Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Accents

Andy7 13 Jun 16 - 06:16 PM
Leadfingers 13 Jun 16 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 Jun 16 - 07:33 PM
RTim 13 Jun 16 - 07:44 PM
Nigel Parsons 13 Jun 16 - 08:14 PM
Lighter 13 Jun 16 - 08:24 PM
Andy7 13 Jun 16 - 08:56 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 16 - 02:02 AM
Marje 14 Jun 16 - 04:02 AM
Will Fly 14 Jun 16 - 04:20 AM
Leadfingers 14 Jun 16 - 04:25 AM
Pete from seven stars link 14 Jun 16 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,Geordie Lad 14 Jun 16 - 05:08 AM
Marje 14 Jun 16 - 05:26 AM
matt milton 14 Jun 16 - 05:41 AM
matt milton 14 Jun 16 - 05:46 AM
matt milton 14 Jun 16 - 05:52 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 16 - 08:09 AM
Harmonium Hero 14 Jun 16 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 14 Jun 16 - 10:35 AM
Harmonium Hero 14 Jun 16 - 10:58 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 16 - 10:59 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Jun 16 - 11:31 AM
Harmonium Hero 14 Jun 16 - 11:59 AM
Will Fly 14 Jun 16 - 12:10 PM
meself 14 Jun 16 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Stephen Harvey 14 Jun 16 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Stephen Harvey 14 Jun 16 - 01:25 PM
keberoxu 14 Jun 16 - 02:00 PM
meself 14 Jun 16 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Geordie Lad 14 Jun 16 - 04:33 PM
Senoufou 14 Jun 16 - 04:35 PM
michaelr 14 Jun 16 - 08:05 PM
BobL 15 Jun 16 - 03:55 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jun 16 - 04:12 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jun 16 - 04:22 AM
matt milton 15 Jun 16 - 05:20 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Jun 16 - 07:01 AM
clueless don 15 Jun 16 - 09:11 AM
Will Fly 15 Jun 16 - 09:56 AM
GUEST 16 Jun 16 - 02:02 PM
Penny S. 16 Jun 16 - 03:32 PM
Penny S. 16 Jun 16 - 03:35 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jun 16 - 05:21 PM
GUEST 16 Jun 16 - 06:53 PM
The Sandman 16 Jun 16 - 07:45 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jun 16 - 07:53 PM
Tattie Bogle 16 Jun 16 - 07:57 PM
The Sandman 17 Jun 16 - 01:26 PM
Senoufou 17 Jun 16 - 02:42 PM
Senoufou 17 Jun 16 - 02:46 PM
BobL 18 Jun 16 - 02:34 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 16 - 03:04 AM
The Sandman 18 Jun 16 - 03:29 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 16 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Desi C 18 Jun 16 - 05:06 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jun 16 - 08:30 AM
Mrrzy 18 Jun 16 - 11:52 AM
MGM·Lion 18 Jun 16 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 18 Jun 16 - 02:04 PM
meself 18 Jun 16 - 03:06 PM
Richard Mellish 18 Jun 16 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Eric 18 Jun 16 - 05:21 PM
Allan Conn 18 Jun 16 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 18 Jun 16 - 07:16 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: Accents
From: Andy7
Date: 13 Jun 16 - 06:16 PM

I love singing Scottish folk songs.

But ... they'd sound ridiculous, if I presented them just using my southern English accent, with no recognition of the original accent and dialect.

And yet, they'd sound equally ridiculous, if I tried to imitate a native of Scotland singing the songs, which I'd do very badly!

So, what's the protocol, when singing a song from a country, or a region, other than your own?

How much should you try to match the original, and how much should you try to make it into your own version of the song, with whatever accent you happen to have?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Jun 16 - 07:07 PM

Accents ARE a problem - I know some excellent songs which I do NOT sing because they don't work , unless their are 'English' words which fit !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 Jun 16 - 07:33 PM

I was told...I learned my speech from a Crockney. It was said he was the only one that understood me.

I went to American school and speech therapy.
I went to British school to remove the previous American.
I returned to America, with two years of "theraphy" to remove the Brit....and "r", and "t" and "s" and "a" and " th".

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

<> Life is good....I can get by in six languages....all with an "acknowledged speech impediment."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: RTim
Date: 13 Jun 16 - 07:44 PM

I don't have an accent - but you do.............

Tim Radford


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 13 Jun 16 - 08:14 PM

In my personal opinion (I accept that others may not agree) Some songs require the singer to attempt a version of the original accent/dialect.
"What have you been doing (or where have you been) since the last time we met" does not have the same impact as "Where hast tha bin since I saw thee?"

If you can replicate the sound of the original then 'go for it'.
If you can't replicate the sound, then maybe the song isn't for you.

Of course, there will be people who can't replicate the original sound, but can make the song sound authentic with their own accent. This is known as (part of) the folk process.

I'm happy to sing songs (almost any songs) in my own voice, but some songs will get me imitating (not quite the correct word) the person from whom I first heard the song. So 'McGinty's goat' will always seem to be a take off of Val Doonican. This is because it just doesn't sound quite right if I allow a Welsh accent (and I don't have much of one) to creep through.

Feel free to agree with me, or to tear my comments to pieces!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Jun 16 - 08:24 PM

It's folk music. Sing it however you like. Most people have only a vague idea of what an accent really sounds like anyway.

However, you might think twice before using a Scots accent in roomful of Scots. Or an American accent in a roomful of Yanks.

People quickly recognize distortions of their *own* accents.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Andy7
Date: 13 Jun 16 - 08:56 PM

"Feel free to agree with me, or to tear my comments to pieces!"

Nigel, I think you've made some excellent points, thank you!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 02:02 AM

In most cases, using accents that are not your own is totally unnecessary and often detrimental to your being involved in the song - how do you relate to your voice if it is not your own?
If you if you sing say Scots or Irish songs to audiences from those places they can and usually do sound risible and you can become a figure of fun.
If you want to study an accent to acquire it, fine, but it hardly seems worth the trouble.
Most of these songs translate perfectly into your own chosen mode of expression (singers more often than not sing folk songs in a neutral version of their own accent - not broad Liverpool or Birmingham or Cockney, in which the songs would sound just as ridiculous.
The problems arise not so much with accents but with with dialect words, then you have to choose whether to use them anyway or to change them altogether.
If the song is based on dialect you have a choice - to sing or not sing.
Personally I choose not to, as much as I might like to.
I love Scots songs, particularly the ballads, and have managed to include about forty of them in my repertoire by slightly adapting them - I'd like to have learned more but I didn't because when I tried I couldn't get them to work for me because they sounded phony
I have never understood a Scots singer with a beautiful Scots accent singing a Scots ballad in a phony, mid-Atlantic American accent - talk about throwing away a natural gift.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Marje
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 04:02 AM

There is a difference, as Jim says, between accent and dialect. Dialect is more problematical, as it entails using different vocabulary, verb form, etc, and the rhymes and scansion may depend on it. And dialect won't work without the right accent, it will sound ludicrous.

Many Scots songs, though, are in something close to standard English, and don't require much tweaking to be singable in an English, Irish or American accent if that's what comes naturally to you. Sometimes they are written down in a phoneticised approximation of a Scots accent, which makes them look more Scottish than they sound. There are other songs that exist in a Scots and a standard English version (e.g. Braw sailin' on the sea/ Fine sailing on the sea); there's nothing to stop you making an adaptation like this if the end product sounds consistent and stands alone.

So choose your songs carefully and think how they would sound in youur natural accent. The occasional dialect word may be necessary, and can be left if required, but if the rest of the song can be sung in English, then that's going to sound far better than phony Scots.

Look at it in reverse: if Scots or American singer decides to sing "Down by the Banks of the Sweet Primroses", you'd think it odd if they either attempted a southern English accent, or changed "fair maid" to "bonny lass".

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 04:20 AM

I think it's horses for courses - all within one's own range and capabilities.

I sing a lot of American songs in my repertoire - mainly stuff from the 20s and 30s, but also songs from the likes of Jimmie Rodgers, Leon Redbone and Doc Watson. Why do I sing them, rather than songs from my own background? For no other reason than that I like them. I like the melodies and the words, and I like the chords and harmonies. I like the way that they can be adapted for some nice guitar improvisation. I don't feel the same way about other material - English, Scottish, Irish - and don't perform it. (The one exception to my rule is music hall material, which does speak to me, and I can use my own voice there).

So what do I do? Well, what I don't do is try and put on a broad "American" accent - from what part of America would it be, in any case? It just sounds phoney On the other hand, some sort of accentuation is necessary because the language, the dialect, argot - whatever you call it - demands it. The example from Nigel above with Scots song illustrates the point. The closest I get to an American accent is a very mild version of Doc Watson's accent when singing - and then just enough (I hope) to do the song justice.

What's the alternative? Not to sing those songs because I shouldn't? Nuts to that idea. I like 'em and will sing 'em - and the audience can and will make up its mind whether it work or not.

Interestingly, I also sing French songs from time to time. And when I do, I sing with them with as good a French accentuation and pronunciation as I can, having spoken French since I was about 11. No-one's complained yet (well, not to my face, anyway!). Why shouldn't I treat American English in the same way, on the assumption that, in many ways, they are two different languages? Food for thought.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 04:25 AM

In a Supermarket in Virginia the teenage lad on the check out said "I LOVE your English accent!" to which I replied " Pardon me , but YOU have the Accent , WE have the Language!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Pete from seven stars link
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 05:05 AM

Love it lead fingers !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Geordie Lad
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 05:08 AM

Please don't sing Geordie songs unless you're a Geordie! I heard someone recently sing a song about "Gordie"!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Marje
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 05:26 AM

Oh yes, I can remember an excruciating rendition of "Wor Geordie's lost 'is penker" by an RP speaker. Bad idea.

Some Americanisation of accent is normal enough in the UK, as it's so prevalent in pop music, and we're very familiar with US accents in films etc. Whether this should be attempted for an American audience is another matter, but most UK listeners will scarcely notice it in an appropriate song. What does get ridiculous is if a UK singer is unable to sing anything without affecting an American accent, as often happens in pop music now.

It's a matter of what you're comfortable with. If you're aware of "putting on" an accent, it's got to be really good if it's not going to sound silly. If an accent comes easily and naturally, there are probably cultural reasons for this, and it may sound OK.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: matt milton
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 05:41 AM

"But ... they'd sound ridiculous, if I presented them just using my southern English accent, with no recognition of the original accent and dialect."

Don't be so sure. I sing plenty of Scots and Irish songs and I sing them in my own (London) accent. As yet, I've never got the impression anyone finds them ridiculous.

Depends, I suppose, how embedded the dialect words are: if there are dialect words in every single line and none of them have an easy parallel in English English, well, it's probably not worth singing that song.

""What have you been doing (or where have you been) since the last time we met" does not have the same impact as "Where hast tha bin since I saw thee?"

Depends on the delivery. You don't have to say "bin" in whatever accent that is referring to: the difference between "been" and "bin" is very slight! And I personally would rather sing "thou" than "tha" if I was going to sing it as archaic language. So there are plenty of options.

You can do all sorts of pronunciation cheats too. There's a line in a song I sing: "Better if I'd never seen ye" and I sing it as "you" but slightly colour the pronunciation to imply an "ee" in order to maintain a rhyming line-ending. It works because there's a little of that "ye" in my South London accented "you" anyway.

Don't forget that it's not impossible that the Scots/Irish/Whatever song you are worrying about might itself have been transposed from another dialect anyway...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: matt milton
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 05:46 AM

"So what do I do? Well, what I don't do is try and put on a broad "American" accent - from what part of America would it be, in any case? It just sounds phoney On the other hand, some sort of accentuation is necessary because the language, the dialect, argot - whatever you call it - demands it. The example from Nigel above with Scots song illustrates the point. The closest I get to an American accent is a very mild version of Doc Watson's accent when singing - and then just enough (I hope) to do the song justice."

Yes indeed Will. I used to sing American songs with an unapologetically uncompromised London English accent - and I still think that this is generally a better direction to go in than a phoney-sounding American one. However, as a result of listening to myself on recordings over the years, I now do deliberately soften & Americanise certain words and do allow myself a bit of Mid-Atlantic here and there.

It just works better, makes the whole performance sound less than some kind of agenda.

Duster Bennett in my opinion got a very good UK/US compromise in his blues singing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: matt milton
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 05:52 AM

I sing the Irish song "Sheela Nee Eyre" and that has one Irish word in it

"Be off to your speirbhean"

I sing it as "sweetheart". In fact, come to think of it, I sing it as 'Go back to your sweetheart". I've no idea how to pronounce "speirbhean" and don't want to.

Sometimes I replace the whole line with the radically different "You're a long way from the library!" which works in the context of the song if you know the lyrics!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 08:09 AM

"speirbhean" (beautiful woman) works nicely as sweetheart - there are other words which prove to be a greater problem.
When I learned MacColl's 'Tenant Farmer' I was a little worried about the word "coulter" (horizontal plough blade).
I assumed it was Scots, so reluctant as I was to drop such a beautiful word, I tried to find replacement, without success.
I eventually decided to leave it in, giving a brief explanation, which in the end proved unnecessary as it is self-explanatory where it is.
As it turned out, it's not exclusively a Scots word, just archaic.
The real dilemma arises when you are faced with words that are too beautiful to throw away but too exclusively Scots-sounding for a Sassenach to sing.
If there are only a few you can open with a brief glossary, if there are too many, I'm regretfully inclined to leave it to those who can make a better fist of it - the song doesn't need me.
I have the same dilemma with first-person women's songs - does anybody sing 'Sarah Collins, the Female Transport' - I've been driving Pat mad singing it around the house, but have never had the balls to sing it in public - or, thinking about it, maybe that's my problem......!!
Jim Cartoll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 10:09 AM

Another vexed question, to which some have entrenched attitudes. Many will say that you shouldn't sing in an accent which isn't your own .I wonder how they feel about actors doing this. I've been singing Scots songs for so long that I don't really think about it. I use as much of an accent as seems necessary to make sense of the dialect words. Sometimes this means hardly any accent at all. But if there is a lot of strong dialect, then it needs thinking about. What I aim for is for the song to sound OK to a Scot; that is that they are not made painfully aware that it's being sung by a non-Scot. Accents will vary considerably, even within a small geographical area; so that different people within that area will sing the same words quite differently. Listen to some Scots singers. Do they sound as Scottish singing as they do talking? Very often not. And yet the dialect words sound natural. So it's not necessary to pile it on. With Irish songs, I don't consciously make any attempt to use an Irish accent, because it doesn't seem necessary. American songs perhaps need a little bit of an accent, but no need to pile it on. Geordie songs? ....now that's a bit more tricky.
I think in general a lot depends on your own accent. If yu have a strong regional accent, you may be best sticking to songs from your own region, unless you can unlearn your own accent. And R.P.? Get rid of it. It's just wrong.
Light blue touch paper and retire.
John Kelly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 10:35 AM

Hmmm. Troublesome this one...

Some songs translate, but some seem to me to be inextricably wedded to the dialect and accent.

A case in point:

Many years ago I heard a duo perform "Will you come to the Highlands, Lizzie Lindsey" in impeccable R.P. I had to struggle not to corpse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 10:58 AM

I knew a trio who used to sing 'Scots who have with Wallace bled'
JK


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 10:59 AM

" If yu have a strong regional accent, you may be best sticking to songs from your own region, "
Don't think this is necessary if you are able to modulate your accent - most people are.
If it was something you had to worry about, you would give up singing altogether - nearly all the Liverpool songs I know are sea songs .
I still have a reasonably recognisable Liverpool accent with hints of Mancunian, London and now Irish thrown in.
If I talk my sisters in Liverpool on the phone my wife will invariably say, "you're talking to the twins", - my accent noticeably changes.
What an good actor does in my opinion - is not to aim for a specific accent, but a general, say, neutral Scots or Irish one, and adapts it to be comprehensible to an audience.
I suppose there aren't any hard and fast rules about accents; if you cam handle a song in an accent and make it work for you and the audience (without giving offence) - why not - I can't so I don't.
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the MacColl myth of making a rule that you must sing songs from your own region.
When Alan Lomax came to Britain in the 1950s he found the scene was ful of wannabe Woodies and Huddies and all the American stars of the time, including Ewan and Bert Lloyd (still have a recording of Ewan's 'Sixteen Tons'.
The great BBC mopping-up project had not long taken place and Lomax berated them, pointing out that if all those wonderful songs weren't sung they would die.
Ewan and Bert became born-again English speakers and insisted that the resident of his club should sing songs from their own country (not region) in accents as near to their own as possible - it's all written up somewhere.
Ewan was lucky - his home environment was Scots so, while by that time he was speaking in a middle-of-the road English accent, he has his home environment to fall back on.
He had a panic attack when Dylan came on the scene because he thought they might lose all the ground they's gained from the early days - hence the animosity.
I lived at their home for a month and spent a fair amount of time with Betsy - I found her hard to understand, but when she and Ewan got together you might as well have been listening to radio Ulan Bator.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 11:31 AM

Can I just add that I learned about Scots accents the hard way when me and a couple of mates went to see MacBeth at the Edinburgh Festival back in the sixties.
The late Matt McGinn palyed the gatekeeper - we couldn't understand a word.
Didn't matter too much though, the three witches were played by stunning-looking young women in diaphanous see-through costumes - played hell with my late adolescence!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 11:59 AM

The first time I met a proper Glaswegian, I couldn't understand a single word he said. Literally - not a word. A couple of years later, I was doing a summer season in a restaurant in Fort William - the fabled McTavish's Kitchens, which some 'catters remember. One day, I met one of the KPs, who was Glaswegian, going over to the pub. He said "comin' fer a drink?" (which I understood), so in we went, got a couple of drinks and sat down. He started chatting away, with me straining my ears, but not getting much of it. After about five minutes, I was starting to get the hang of his accent, and said so. He said that his accent wasn't all that strong, and that his father had a much stronger accent. He said he had an uncle who he couldn't understand. So accents can vary even within a family.
Regarding ideas about only singing songs from ones own background or tradition, I don't come from a singing family, and grew up on rock'n'roll, skiffle and '60s pop. My only folk background was my grandad playing flute and melodeon, and my aunts' Irish dance class.
John Kelly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 12:10 PM

I lived in Glasgow for some years as a lad - the accent I picked up got me into bother at school when I went back to Lancashire, as they thought I was Scottish! So I've no problem with understanding the accent and, in fact, drop back into it if I meet a Scot. This can be a problem, as they sometimes think I'm taking the piss...

When we went up to Glasgow in 2001 - my first time for 50 years - I could slip in and out of the accent as though I'd never left. Mrs. F., on the other hand, had to have me translate for her when the taxi-driver taking us to the Burrell Collection started chatting merrily away!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: meself
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 12:43 PM

I don't think Americans could care less about furriners faking some kind of American accent - after all, Jagger's gotten away with his hilarious attempt for - how many years now? And for that matter, most of the Americans you hear singing rock/pop are faking some idea of some generic backwoods Southern accent ....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Stephen Harvey
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 01:22 PM

A subject near and dear to my heart! I am Canadian of Yorkshire parentage. For quite a number of years, I have been singing songs which contain Scots words and doing so in a Scots accent. I realise that my "accent" is a generic one but usually based on the singer from whom I've learned the song. So, "The John MacClean March" and "The Freedom Come-All-Ye", learned from the singing of Dick Gaughan. For me, the pronunciation is an integral part of the music itself - I love the feel of the words as I sing them. I know this flies in the face of the opinion of Mr. Gaughan himself who advocates singing dialect words in one's own accent.
Lately, I have made a decision to sing less of those sorts of songs in public (although I rarely sing in public anymore.) I just feel a little less sure of myself in this regard; some of the discussion here is reflective of my own self-discussion.
I'll mostly just sing the "John MacClean's March" type of song when I'm on my own, I think, savouring the sound and feel of the words in private. Only the cat and dogs will have to put up with it (mind you, one's part Border Collie, so I'll have to be careful singing Willie Scott's "The Shepherd's Song" around him.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Stephen Harvey
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 01:25 PM

Sorry, "John MacLean"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 02:00 PM

Somebody name-checked Ewan MacColl. Indeed, this subject reminds me of young Peggy Seeger, rather newly arrived in the UK, who listened to a native Englishman imitating Leadbelly and, as you have put it, nearly "corpsed." She referred to that incident for years after.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: meself
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 03:54 PM

I get the "savouring the sound and feel of the words" - but I regard that as something of a guilty pleasure: the native-speaker is not "savouring", etc., when singing the dialect song, so when you or I are savouring, we're play-acting, rather than allowing the song its own life, so to speak. My own rule of thumb is to bring a dialect-song (if I must sing it) as close to my own natural pronunciation as I can manage. Sometimes the way a word or phrase is set to the melody requires a bit of an exaggerated or affected twist, but I try to minimize these.

OTOH, there are children of immigrants who say they grew up singing songs with the full-on accent of their parents, so that seems to be the natural way for them to sing ... so ... I don't know. And once I had an elderly Scottish woman adamant that I should sing "Ye'll tak the high road" rather than "Ye'll take", the way I'd learned it on my mother's knee (I've compromised ever since with something half-way between a long and short 'a').


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Geordie Lad
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 04:33 PM

Marje -    "Wor Geordie's lost 'is Penker" was the song I was referring to!
I recently heard a broad Lancashire version of "all the good times" - "the unter as ung up is orn"
Nice!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Senoufou
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 04:35 PM

I catch accents like germs. I only have to listen to someone for a few minutes and I'm off speaking just like them. It's embarrassing sometimes, as I can't seem to stop doing it.

So, we have three choices:-

1) Try to imitate the original accent of the song.
2) Sing it in the accent of your own region.
3) Use a hybrid accent, a 'compromise' of the two.

I'd choose 1), but only if you can do it really convincingly.
If not, then 3).
It would be hilarious, in my opinion, to hear a Scots song sung in RP.
Or one of our Norfolk's Singing Postman's songs sung in a broad Welsh accent. It would be a comedy turn!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: michaelr
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 08:05 PM

I'm a German native living in the US who sings Scots, Irish, and English songs, so my speaking accent is a jumble. I've always been a sponge and mimic - as a child on vacation I'd pick up an Austrian mountain accent in a matter of days without much being aware of it.

In performance, I'm more concerned with American audiences being able to follow the story. Consequently, I use June Tabor's anglicized version of "Geordie", and a partially 'translated' version of "A Man's A Man". I don't consciously try to imitate singers or speakers, but bits do of necessity slip in.

So, to Andy's question "How much should you try to match the original, and how much should you try to make it into your own version of the song, with whatever accent you happen to have?" I would say, Sing in a way that is natural and comfortable to you, and don't try to imitate.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: BobL
Date: 15 Jun 16 - 03:55 AM

Nothing, or so I am told, brings tears to the eyes of a native speaker so much as a Yorkshireman trying to speak Welsh.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jun 16 - 04:12 AM

"Nothing, or so I am told, brings tears to the eyes of a native speaker so much as a Yorkshireman trying to speak Welsh."
As much as I admired the man, you should have heard Ewan speak Liverpoolese
"Sing in a way that is natural and comfortable to you, and don't try to imitate."
Absolutely.
I would be interested to learn how people like yourself actually cope with situations that must be totally alien to you - or are there parallels in your own experiences that enable you to do so?
That's one of the ways we attempted to approach songs in The Critics Group.
"Peggy Seeger, rather newly arrived in the UK,"
Peggy tells the story and explains her actions in one of a series of letters to 'The Living Tradition Magazine' following a letter I wrote entitled, 'Where Have All the Folksongs Gone' - lively, if somewhat depressing debate, looking back
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jun 16 - 04:22 AM

Whoops - missed a bit.
I meant to tell the story of an old Irish dancer/singer we recorded back in the 80s in South East London, Mikey Kelleher of West Clare.
He emigrated to England in 1949 and never went back; he never lost either his accent or appearance - after thirty-odd years he still looked and sounded like the West Clare farmer/fisherman he once was.
He gleefully told us that when he first arrived in Leicester, his landlady referred to him as "Mickie the Greek", because. "I don't understand a bloody word you say".
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: matt milton
Date: 15 Jun 16 - 05:20 AM

@Jim: I didn't know the song "Sarah Collins the Female Transport" until I googled it just now.

Are these the words you sing (give or take)?
http://digital.nls.uk/english-ballads/pageturner.cfm?id=74892349&mode=transcription

If so, I wouldn't worry. Just sing it! I mean, unless you're built like a WWF wrestler and have a bellowing baritone voice an octave deeper than Barry White, there'll be nothing ridiculous about singing the words "Sarah Collins is my name..."

It's debatable how much there is in that song that is specifically female gendered. On a literal level, there's just the "come all ye" addressed to women; the protagonist's first name; and a reference to "us poor girls". So, if you really really felt uncomfortable with the gendering you could always just change the first name and alter the gendering of those two lines.

However, given that the song is indeed "Sarah Collins, the Female Transport", I don't think I'm completely barking in noting an implication/subtext in this verse:

"We labour hard from morn to night until our bones do ache,
And every one they must obey, their mould beds must make,
We often wish when we lay down, we ne'er may rise no more,
To meet our savage governors upon Van Dieman's shore."

The lines "every one they must obey, their mould beds must make" so close to references to "meeting our savage governors" have overtones of sexual harassment/abuse that probably wouldn't suggest themselves were it a male-gendered song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jun 16 - 07:01 AM

Hi Matt
Thanks for your thoughts
As you suggest, it wouldn't take many tweaks to change the gender of the song - I have considered it in the past, even considering 'Jackie' instead of Sarah Collins - the mid boggled and I decided not to go there (did some electrical work for her and her sister Joan once)!!
I Know there ere alternatives but in the end I decided to leave it where it was.
I was knocked out when I heard Sandra Kerr sing it many years ago and the one thing that impressed me was it's uniqueness as a 'Female Transportation' song.
Women get a rough deal as it is from this male orientated society so why rob them of a good song?
I believe it to be such a good song that I would like to hear it sung around by women.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: clueless don
Date: 15 Jun 16 - 09:11 AM

I remember commenting on this in another thread. I sometimes perform comic recitations, mostly several written by Marriott Edgar - Albert and the Lion, The Battle of Hastings, Three Ha'pence a Foot, etc. It would be ridiculous for me to speak in my own Washington DC Southern drawl, so I imitate the accents used in my sources - mostly recordings, but I also have very fond memories of hearing Tony Barrand perform them live. They are usually well received, but I'm waiting for the day when someone is offended by my imitation of the accent.

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Jun 16 - 09:56 AM

Don't worry Don. I've heard these recitations done by performers in the UK - none of whom seem to come from Lancashire, in which accent many of the monologues are performed. Stanley Holloway himself was a Londoner and his northern accent in the monologues always sounds slightly false.

Marriott Edgar himself was born in Scotland, so there's no rhyme nor reason for anything!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 16 - 02:02 PM

If one wishes to hear a risible phoney Scots accent tune into the !"Kist of Riches" site and listen to the recordings of one Ewan MacColl/Jimmy Millar made in the early 50s.
These may pass mustard South of Hadrians Wall and in the wider world as examples of someone speaking and singing in the Scots language, in the land they seek to portray all they cause is a laugh or a quiet smile from those with ears to hear.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Penny S.
Date: 16 Jun 16 - 03:32 PM

I grew up with Marriott Edgar, and would read him at school, in the manner of Stanley Holloway, until I was banned by a Mancunian colleague. She also told us that we were pronouncing bath wrong, according to her elocution teacher, and she couldn't grasp that what said teacher meant was that it was wrong for her, not us, and we weren't inserting an 'r' in it anyway.

Have you ever tried reciting 'Albert and the Lion' in RP? Corpsing is the least of it! Estuary is slightly better.

I'm one of those who picks up accents a bit without trying - and I can feel the shape my mouth needs to be in directly from the sound. Care is required so as not to make people think mickey is being taken. And I can't do it with the singing voice, anyway, so it doesn't arise with songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Penny S.
Date: 16 Jun 16 - 03:35 PM

Forgot to add, I don't take any notice of gender. Well, I might if a song was deeply sexist and horrendously macho, but by and large, if I like it, I sing it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jun 16 - 05:21 PM

"mustard South of Hadrians Wall "
Pass Mustard doesn't, but pass muster might - it's English, you see
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 16 - 06:53 PM

Post-prandial post---the mustard was hot stuff!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jun 16 - 07:45 PM

"In most cases, using accents that are not your own is totally unnecessary and often detrimental to your being involved in the song - how do you relate to your voice if it is not your own?"
MacColl imo failed miserably with his attempts at a scottish accent.
"I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the MacColl myth of making a rule that you must sing songs from your own region.
When Alan Lomax came to Britain in the 1950s he found the scene was ful of wannabe Woodies and Huddies and all the American stars of the time, including Ewan and Bert Lloyd (still have a recording of Ewan's 'Sixteen Tons'.
The great BBC mopping-up project had not long taken place and Lomax berated them, pointing out that if all those wonderful songs weren't sung they would die.
Ewan and Bert became born-again English speakers and insisted that the resident of his club should sing songs from their own country (not region) in accents as near to their own as possible - it's all written up somewhere.
Ewan was lucky - his home environment was Scots so, while by that time he was speaking in a middle-of-the road English accent, he has his home environment to fall back on."
Ewan MacColl insisted in his over bearing way that singers at the singers club should sing in the following way and here is a quote from peggy seeger
..This policy was meant for OUR club, not for other clubs. The policy was simple: If you were singing from the stage, you sang in a language that you could speak and understand.
what was ridiculous about this policy and rather peculiar coming from a communist like Ewan MacColl, it meant that if an English born singer wanted to sing a song from America for example Dark as the dungeon, This land is your land, OR any other Guthrie song they would not be allowed to at the singers club, if they were english, if that was the case it was proscriptive and ridiculous .
MacColl, was a very good songwriter, but in my opinion this policy of the singers club was flawed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jun 16 - 07:53 PM

"Post-prandial post"
Didn't mean to criticise - been there myself - the night before last, in fact
BTW
Ewan, having grown up in a Scots household, had a perfectly good Scots accent when he cared to use it.
As an actor, he chose to neutralise it so it could be understood in laces like Darkest Droylsden and when he decided to specialise in the ballads, he applied that to his singing.
I remember being able to understand his ballads virtually from day one - it made me a life-long devotee.
I also remember listening to Jimmy McBeath Davy Stewart and even Belle and Sheila for the first time and looking down for the sub-titles - as my old man was born in Glasgow.
Singing has to be a two-way process (folk, that is).
You have to make it move you by not moving away from yourself too far while at the same time, communicating that song/ballad/tale to whoever you're singing to.
I had an odd experience regarding accents when I was working in a public hall in London.
I befriended an Iranian-Kurd caretaker in the hall and we found we not only shared political views, but both of us were avid film-buffs.
Ali ran a film club for his fellow Kurds in the hall and he approached me with a video copy of Jim Allen's, Ken Loach's film, 'The Big Flame, set in the Liverpool Docks.
He wished to insert Kurdish sub-titles and he requested I translate the film from Liverpoolese into English so he could then translate it into Kurdish.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 Jun 16 - 07:57 PM

I have lived in Scotland for the last 30 years, so I have a lot of Scots songs in my repertoire, and many Scottish friends who speak in dialect (not just accent). Indeed, I was born in Scotland, but taken to England as a baby, so hence speak with an English accent. My mother was Scottish, so I was brought up hearing at least her accent (somewhere between Aberdeen and Greenock!)
As other posters have said, some are better at doing accents beyond "their own" than others, and even with my background, I do sometimes cringe at some attempts at singing in Scots by those who really haven't a clue. However there are some songs, e.g. Adam McNaughtan's "Yellow on the Broom", where there are a good number of dialect words, and would you really attempt to Anglicise such a song? NO!
On the other hand, I was brought up in Suffolk, and there are so few people who can actually do a Suffolk accent other than those brought up there: it all ends up as standard "BBC rural" with rolled rrrrrs (no, they don't do that in Suffolk, that's more West Country). In Suffolk you get the elongated vowels and diphthongs: e.g, a word like "there" becomes "theyere".
Have to say, I go with what our Hamronium hero has said; all makes sense to me!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jun 16 - 01:26 PM

Ewan, lost the plot when he agreed to the singers club policy.
He allowed a dictatorial and inflexible policy people in his club, which discouraged English people from singing american songs of social comment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Senoufou
Date: 17 Jun 16 - 02:42 PM

Some people are just born with the gift of mimicry. There's a lad on Youtube who 'does' about twelve accents in swift succession (his friend made some very good cartoons to go with it.) It ends with a Nigerian accent (amazingly authentic to my ears)

My niece (a Scot), when about four years old, had a lot of those little plastic Sylvanian Families toys, and she'd given every family a different accent. I've no idea where she'd got them from, TV I suppose. One monkey toy she had 'spoke' in what I'd call a 'Used Car Salesman' Cockney spiv accent. It was really weird to hear her, as if she was possessed. And I was exactly like that as a child! My Irish mother could do this too, so maybe it's inherited.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Senoufou
Date: 17 Jun 16 - 02:46 PM

If anyone wants to listen to the Youtube lad, he's called Truseneye92.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: BobL
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 02:34 AM

SatNavs ought to give directions in a regional accent appropriate to where they find themselves - it should be technically possible, and so humanizing. Although it might get out of hand on a journey across Europe....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 03:04 AM

"Some people are just born with the gift of mimicry"
True, but mimicry is not interpretation, which I believe is essential to the full enjoyment of folk songs
If mimicry was what we were after, we'd fill our guest-lists with minah-birds and parrots.
I used to enjoy listening to Ronnie Ronalde, bot I can't see him making a decent job of The Flying Cloud.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 03:29 AM

i believe singers should try and sing in their own accents.
I noticed recently a couple of English singers, singing songs about their area but in an American accent,I was puzzled as to what was the reason for this.
Mimicry is not interpretation, at one time their were a lot of people who mimiced Martin Carthys guitar style, in my opinion mimicry is only alright if it is a stepping stone to developing ones own style, part of a learning curve, to develop a style it is necessary to have influences. mimicry reminds me of the difference between a photograph and a painting, a photograph gives an exact copy but a painting should have a degree of interpretation


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 04:06 AM

Imitation is an excellent way of finding the limitations of your own voice and extending those limitations, but only, in my opinion, while working on your voice.
One of the basic exercises we did in the Critics group was to listen to recordings of singers, attempt to reproduce the sound made than analyse how that sound was being produced, it's component parts, which part of the part of the body is was coming from....etc.
Not only was this useful for your own singing, but it provided a vocabulary that could be used to assist others - a common language for passing on suggestions.
Dick's comment about singers singing songs from their areas in false alien reminds me of the time we booked a superb instrumentalist who had helped provide accompaniment for Ewan and Peggy's album of Radio Ballad songs, but who also sang and wrote his own songs.
He introduced one of his songs:
"I was working in Butlins in Pwllhli and I met a girl there and we hooked up for the season.
At the end of the season we went our separate ways and, as I was travelling home on the train through all the different stations I was thinking of how each one was another milestone between us, so I decided to write a song using the station names.
When I finished it I though all the Welsh names sounded phony, so I changed them to American ones, like Memphis, and Nashville and Clarkesdale".
He then proceeded to sing the song in an incredibly false American accent.   
It seemed sad that someone should take an obviously important and moving experience and place it at arms length.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 05:06 AM

I don't think there IS a protocol. I'm from Eire yet I usually in fluent merican/anglo/Irish accent as thh vast m ajoriy of singers do. Probably because as someone explained to years ao, mot Country or Irush songs rely quite heavily on a strong R sound and in fct that R o ER                        sound forms the basis of most song. So when as is often the case onMudcat peopl criricuse singers for 'adopting' a fake American accent Yes just a few do. They are in fact simply adopting the international accent of song. As for Scottish trad, yes almost uniquely Scottich trad s usually sung om shok, horror, a SCOTTISH accent. But do not try copying i, it'l probabky just sound offensive unless you are a tkented mimic. Try trear it instead as an adaptation and do your own interpretation


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 08:30 AM

Sorry Desi, as an Irish resident I find Country and Irish songs sung in an American accent cringe-making.
It is compounded on the country scene by all those cowboy outfits.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 11:52 AM

2 comments - 1) some songs (e.g., Molly Malone's "she died of a fever/and noone could save her") only rhyme in the original accent, and 2) I have not a molecule of musical creativity, I copy, so I sing all songs in the accent in which I heard them. I could sing along to Dalmatian folk songs I didn't understand a word of, and mom, who did, could tell that I wasn't breaking the sounds up right, singing, for instance, svep ticsice instead of sve pticsice izgore, or however you spell what was apparently 2 little birds. Who knew.
So my response to the original poster is, if you hear songs in an accent but sing in your own voice, bully for you, I can't do that. I guess I would go for a compromise that would allow me to sing the rhymes right... and not choose those particular songs in venues where that accent is local.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 12:08 PM

Exactly. We all have different ways. Some are better at accents than others. I was once asked by a Cambridge-based drama festival invigilator if I came from the north of England when I played Harold Gorringe in Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy with a Liverpool accent; after which he awarded me the Best Actor cup. And when I played an American reporter in Noel Coward's Relative Values for the Shelford [Cambs] Drama Circle, one of my co-members who had brought American guests to watch it, told me afterwards that one of them had said "You were lucky to have a real American to play that part". In fact I come from North London [Hampstead/Hendon] originally. So I think I can claim to be good at some accents at least. See my youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/mgmyer

where there are various American, Scottish &c songs, to see if you agree. And note that I only use any sort of accent other than my own when it seems to me appropriate to the song. There would for instance imo be no point in singing "I'm Bound to Follow the Longhorn Cows" in other than an American accent.

≈M≈


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 02:04 PM

If imitation of an accent is a problem, then -- rest assured -- the audience will also have a problem.

I'm with Jim Carroll's earlier post on 14/6 which suggested that adaptation of text into local pronunciation could still produce a good version, although both he and Tattie Bogle (later) also addressed the problem of dialect words.

IMHO some are too valuable or special to be denied -- TB mentions Adam McNaughtan's song 'The Yellow on the Broom' (based on Scots traveller Betsy Whyte's volume of family reminiscence) in which he uses her traveller cant for townspeople or settled folk -- scaldies: the whole sound of the word in your mouth is an expression of the sentiment of the verse and any replacement with something like 'townsfolk' would weaken the whole verse. So I'm with Jim's suggestion of a few judicious glossary notes in advance.

Mind you, not sure where that leaves me when one of the songs that speaks most to me is in potentially impenetrable North-East Scots Doric -- 'McGinty's Meal an Ale', by George Bruce Thomson. I first came across this in Norman Buchan's Ballads Club at Rutherglen Academy somewhere between 1958 and 1960 -- we heard it on a field recording and one of the lads in the club took it up so enthusiastically that we all roared out in the choruses and gradually picked up the sense of the narrative (a pig escapes during a rural celebration and accesses the drink-- after which he creates chaos rampaging through the house before finally being carried out - drunk - upon a shutter). But there was never a notion that words, in this particular instance, could be changed.
In fact, at last January's Celtic Connections there was a concert to celebrate the re-print of Norman Buchan's '101 Scottish Songs' - originally published in 1962 - when 22 singers came together to perform songs from the book and the celebrated bothy ballad singer Hector
Riddell sang McGinty's: on the accompanying DVD put out by the TMSA, you can view participation from the onstage performers (myself from near Glasgow and Margaret Bennet from Skye) joining in delightedly on the line about Mrs McGinty's distress -- 'An she let out a skirl that wad have paralysed a teuchit', where 'skirl' is a scream and 'teuchit' is a lapwing or peewit.
But it's providential that we both have Scottish vowels and the ability to produce a 'ch' sound? and also that we understand what the dialect words mean.

Not sure how much my meanderings have helped, but I have to come back to Jim Carroll's point (made either here on on another post) that an understanding of the song is the most important starting point -- if a singer sings from the heart then neither accent nor dialect should be unsurmountable problems.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: meself
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 03:06 PM

Mrzy: if you have the time and inclination, would you care to elaborate on "some songs (e.g., Molly Malone's "she died of a fever/and noone could save her") only rhyme in the original accent"? In my own (Canadian) accent, there is no problem with any of the rhymes in Molly Malone, so I'm wondering what the challenge is in the accents with which you are familiar - in your example, would it be that one word takes a hard 'r' and the other a soft?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 05:21 PM

It seems to me phoney and unnecessary to assume an accent other than one's own for a song that comes from somewhere where the accent is a lot different (for example someone from England singing a song from the southern US or Ireland) if the words are generally the same in one's own sort of English. (I used to do it myself in my younger days but I like to think I am wiser now.)

However it seem to me equally phoney to sing a song that is full of Scots words in RP.

One particular bugbear of mine is to hear someone singing in an English accent but with the odd "doon", "frae", "hae" etc here and there. Either those words should be replaced by "down", "from", "have" etc OR the whole song should be sung in Scots. Even if that is a sort of generic Scots, not exactly authentic for any specific part of Scotland, it seems to me a lot better than Scots words in an English accent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Eric
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 05:21 PM

I have struggled with this for years and find the topic depressing. I have been to a lot of singing classes in the folk area and have always had the folk police tell me I should sing in my own accent [Durham/Newcastle]. In fact about 10 years ago a couple of prominent musicians [one from the 50/60's generation and one more recent] insisted that I should not sing a song outside my own accent so I should not be singing some of the songs I do. However, I am an amateur who sings songs I like because I like them in the accents I first heard them in and I do not just do traditional English/Scots/Irish folk songs [and most country or americana songs sound daft in a North east accent]. I do not mimic them exactly but I have a reasonable facility with accents and can do an interpretation which the people who listen to me seem to like. So do I just give up because I can't meet the expectations of some of Ewan McColl's disciples? Luckily most of the people I sing with and to are also amateurs who just like the music.
Sorry if that sounds like a rant - good luck to anyone who wants to sing out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: Allan Conn
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 07:05 PM

"Sometimes they are written down in a phoneticised approximation of a Scots accent, which makes them look more Scottish than they sound"

Marje there is the Tom Leonard style of poetry, like many Facebookers etc, who write phonetically - but I'd say Scottish songs rather than being written in phonetic spelling in order to make them look more Scottish - are more often than not simply written in a traditional spelling of Scots. There is not a written standard but there is a tradition of spelling. The various dialect of Scots don't just have their vocabulary and verb forms but their spelling system too! Actually it could even be argued that the written form of some of the ballads etc are possibly anglicised to make them seem closer to Standard English than they were! I'm sure Scott was accused of that.

Writers of Scots find it a problem sometimes and some words often tend to be written in a way that they maybe would be in England if pronounced that way rather than in a more traditional Scots spelling. I'm thinking 'hoose, moose, toon" etc

There have been various, not rules, but recent recommendations for writing in Scots published. First in the mid-20thC in the aftermath of the Scots Rennaissance and then more recently. People use all kinds of weird phonetic spelling on social media sometimes without realising there is a tradition of Scots spelling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Accents
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 18 Jun 16 - 07:16 PM

Eric -- if you have an audience that likes what you do, be grateful and carry on.

But do know that there is another audience out there which would nit-pick to - probably - the nth degree about anything that is not "authentic".

There is a real argument to be had about the enjoyment of an audience which has possibly been introduced to new (and foreign) traditions, albeit in different forms: I'm thinking of my own introduction to American folk music, starting with Pete Seeger and the Weavers and progressing through Jean Ritchie, Doc Watson, Hedy West et al (with side journeys through Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston).
Should we assume that such an audience will only accept 'the authentic'? Or should we expect that the song content will be so compelling that an audience will accept what might be called translations?

I'm coming down on the side of presenting the texts in a comfortable local accent -- I think I could sing a Woody Guthrie song such as 'Tom Joad' in my own accent, though I'd have to acknowledge that that might be down to 50-odd years of exposure to the text?

But I'd probably have a difficulty with a very localised song (thinking of songs from areas with a very distinctive local pronunciation like NE England and Yorkshire -- Ilkley Moor, for example). Though I'd be very happy to be there when a chorus was required!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 February 12:17 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.