who could teach it to me (and would anyone be able to understand it anyway?). Also, should I try to recreate the accent in the written word as well as attempting to perform it in the true speech?

An extra problem arises when I come to Hull, where one branch of my family stems from – this has an accent all its own.

There's a lot of Yorkshire dialect stuff around in West Riding and south Yorkshire dialects, but I can't find much in East Riding dialect – I haven't even heard Jim Eldon do anything in the old wolds speech.

So, what I've decided is that, because accents and speech change dramatically over time, and the scope of my piece goes from pre-history to the present day, I'll use a modern-day East Riding accent, or as close to it as I can come. There has to be compromise somewhere along the road.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 06:15 AM

Jim Carroll wrote: "I wonder how Americans feel about British singers putting on mock-Southern accents"

Well, I think it's a bit silly, but no more than if I would do it myself. (I'm an American living in Germany.) I do really loathe "phony voice singing", when singers habitually affect an accent or a set of mannerisms. However, what is one supposed to do when singing a traditional ballad that was collected in a regional accent? I really prefer such versions to the smoothed-over arrangements.

So, no ultimate answer from me, I'm afraid.

The choice seems to be sing it wrong or don't sing it at all. For most people, it's not really practicable to learn to "do" accents. Some actors can, but I doubt whether this approach is appropriate for singers (just my opinion).


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Grab
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 06:43 AM

Aye Guest, I am, as a Lancashire lad. It's a short "oo", whether you transcribe it as "loov" or "luv". The trouble is that the "u" in "luv" would pronounced differently dahn Sarf, which is why the old mid-Lancashire greeting "eh-up chuck" is sometimes written as "chook" by people trying to convey how that person talks. (For that matter, I don't know if anyone's got a formal spelling of "eh-up" - is it "eyup" or "eyoop"? :-)

That's part of the problem - how to discuss this. We're trying to convey accents with letters, but everyone from every different region has a different idea of how to pronounce that letter or combination of letters!

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 06:50 AM

Speaking as a transplanted ex-Southerner, 'phonetic' spellings like "loov" and "chook" irritate me enormously - there's nothing weird or non-standard about the Northern 'u'. Ask 'em dahn at the old Booll and Boosh - that'll proov it...


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 06:54 AM

Aye, Graham, it's enough ter mek yer chook oop.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 07:40 AM

I see no problem whatever with attempting to Anglicise, say Scots or Irish songs into the way you speak. It doesn't always work; on occasion the language is woven so intrinsically into the song that it becomes debased if you try to alter it, but it's certainly worth a try. If the song 'fits into your mouth comfortably' and if it works for you, it is quite likely it will work for an audience.
Traditional singers tend(ed) to sing as they spoke, taking their breaths with the punctuation - 'telling' the song, as they say in Irish.
One of the exercises we did in the Critics group was to first tell the story of the song in your own words, then speak the text as if you were telling the story. It can also help while working on a song, to move from singing to speech to resolve awkward passages. It quite often solved many of the textual problems of the song.
Making the song ring true for the singer was always the objective.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 10:16 AM

Jim Carroll wrote:
"One of the exercises we did in the Critics group was to first tell the story of the song in your own words, then speak the text as if you were telling the story. [...]"

That sounds like a good way of doing it.

I've been interested in folksongs for a long time and my parents had records of various folk-style singers. One problem I had was what to _do_ with the songs. I play the guitar reasonably well but I have a rubbish voice and couldn't have a career as a folksinger or folk-style singer, even if I wanted to. In my opinion, a good voice makes up for a multitude of sins.

For some strange reason, in the last couple of years I've written many, many song parodies, quite a few of folksongs and ballads, most of which are connected with the obscure British radio drama "The Archers", which some of the British people here may have heard of. That may not be a particularly good answer of what to do with folksongs, but it is one I've found.

The connection to the topic of accents is that it seems somehow "okay" to make a stab at an accent for comic effect. For example, it would normally be fairly ridiculous of me to sing "John Henry" but singing a parody doesn't seem so. Comedy either gets a laugh or it doesn't. However, it would make me very happy if someone read my parody and discovered an interest in the real thing.

I do actually sing "straight" versions of nearly all of the songs that I've parodied. One of these days I want to try to get a PC and a webcam that I can use to make a video and I'll post some things on YouTube, rubbish voice or no.

Here's a link to one thread with parodies, in case anyone's interested. If one listens to "The Archers", one might find it amusing. If one doesn't, one won't understand it at all.

Child-ish Ballads
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbarchers/F2693941?thread=3691636


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: melodeonboy
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 10:20 AM

"I see no problem whatever with attempting to Anglicise, say Scots or Irish songs into the way you speak."

Indeed, Jim. Some years ago, I was asked by a Scottish bloke to perform "She Moved Through The Fair" with him. So horrified was he by the way that I sang it - in my normal Kent accent - that he refused to play with me ever again. I did, however, find that I really enjoyed singing it, and have continued to do so up to this day, still in my own accent, of course. And do you know, it always goes down well, and I've had no complaints from Scots either!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 10:32 AM

It always seems to me that if so much of your attention is concentrated on the correctness of pronunciation then you are missing the point of singing somewhat.

This seems doubly so in a folk or traditional context where you are unlikely ever to here the colour and nuances of the song as originally sung because accents and manners of speaking are constantly evolving and moving on. Every singer adsdds their own colour and touch every time they sing.

I sing songs as they affect me. Sometimes the message of the words is the most important thing and I focus on that. Sometimes the words are trivial and the sound is more important. Either way up singing to a policy is a bit soulless. I speak with my own accent, forged by my time in Glasgow, its environs, in London, in the West Midlands and by the contact I have had with people from all over the world. It is still recognizably Scottish but not exactly the same as anyone else. To suggest that there is a correct way for you to read out my writing here would be nonsense. Those of you who know me may be able to hear my voice in the occasional word or phrase.

Equally important when I speak, or sing to people it is to communicate to them. When I moved from Glasgow to London I found that I had to change how I spoke so that people understood me. Burns wrote in very different voices depending on his intended audience. When I sing "My love is like a red red rose" it is not in the English of upper class 18th century Edinburgh or in the rough Laland Scots of rural Ayrshire or Dumfries but I hope that my singing tells the listener something about the song and of my history in getting to the point where I am singing it.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 11:32 AM

Presumably references to "American" accents relate to USAian and Canadian, ie North American accents. Central and South American accents are mainly Castillano and Portuguese!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Offkey in Portland
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 01:49 PM

"It's impossible to imagine singing 'the wee lass on the the brae' without a hint of Scots inflection. Substituting the words for standard English would just be surreal. That way lies madness"

And have you ever heard "you are nothing but a hound dog, crying all the time. You have never caught a rabbit and you are no friend of mine"?

Seriously,I sing a lot of Australian songs which I have picked up travelling in Australia. I don't sing in any accent but my own, but sometimes a word or two seems to just come out "that way", I assume from learning the song from a cd rather than a book. On the other hand, I don't know any way to sing some Scottish or Irish songs without some accent as the dialect is built in, I'm thinking of McPherson's Lament.

Closer to (my) home, I don't have any hesitation to sing a southern Appalachian song in regional accent; that just is part of the song. I have travelled to a couple of family reunions (my wife's family) in Tennessee, and I have noted that I pick up spoken accents, or at least that one, very readily, and that is kind of embarrasing and feels like I might be seen as parodying the local accent.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 01:52 PM

There is a difficult problem here to solve, BUT, there is absolutely nothing wrong in changing the words/dialect/pronunciation of a song into one's natural brogue. Apart from which the vast majority of traditional songs in English occur in multiple versions in almost every part of the English-speaking world so another answer is to get off one's bum and seek out a local version. In a free country like ours we are all at liberty to do what the hell we like with the songs. The audience response should be the yardstick to how successful we are.

And another way of looking at it. I sing some songs from my own area that are strongly laced with dialect, quite unlike the way I speak. The way I look at this is I am helping to preserve/promote a dying way of speech which is disappearing under the dominant city dialects and the rapid spread of SE influenced by mass media.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 04:49 PM

melodeonboy:
"I've had no complaints from Scots either!'
Should bloody well think not - 'She Moved Through the Fair' is Irish.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Tootler
Date: 05 Jun 08 - 07:58 PM

I have a Scots mother and and English father, and though my earliest years were spent in Scotland, my father's career (RAF) involved us in regular moves. As a result my accent is a bit of a mish mash, though it is generally Northern English tending to Yorkshire - if that makes sense.

I sing a number of Scots songs and I sing what I feel is right. Sometimes that involves anglicizing words, sometimes I try to keep the Scots form. If that sounds affected, so be it. I tend to concentrate on trying to ensure I pronounce the words clearly so that their meaning comes over. That to me is what is really important.

When I deliberately attempt a Scots accent my daughter tells me it's abominable. On the other hand a friend once correctly identified me as coming originally from Aberdeen, so make what you will of that!

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: melodeonboy
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 04:43 AM

"Should bloody well think not - 'She Moved Through the Fair' is Irish."

Apologies, Jim. Many people have told me it's Irish and many have told me it's Scottish! The first version of it that I ever heard was by Alan Stivell, who is, as we know, neither Scottish nor Irish, and he claimed that it was Scottish! A quick trawl of the internet confirms that it is in fact Irish. What's a poor Englishman like me to make of it all?

(By the way, I've had no complaints from Irish people either!)


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 04:54 AM

Melodeonboy:
"What's a poor Englishman like me to make of it all?"
The same as a poor Englishman living in Ireland, I suppose.
Good luck,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 07:03 AM

As Sherlock Holmes used to say, "These are deep waters, Watson." It seems there is no way to sing a song that doesn't 'belong' to you without offending somebody. Attempt a facsimile of the 'authentic' version, and you will be accused of insulting the tradition. Try to do it in your own way, and you will be accused of corrupting the tradition.

But these are wonderful songs, which deserve to be much better known than they are. And on many occasions where singing them would be appropriate, there is nobody present who is 'qualified' to deliver them. So what should we do? Shut up – or make the best job of it we can for ourselves?

This issue is not unique to the world of folk song. Many American actors – Orson Welles, for example - have produced excellent interpretations of the greatest Shakespearean roles without adopting fake English accents. Nevertheless, their delivery of the lines has an English inflection, arising from the rhythms of the text itself. There is a similar process of accommodation between singer and song whenever the two come from different cultures.

Sometimes the result is not entirely satisfactory.   But if a performer succeeds in conveying the essence of the text to the audience – by whatever means - then questions of authenticity can be set aside for pedants to quibble over at their leisure. The relationship between the song and the audience is far more important than the dialogue between the singer and the critic.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: trevek
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 08:21 AM

As an actor and occassional storyteller I find I sometimes have to inflect or put-on an accent. Singing a song is often done in the same vein. With some songs it would sound grating to be pronouncing a 'dialect' word in another accent and could spoil the reception. That doesn't mean you have to put on a whole accent where an inflection would do.

For example, a song like Anachee Gordon rhymes 'me' with 'dee'(do) and would sound absolutely bizarre if sung in, for example in a Black Country accent. With something like Burns, the rhyme may rly on a Scots pronunciation of a word which would be different from another reading (as has been discussed).

Personally, as a Scots/Geordie half-breed (born and brought up in the Midlands) who has travelled a bit, I often find my accent slipping into another when I speak to a person from, or even discuss topics relating to, a particular region. So if it happens that I sing songs with an inflection if it relates to a character of the narrator.

Funnily enough, I don't tend to sing songs like Black Velvet Band or songs from the former colonies (US, Australia... hee hee)with much, if any inflection. I don't know if this is because the (imaginary) narrator might well have been without an American or Australian accent themselves.

Regarding Blues, I wonder if it because many of the lyrics don't involve regional pronuciation that allows a singer the possibility of keeping their own accent.

If anyone ever wonders about singers toning down their accents, a quick blast of Juliet Turner will solve that one. Broad, unapologetic and all the better for it!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 10:54 AM

"A quick trawl of the internet confirms that it is in fact Irish."

I think you'll find that Jim Carroll knows the subject about as well as any sources you're likely to find in a 'quick trawl' of the internet ...


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Grab
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 12:21 PM

Thanks Phil. I couldn't think offhand of words using the right version of "u" which everyone would pronounce roughly the same, hence the rather approximate attempt at a phonetic version.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 02:51 PM

Trevek
"I find I sometimes have to inflect or put-on an accent."
Don't want to challenge your statement in any way, but can you tell me why?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: trevek
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 03:04 PM

Certainly Jim. As an actor or storyteller I use an accent to create a character (I'm not too bad at several accents)and sometimes the script calls for it.

Sometimes when I'm singing a particular song the character of the narrator, or perhaps the nature of the song, sometimes gets me thinking of, for example, Scotland or Tyneside and I might slip into accent without thinking about it (my mother's a Geordie and Dad was Scottish). I used to have a habit of picking up accents if I was around someone with a strong one, so sometimes some stimuli (even something like talking about a place) can make the accent slip without me meaning to (very funny for those around if I'm on the phone, or something).

I don't do full-on imitations of accents when singing unless it is some kind of comic or music-hall song.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: trevek
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 03:36 PM

as a footnote, sometimes I learn songs from other singers or from recordings and pick up their quirks, pronunciations etc. I recently tried to remember a couple of Billy Fury songs I'd learned over 25 years before (and hadn't sung for at least tn) and found I still used his vocal techniques.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 04:51 PM

As a performer there are simply occasions, as trevek says, when adopting a 'foreign' accent is appropriate. As a teacher of English for many years I had to read to and with pupils. One favourite book of both pupils and teachers was Robert Westall's 'The Machine Gunners'
set in WWII Geordieland. It contains lots of great Geordie dialogue and a smattering of Glaswegian. Having watched an accompanying video many times the accents were easily imitable, and so to make the reading more enjoyable and more realistic I adopted the appropriate accents. After the initial shock/giggling had died down and the pupils got used to it I encouraged some of them to attempt the accents as well and some of them became quite good at it.

Also many of my friends are Geordies and I spent a lot of time up there in the Holy Land. I picked up a lot of the local music hall songs, Blaydon Races, Cushie Butterfield, Lambton Worm, Keep yor feet Still, simply so I could join in. My best mate was a great concertina player but couldn't sing a note, so if the two of us were out in the pubs I would do all the singing. I even ended up learning some Northumbrian ballads just to please him. Needless to say I used the local accent and I don't ever remember any of the locals complaining.

Having said that, although I know a lot of the muckle sangs I would never sing any of the Scots ones in public. The only Child ballads I sing I sing in SE, unless you count that remnant of The Elfin Knight 'Acre o' Land' which is sung all over the East Riding and has its own dialect versions.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 04:57 PM

Trevek,

I know what you mean when you say "I might slip into accent without thinking about it". I find myself doing the same thing sometimes. Partly because of where my parents came from - Mother from Aberdeen, Father from North Yorkshire - and partly because we moved around a lot during my childhood, so I encountered a range of accents. Sometimes I have to watch myself in case the listener thought I was taking the mickey. Not so much these days because I have been settled on Teesside for the past 30 years so how I speak has settle down much more.

My daughter told me an amusing story recently. She is teaching in South London and had occasion to tell a boy off. She finished off with something like "... and you can stop taking the mickey out of my accent as well!". To which the boy replied "But miss, this is how I normally speak. I come from Middlesbrough and we have just moved here". No answer to that one!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 09:32 PM

Phrases like "slip into the accent" really piss me off. You may have some sounds that you assosciate with a context but it is no more than that. We each have our own individual accents and a memory bank of others, more often than not erroneous stereotypes.

When most people sing or speak they try and establish points of cotact with what they are trying to communicate. Sometimes these are particular sounds but "slipping into" one accent or another is always bogus


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Rowan
Date: 06 Jun 08 - 11:29 PM

Sometimes these are particular sounds but "slipping into" one accent or another is always bogus

Robbie, part of the reason for my earlier post was to explain how such things may happen without being conscious of it, a point reiterated by others in recent postings. When the accent is deliberately accentuated, you might be, sometimes, correct in your assertion that it is always bogus but even then, character actors and those doing multiple voices in audio books have a legitimate reason to accentuate the accent, if you'll pardon the tautology.

Lest this be regarded as not relevant to folk music there are many occasions when a singer is so seriously 'in character' that the accentuation is imposed by either the construction of the text and its rhythms, or the singer's understanding of the context and meanings in the song. Or both. In such circumstances you could regard the singer as "in control", if you are a dyed-in-the-wool rationalist or "under the influence" of the song if you're one who allows emotions to carry weight; in either case always bogus is a descriptor that is a trifle limited in scope and limiting in intent.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 02:53 AM

I find the subject of 'adopted' accents a somewhat problematical one, both in singing and storytelling.
Our excursion into the storytelling revival left us with the distinct impression of 'poor actors' trying very hard - and failing miserably.
It seems to me that the best way to make a song/story work 'convincingly' is to sing/tell it in your own natural voice with your own natural accent.
I recall the hours of pleasure I have got from listening to the magnificent Alec Stewart, live and on recordings, telling his 'Jack Tales', using his own, flat, laconic delivery.
For me that 'naturalness' is an indication that the song/story is working for the singer/storyteller, which is the greatest part of the battle in making it work for the audience. It is something I find almost universal in recordings of 'source singers', even when their physical abilities may have reduced, It is a quality quite often missing in revival performers.
It is possible, with a great deal of practice, to master 'foreign' accents, but I find it very hard to think of en example where that would be necessary in the singing of folk songs - music hall maybe, but that's different.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Ewan Spawned a Monster
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 02:55 AM

Hmmm... Is bogus always necessarily bad? The entire British folk revival is on some levels bogus. After all, very few of the guests or floorsingers are the horny handed sons and daughters of toil these songs were often collected from. A urban civil servant slipping into a 'folk voice' when singing about, say, 19th century rural matters, is only moving a lttle further down a path he or she was already travelling on when they made the decision to sing the song. In that sense, we're all actors, all entertainers, all roleplaying.

Of course, none of the above is in any way compulsory.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: trevek
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 04:03 AM

"Phrases like "slip into the accent" really piss me off."

Robbie, sorry it offends you but I can't really think of a better terminology.

My us of "slip into" is because it is not something I intentionally do. I might sometimes be in conversation with someone and later somebody else points out that I was speaking with a different accent, which I hadn't been aware of.

Having been brought up in Shropshire I was exposed to yamyams of Wolverhampton. I never had such an accent but when I speak to someone from there I find I can't stop doing it for a while afterwards... and I certainly don't do it on purpose.

It's also a point to note that we often imitate (consciously or not) sounds around us and find ourselves picking up accents through interaction. many of my English language students here in Poland learn English from Polish speakers and have a Polish accent, others might learn from Americans and have an American one... then they go to Ireland and come back with an Irish one. But I don't know if they keep that accent when they speak Polish.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 04:09 AM

Jim,could you explain why you think is music hall is different.
Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 05:03 AM

Oh no.........!!!
Have just put up an opinion on the 'Folk vs Folk' site, where it will, I have no doubt, be battled out to the bitter end.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 06:07 AM

the song Tottie.
is this a music hall song or a traditional song,and if so should it be sung differently ,because its one or the other.
I feel it is most convincing when sung in a london accent,regardless of whether it is traditional or music hall.
however a good singer could probably still bring the song to life,with a different accent,if it was his natural accent,a very broad Scottish accent probably wouldnt work,but a West Indian accent might.
Why?because Scottish accents we still associate with Scotland,but there are now[Since 1950 immigration from the WEST INDIES] West Indian london accents.In fact virtually any london accent[Tottenham,Lewisham,Shepherds bush, Edgware,none of whom are true cockneys]Would be acceptable,even estuary Southend.
should geordie songs be sung in a wearside accent,well if the singer can put the song over convincingly and is enjoying the song the answer must be yes.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,facetime
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 11:43 AM

I always shudder when I hear Americans do "Greenface" and attempt to sound Irish. Or for that matter, anybody doing "Hickface", when singing country songs. That said, "identity" and "authenticity" are pretty slippery subjects here in this complicated, multi-cultured world.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 12:20 PM

Cap'n
"the song Tottie"
I think it's probably music hall.
There's no 'should' or 'shouldn't', it's up to the singer to decide how (or whether) to sing it. On the other hand, it's up to the listener to decide whether it works for them.
I've only ever heard a Londoner sing it - and it worked. A Mancunian or Liverpudlian would probably make an almighty hames of it. The text is totally structured for somebody with a London accent.
For me, the accent that works is the singers own.
Ewan's lad:
"Is bogus always necessarily bad?"
Absolutely. It is the ability of folk song to transcend time and distance that makes it unique; that's why the songs have lasted for centuries and transplanted themselves wherever the language is spoken.
While the settings of the songs may be alien, and the situations, beyond our personal experience, the basic emotions expressed are universal and timeless.
You don't have to be a 19th century poacher to imagine what it would feel like to be forced to leave your native home and live on the other side of the world - ask any Irishman who has had to emigrate because of shortage of work back home.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Mademoiselle Nobs
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 12:26 PM

I prefer to leave accents to music hall turns and the characters in Aardman Animations films


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 12:56 PM

I have heretofore avoided expressing my views in any of these 'accents' discussions (I think), for the reasons I gave in my initial post to this thread. However ... as a singer, I take inspiration from the Canadian field recordings made by Helen Creighton, Edith Fowke, et al, in which, although there are vast numbers of songs of Old Country and (less often) American origin and/or setting, you never hear a singer use anything other than his/her native accent. The result is the effect that the singers really 'own' their songs, in the sense that they have 'made them their own'. Listen to any of the appropriate samples from the Helen Creighton collection to get what I'm talking about.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 02:57 PM

Meself,
The 'borrowing' from Fowke and Creighton was very much a two-way trip. A.L.Lloyd had a few songs from Canada and N.S. in his repertoire, which he coyly never mentioned.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 03:51 PM

I suppose that's the point at which 'making a song your own' gets a little problematic ... It is interesting though, in light of this discussion, that Lloyd would take that route rather than, for example, dressing up like a lumberjack and putting on a Canadian accent to sing a Canadian song (shades of Monty Python).

(Apologies to those who've had to wear leiderhausen or cowboy hats for the sake of a lucrative gig ... )


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 04:39 PM

By way of further response to Robbie's
>"slipping into" one accent or another is always bogus:

what about the two recordings of Cecilia Costello singing The Grey Cock, one in the accent of where she lived and one in the accent with which her father had sung it?

Richard


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 04:52 PM

Not sure that's too great a problem Richard.
Some people grow up with 'dual' accents due to home and outside influences.
Best of both worlds as far a I can see.
I often wish one of my parents was Scots - think of all those nice 300 verse ballads!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Jun 08 - 05:00 PM

When, may I ask, will Dick Gaughan provide us with English subtitles at his gigs?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: trevek
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 12:20 PM

It occurred to me over the weekend that it is often hard to speak of a "natural" accent as for some people an accent is something you work on and change over time.

Examples: A friend of mine in Shropshire. His father was a minor. Now, when he speaks he has a local accent but not broad, doesn't use too much dialect... however, when he gets on the phone to an old mining buddy his wife complains because he gets really broad. So, which is his 'natural' accent and which is his 'bogus' one?

Likewise, when I worked in a bar we had some Black security staff. When they were talking to customers and to staff they used a local, everyday accent. But when they spoke together or with a group of other Black guys they switched to Jamaican patois (sp?), complete with accent. Few, if any, of them had been born or raised in Jamaica. It was just a "Black" thing, reconnecting with their roots.

So, would it be sensible to tell them they were being bogus? Was it any different to code-switching into a different language?

This brings me round to another view to the original question about Blues singers. How many Black (or White, indeed) singers of Reggae 'put on' an accent to sing Reggae and is this any different to putting on an accent to sing Folk? If so, why/why not?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 12:44 PM

"So, would it be sensible to tell them they were being bogus?" I would recommend against apprising them of this possibilitiy ...


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: trevek
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 12:46 PM

I forgot to mention, they were also generally rather large, muscular individuals (even some of the female staff). Nice people, though!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: meself
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 01:05 PM

I make it a rule to carry my snub-nosed .44 when I go out to the bars to correct the speech habits of the large and muscular.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 01:53 PM

Okay, I took three years of French in high school. Unfortunately, I never really had a chance to use it, so it's pretty much left me. But let's say that I was able to keep up with it and that I speak French fairly fluently.

So. I have a friend who is French. He calls me on the telephone and we chat for awhile. I speak French while we are talking. As we finish our conversation, my wife walks into the room and asks, "Who was that on the phone?" I respond--in English--that it was Gervaise calling from Paris.

"Normally" I speak in English. So when I was talking with Gervaise, was I being bogus, phony, and artificial? I don't think so.

People can be bilingual. Multilingual. I don't see that it is any different with accents and dialects. People can be "multidialectical." The only question would be "do they speak the languange--or dialect--or accent--well or not?"

I can sing in French. And in Italian. And in a couple of other languages, most of which I can't speak fluently or at all. So why shouldn't I sing in Scots, or Irish, or Yorkshire, or--?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Gene Burton
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 02:01 PM

100!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: trevek
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 02:04 PM

A good point, Don. What is the difference between a dialect and a language (apart from the language having a bigger army)?

Funnily enough, I have Polish students of English who speak English with German or French accents because that is their primary second language.

I just put this question to my wife, who is Polish and learns traditional songs from Poland, Belorussia and Ukraine (as well as other places)and studies/practices the regional singing techniques as well.

She was puzzled by the question and then replied that if she knows th technique and the style of singing then she tries to sing it as they do (with accent/pronunciation) BUT she stressed that "it shouldn't just be a cheap copy, you have to know what it is your singing and doing".


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 02:14 PM

BUT she stressed that "it shouldn't just be a cheap copy, you have to know what it is your singing and doing".

Exactly!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 03:35 PM

My wife can switch from English to fluent Argentine Spanish at the click of a finger, and - perish the thought, to European Spanish......th th th th!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 03:36 PM

But then she was educated at Northlands in BA!


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: trevek
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 03:38 PM

But does she sing in it?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Kiss Me Slow Slap Me Quick
Date: 08 Jun 08 - 03:46 PM

I was allways of the opinion - you should sing as you speak. I have no idea what my accent is. This is made more complicated by the fact that I am from an age that were punished, YES punished at school for talking as we did at home. We had to talk propper or at least make the effort. I am still aware that my speach alters depending who I'm with or where I am. So my accent, vocabulary and pronunciation is all over the place. TV also plays a major part in change as well. In Scotland we consider that - w'ar a' Jock Tampsons' bairns, but we do not all converse in the patois of our father.

And Rambling Jack Elliot got his version of 'I belong to Glasgow' from the original recording of the song, including all the patois/patter, by Will Fyfe. Who wrote the song but didn't belong to Glasgow.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: mattkeen
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 10:42 AM

Isn't the general idea, in life as well for that matter, that its a good idea to try and be more like yourself, and thats true of singing too as far as I am concerned


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: BB
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 11:23 AM

Almost without exception, I would agree with Matt that it's about being yourself. However, I don't have a problem with singing a specifically dialect song from your area with the local accent which is more like an exaggeration of the way in which you usually speak anyway.

I think using another language is usually a different matter, as that's about communication which possibly wouldn't otherwise take place, or is perhaps a matter of courtesy to the person you're communcating with. This would surely rarely apply with accents, as English-speaking people generally understand 'received' English because of mass communication, and unless one's accent is very broad have little difficulty in understanding other accents - dialect may be a different matter!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 12:51 PM

There is a youtube video of Katyusha which makes me cringe everytime. An English choir, I think.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 01:16 PM

There are certain singers who are actors. Jack Elliott is one. They have the gift of mimicry.
Frank Warner was another. Ewan McColl. The New Lost City Ramblers. Their ears pick up the speech patterns and accents of others successfully for most.

There are plenty who don't. Pete Seeger for one. He sings the way he speaks.

It comes down to which interpretation of a song you accept. There are those who go
to concerts of classical music and follow the score to intercept the mistakes. These folks exist in the folkie world too. They are more focussed on the accents then the content or performance of the song.

Folk music performance is often the presentation which falls into the category of
stagecraft. If the audience believes the performer is "real" than it makes no difference
to most what accent they acquire or affect.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 09 Jun 08 - 07:32 PM

"(Apologies to those who've had to wear leiderhausen or cowboy hats for the sake of a lucrative gig ... ) "

Leiderhausen - does that mean "to play havoc, unfortunately"? Seems appropriate.

Seriously though, if you learn a vocal technique for a particular genre, very often the accent comes with it, no doubt because of the mouth position you have to adopt, for the same reason that although I have difficulty pronouncing THs in English, I don't have the same problem in Welsh, which I learnt much later in life.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 May 11 - 01:01 AM

"Day dah light and mi waan go home". Nope, can't sing that in an Australian accent. Do the accent if the song calls for it.


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 May 11 - 01:33 AM

Well, just to correct something said in 2008, it's Lederhosen (leather pants). When I'm speaking another language, I try to speak with a reasonably accurate accent. I don't like trying to speak what people imagine to be German-accented or Italian-accented whatever-accented English. Too easy to go into stereotypes.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 22 May 11 - 08:22 AM

I disagree quite a bit with you. I once heard an old recording of Ledbelly talking and couldn't understand a single word. Peggy Seeger still has a noticeable American accent, but probably due to Ewan McColl being very against American Folk she tended to sound much like him a lot of the time. Heaven forbid olk Hank had sang Raglan Road! not too many Irish singers sing it well. but I have heard a rare recording of him doing a folk song that had a distinctly trad English sound to it and you'd never have guessed it was Hank Singing. I'm not suggesting Hugh Laurie is much of a singer but hearing him murder the blues in a recent docu it was in a distinct if un convincing U.S accent that pretty much all white British Blues singers adopt. And most likely because the way Blues and Country Lyrics are written most voices will sound more american. As will most non Irish voices sound Irish if they sing Trad Irish songs. After all if you want to speak French or German and want to do it well then you have to sound a little French or German. By the way I think Pete Seeger does indeed sound like he's singing in his own voice, but because he has an American accent and does mainly American Folk. But you don't say just who are all these great voices who you say don't sing in accents?


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Subject: RE: Accents in Folk Music
From: Musket
Date: 22 May 11 - 09:55 AM

I have a recording somewhere of Adge Cutler singing Rock & Roll in his Somerset accent..

Ooh Arrh, thisen nothin' but a hedgehog!
Get off moi brown suede gaitors!

I have spent many years in business and more recently having to have a degree of credibility in Whitehall. As a result, not by trying but naturally, my South Yorkshire / Derbyshire accent and dialect has disappeared. yet when I sing local songs, it comes back with knobs on.

Again, not by trying, just happens, that's all.

Mind you, if singing an American song, it does get all mid Atlantic if I am being honest.


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