Jessie J and Boney M: spot the d-d-difference

Listen to Jessie J singing ‘world dance’ in the chorus of Price Tag. How does she pronounce the of world and then the of dance? Does she sing worlddance with a double sound? Does she drop the first and sing worl’ dance? Listen closely. She does something subtle and crucial:

Did you hear it? Jessie ghosts the D at the end of world and then pronounces the D of dance clearly. She leaves a tiny gap between the ghost at the end of world and the strong D at the beginning of dance. If you didn’t hear it, listen again until you do. It’s worth it. These conscious subtleties of enunciation are essential when you sing in English.

Why does Jessie use a ghost  at the end of world? She knows that her listeners will hear the word whirl, if she doesn’t mark the D at the end of the word world clearly. Whirl dance makes sense in English, but Jessie doesn’t want her audience to be distracted by thoughts of whirling dervishes. Remember: she wrote Price Tag. She chose each word for a reason. She’s singing about making the world dance. She wants her audience to understand her meaning clearly.

You think there’s no difference between Jessie J’s choice to sing a ghosted D + clear D in world dance and how the double of “worlddance”  would have sounded? Are you sure?

Your English teachers for today are Boney M. Here they are with a generous 33 examples of the double D sound in the middle of Daddy Cool. In the snow. Just for you:

Can you hear the difference now?

When you’re singing in English, be careful to mark the ends of your words. Use ghosts if necessary. There are more than a quarter of a million distinct words in the English language. When you sing, you want to be absolutely sure that your audience are hearing the right one.

© Sing Better English, 2014


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