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Thread: American accents are the most nuetral

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    American accents are the most nuetral

    This subject is actually very interesting to me.
    Watching the AMA's tonight you just see so many Brits singing in what appear to be American accents.
    One Direction, Sam Smith(who is incredible),etc..
    I just always assumed it was either they were just copying the pop songs they heard from America or trying to appeal to the US audience.

    But then I read up on it and it is the rhythm and the notes that force them to sing in a more neutral accent, which turns out to be "American"

    But how do Americans, being a relatively young country, have the most neutral accent?

    Really is a fascinating subject to read up on

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    I don't believe that for a second.....people from other countries sing in american voices to copy style...its as simple as that..Sam Smith sings "soul" which is an american genre..he does that to be accepted in that genre

    as far as neutral accents go....there is no such thing...everyone has an accent...and it would be up to the person listening to discern how "neutral" it is...and that would probably mean its similar to theirs or to their perceived idea of "neutral"

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonone View Post
    I don't believe that for a second.....people from other countries sing in american voices to copy style...its as simple as that..Sam Smith sings "soul" which is an american genre..he does that to be accepted in that genre

    as far as neutral accents go....there is no such thing...everyone has an accent...and it would be up to the person listening to discern how "neutral" it is...and that would probably mean its similar to theirs or to their perceived idea of "neutral"
    I believe that is just them sort of singing what they hear also.

    But from what I read up on, the phonetics of the songs and rhtym force it.
    I am still reading up on it because I do find it fascinating

    One of the examples they gave that favor that they are copying the accent is Keith Urban because he wouldn't sing in a southern American accent

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonone View Post

    as far as neutral accents go....there is no such thing...everyone has an accent...and it would be up to the person listening to discern how "neutral" it is...and that would probably mean its similar to theirs or to their perceived idea of "neutral"
    As for neutrality of an accent......coming.from someone with one of the most distinct accents......I wouldn't say people recognize their accent as neutral......I think there is a sort of accepted neutral accent

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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    I believe that is just them sort of singing what they hear also.

    But from what I read up on, the phonetics of the songs and rhtym force it.
    I am still reading up on it because I do find it fascinating

    One of the examples they gave that favor that they are copying the accent is Keith Urban because he wouldn't sing in a southern American accent
    Why British Singers Lose Their Accents When Singing

    Mick Jagger, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Ed Sheeran, Phil Collins and George Michael all grew up in or near London and have very recognizably British accents. Once on stage, they sing like someone who grew up in New England rather than old. Yet another example is Adele, who has a lovely speaking voice, a very heavy cockney accent, yet her singing pipes do not indicate her dialect. One might argue that Adele’s speaking and singing voices were two different people if listening without visuals. Going beyond the British, we see the same thing with other non-American musicians, such as the Swedish band ABBA, and many others singing in English, yet from various places around the world. It seems like no matter where you’re from, if you’re singing in English, you’re probably singing with an American accent, unless you’re actively trying to retain your native accent, which some groups do.
    There are several reasons we notice accents ‘disappearing’ in song, and why those singing accents seem to default to “American”. In a nutshell, it has a lot to do with phonetics, the pace at which they sing and speak, and the air pressure from one’s vocal chords. As far as why “American” and not some other accent, it’s simply because the generic “American” accent is fairly neutral. Even American singers, if they have, for instance, a strong “New Yorker” or perhaps a “Hillbilly” accent, will also tend to lose their specific accent, gravitating more towards neutral English, unless they are actively trying not to, as many Country singers might.

    For the specific details, we’ll turn to linguist and author, David Crystal, from Northern Ireland. According to Crystal, a song’s melody cancels out the intonations of speech, followed by the beat of the music cancelling out the rhythm of speech. Once this takes place, singers are forced to stress syllables as they are accented in the music, which forces singers to elongate their vowels. Singers who speak with an accent, but sing it without, aren’t trying to throw their voice to be deceptive or to appeal to a different market; they are simply singing in a way that naturally comes easiest, which happens to be a more neutral way of speaking, which also just so happens to be the core of what many people consider an “American” accent.To put it in another way, it’s the pace of the music that affects the pace of the singer’s delivery. A person’s accent is easily detectable when they are speaking at normal speed. When singing, the pace is often slower. Words are drawn out and more powerfully pronounced and the accent becomes more neutral.
    Another factor is that the air pressure we use to make sounds is much greater when we sing. Those who sing have to learn to breathe correctly to sustain notes for the right amount of time, and singing requires the air passages to expand and become larger. This changes the quality of the sound. As a result, regional accents can disappear because syllables are stretched out and stresses fall differently than in normal speech. So, once again, this all adds up to singing accents becoming more neutral.
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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    ^ what a load of old codswallop.....its just bending to the might of fashion..someone's trying to justify their thesis....

    The Beatles...sang with clear British/Liverpool accents...but they had the might at the time and had many imitators..even US bands were adopting it...The Stones (Jagger) on the other hand started out singing with a clear english accent which got dropped when they would do R+B roots stuff...if you don't believe that go back and listen to "As Tears Go By" and much of their early pop stuff when Brian Jones was still alive

    so Irish bands like the Pogues and many others...sorry can't sing with my Irish accent any more..its too hard

    Australian singers like Slim Dusty etc...nah...can't do that....gotta be American

    Obviously singers doing C+W use southern US "twang" accents...rappers from all over the world use "black" inner city venacular and urban accents...Soul Singers also borrow from their US counterparts as that is where the music came from but its not the same accent as a rapper....and US white pop accents are mimicked by singers all around the world who want to sound 'merican

    There is not one universal American accent that is used in singing...as I have demonstrated above there are loads..and there are still many singers from all around the world singing in their own language and accents

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonone View Post
    ^ what a load of old codswallop.....its just bending to the might of fashion..someone's trying to justify their thesis....

    The Beatles...sang with clear British/Liverpool accents...but they had the might at the time and had many imitators..even US bands were adopting it...The Stones (Jagger) on the other hand started out singing with a clear english accent which got dropped when they would do R+B roots stuff...if you don't believe that go back and listen to "As Tears Go By" and much of their early pop stuff when Brian Jones was still alive

    so Irish bands like the Pogues and many others...sorry can't sing with my Irish accent any more..its too hard

    Australian singers like Slim Dusty etc...nah...can't do that....gotta be American

    Obviously singers doing C+W use southern US "twang" accents...rappers from all over the world use "black" inner city venacular and urban accents...Soul Singers also borrow from their US counterparts as that is where the music came from but its not the same accent as a rapper....and US white pop accents are mimicked by singers all around the world who want to sound 'merican

    There is not one universal American accent that is used in singing...as I have demonstrated above there are loads..and there are still many singers from all around the world singing in their own language and accents
    Name one major singer or band who sings in their own accents? I can't

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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    Name one major singer or band who sings in their own accents? I can't
    Tom Waits, The Proclaimers, Cerys Matthews, Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Arctic Monkeys, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Lilly Allen, Sinead O'Connor, Shane MacGowan, Robert Plant, . A lot don't though...

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waharoa View Post
    Tom Waits, The Proclaimers, Cerys Matthews, Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Arctic Monkeys, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Lilly Allen, Sinead O'Connor, Shane MacGowan, Robert Plant, . A lot don't though...
    Maybe my ears are trained to hear what I hear most but most of those people don't seem to be singing with their country's accent

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    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    I'm not even sure Americans have an "accent"... we have many, not just one!

    Someone from Louisiana sounds nothing like someone from California. Someone from Boston sounds nothing like a Texan. Not sure how we can be the most nuetral when we have several severe accents within our borders.

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    Maybe my ears are trained to hear what I hear most but most of those people don't seem to be singing with their country's accent
    Try listening to opera singers singing some of the great Italian arias....you will hear them singing with an elocuted Italian accent

    horses for courses...and to please an audience
    Last edited by nelsonone; 24th November 2014 at 23:43.

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    one of the reasons I dismiss this sort of thing is because when I was in a band in the late 70's early 80's we had a manager and record producer who both wanted us to sing with more english accents when punk was "in"...and then within 2 years when that had moved on and "new wave" was on the rise they wanted us to sing 'merican...we did just fine in our own voices

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    Senior Member stupscott's Avatar
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    The American market's the one that makes the big bucks, perhaps that's why these pop acts (One Direction and Sam Smith, really Paulie I can't figure out if your turning into a teenage girl or a queen!) sing in an American accent.

    Biffy Clyro sing in their Scottsh accents, Sting sings in a Geordie/Jamaican accent (wtf!) I like to hear an authentic accent in a song whether it's American or not, Missy Higgins or INXS from Australia or a bit of Julio Iglesias :P

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    By the way..........I should have put a ? in the title

    Because it certainly wasn't a boast or something to take pride in..............was just something I found unusual

  15. #15
    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    ^ for mine the most neutral accent is the one used by many of the BBC on air presenters/reporters (like Stephen Sackur from Hard Talk).....it is (mostly) devoid of regionality and for me is easily understood

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    I just didn't understand articles that say the American accent is the most neutral

    How could that be from such a young country

    But I'd love to dive into research about accents in general

    Why the Fcuk can't I say "r's"?? 555

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    Senior Member billpay's Avatar
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    I don't know about how 'neutral' the American accent is, but I think it is by far the easiest for the Thais to understand.
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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billpay View Post
    I don't know about how 'neutral' the American accent is, but I think it is by far the easiest for the Thais to understand.
    I would base that purely off of pop culture

    My wife will literally stop watching something on TV if a British accents pops up.....she won't even try and understand it

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    Senior Member billpay's Avatar
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    ^^Same as me.55555
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    Senior Member Geespot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    Maybe my ears are trained to hear what I hear most but most of those people don't seem to be singing with their country's accent
    Proclaimers you can actually hear their Edinburgh accent when they sing

    I think it is a matter of tuning you ear

    American accents and maybe to a lesser extent English is the norm in films, tv series and international teaching of english, so it kinda makes sense that ESOL may understand the accent easily

    One of my friends is from Richmond Virginia; I have a difficult time catching what he is saying first time. California accents to my ear seem to be the flattest and easiest to understand. I agree with Nels that BBC presenters probably have the best command and easiest to understand English in the UK.......and not all of them are English!!

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