Aretha Franklin’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T. is a popular choice for singing contests, but a lot of singers stumble over the ‘spelling’ part of the song. It feels too crowded, so they drop a letter, usually the C. Continue reading Where is the Y in R.E.S.P.E.C.T.?
English is a perfect language for music. Its infinite flexibility lets it bend and stretch to suit any melody. Subtle differences in pronunciation communicate great differences in emotion. Even at the level of single consonants.
Listen to Laura Marling singing her song Little Love Caster. How does she pronounce the tt of little? Does it sound like a clear double t, a double d, or something in between the two?
If you’re not a native speaker of English, you might struggle to hear and to reproduce the difference between d and th (ð) sounds. Don’t give up! If you sing ‘dey‘ instead of ‘they‘ or sing ‘dose‘ instead of ‘those,’ you sound as if you have a very bad cold. To a native speaker, you sound as if your nose is blocked. That’s not an attractive thought to put in their mind. You can’t avoid the soft th of English. The word the is the most common word in the English language.
Listen to the Mamas and the Papas singing California Dreaming. Focus on the clear, clean d of dreaming, day and down. Fix that sound in your head. Enjoy the bathtub dancers.
When you listen to the Stranglers’ song Golden Brown, pay close attention to the word brown. Do you notice anything unusual?