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To find the excessively rolled R sound an irritating distraction in songs?

(29 Posts)
Dipankrispaneven Sun 28-Dec-14 16:52:16

It's particularly prevalent at this time of year, with people warbling on about Merrrrrrrry Chrrrrrrristmas, the Chrrrrrrist child, holly berrrries etc. Yes, I KNOW the theory is that it's necessary because the R sound is weak, but really, that's a load of nonsense, isn't it? No-one seriously thinks they're singing "Mewwy Chistmas", do they? And singers in musicals etc manage to make themselves perfectly well understood without doing it.

It was brought home to me today on listening to that version of "Walking In The Air" where adult Aled Jones duets with a recording of himself as a child. Young Aled, as a well-trained choirboy, trills on about drrrrrreams and frrrrrozen strrrreams, whilst adult Aled has plainly learnt better and sings like a normal human being. And actually adult Aled comes over much more clearly without all those intrrrrrusive R sounds.

Mrsmorton Sun 28-Dec-14 16:56:43

Tis proper annunciation innit. Like they say chriSTmaS. I like it.

HSMMaCM Sun 28-Dec-14 17:11:40

All well trained choristers are taught to roll their R's. Sorry.

Chippednailvarnish Sun 28-Dec-14 17:12:56

I can't roll my R's, I'm jealous!

SirVixofVixHall Sun 28-Dec-14 17:14:02

And Aled Jones is Welsh. We role our rs in wales anyway.

Hatespiders Sun 28-Dec-14 17:19:13

When the organ is playing in church to accompany the choir, the words have to be enunciated very clearly or they're completely lost. All church choirs sing like this.

Hatespiders Sun 28-Dec-14 17:22:28

I studied French at Edinburgh Uni, and the Scots had beautiful French accents because, like the Welsh, they too pronounce their r's with emphasis.

AmIthatHot Sun 28-Dec-14 17:38:02

I'm a normal human being and I pronounce my Rs. I'm unclear from the OP what sound the singers should be making fconfused

woowoo22 Sun 28-Dec-14 17:54:12

There is a word for why Scottish people say caR, as do Welsh, Irish and Americans, whereas English people say caaaA.

Cannot remember the fecking word.

Hatespiders Sun 28-Dec-14 17:55:40

I studied Phonetics for a year at Uni during my 3 yr French degree course, and as I understand it there are several types of 'r' sounds. The one the op doesn't much like is trilled or fricative, whereas a speaker of RP ('newsreader English') uses a post-alveolar approximant for 'r'. In speech it's all just interesting regional variations, but in singing, you need to change the sounds a bit to make them distinct. Another one they change is the 'i' sound in, say, silver. A singer would sing 'seelver'.
(I adored Phonetics!)

woowoo22 Sun 28-Dec-14 17:57:46

Rhotic R???? Is that it?

Dipankrispaneven Sun 28-Dec-14 17:58:26

AmI, of course the vast majority of us pronounce the R sound. However, in normal speech we don't excessively rrrrrrroll it - even the Scots - I should know, I am one.

SirVix, Aled Jones is indeed Welsh, and it is interesting to note that, as an adult, he doesn't feel the need to roll the R sound when he sings even though he did as a child.

HSM, I also know that choristers are trained to do it. The point is that they don't need to be trained in that way. It's unnatural-sounding, it adds nothing, it's distracting and it's totally unnecessary. Choir masters need to keep their ears open and realise that singers the world over manage to sing with perfect clarity without doing it.

Dipankrispaneven Sun 28-Dec-14 18:01:11

HateSpiders, there is that perception that you need to change pronunciation when singing to make it more distinct, but clearly it's erroneous - witness the hordes of singers who don't do it whom we understand perfectly easily.

SirVixofVixHall Sun 28-Dec-14 18:05:36

I find that if I am singing in italian or latin, then the r does need to be rolled to give a crisp (or should that be crrrrisp) sound and clear enunciation. I do it in Welsh too obv, but less so in english depending on the song. (No I am not Aled)

AmIthatHot Sun 28-Dec-14 18:47:39

Thanks Hatespiders. I'm still still struggling to see/hear what the OP means.

Any examples of songs?

Dipankrispaneven Sun 28-Dec-14 19:36:46

There can't be specific examples of songs, because it's one of those things that some singers do, some don't.

But another instance I heard just now: a version of "Holy Night" where in the first line the singer sang "the stars are shining brrrrrrrrightly" with a very exaggerated rolled R. But almost immediately afterwards she sang "a thrill of hope" with the R in "thrill" sounded normally. In fact, she only did it once during the entire song, yet every word was perfectly clear and distinct. So why that ridiculously exaggerated sound in "brightly"?

wanderings Sun 28-Dec-14 21:43:13

"brrrrrrrightly" vs "thrill":

In brightly, there is a short b, leaving plenty of time to sound the r.
In thrill, th and l are quite "long" sounds, which take time to say, leaving less time for the r.

Our choir director regularly says these things:
"Diction!!"
"Consonants get lost in a big church."
"I want to hear a K, a good crisp K." (In words such as "wake").

Singing with a microphone (as on TV, recording, pop concert, musical) is one thing; technology does the carrying of the sound for the singer. However, choristers or opera singers have to carry the sound themselves, so they have to exaggerate the consonants to make them heard. Choristers who then take part in recordings probably have their habits ingrained. Aled Jones probably knows when it's necessary to roll his r's and when it isn't (and incidentally, I think it's a bit wrong the way he takes so much credit for Walking in the Air; that was originally performed by choir boy Peter Auty, who rarely gets a mention, and probably was paid far less!)

AmIthatHot Sun 28-Dec-14 22:58:26

Ah, thank you wanderings for the explanation.

I can hear it now.

I don't mind it fgrin

apotatoprintinapeartree Sun 28-Dec-14 23:03:33

Its how children are taught to sing and separates those that can from those who can't.
Fine by me, it shows a proper musical education, i love hearing rolled r's.

SorchaN Mon 29-Dec-14 01:33:52

I'm Scottish. I expect rolling Rs. I have Italian friends who find Scottish Rs a bit dull...

FitzgeraldProtagonist Mon 29-Dec-14 01:36:40

Do you mean like the word "Rrrrrrrrrrromantic" in Mr Boombastic?

Dipankrispaneven Mon 29-Dec-14 02:09:51

It shows a musical education, but a misguided one. Choir masters teach this quite mindlessly, without thinking about whether it's actually necessary or not. Seriously, when you hear "Once in Royal David's City" without a rolled R, is there anyone who is in any doubt about what the third word is?

NutellaLawson Mon 29-Dec-14 02:38:24

I'm with you on this one. Drives me up the bloody wall. You are singing in English so use correct English pronunciation! Rrrrrolling Rs is fine in other languages. But it's not how English is pronounced, typically. The silver becoming seelver is another mindless continuation of a pointless habit fight to be 'correct'.

In musical theatre they manage to sing the words so you can understand them without rolling any Rs. I've never been unable to tell they are singing Christmas without the unnatural trill in the word. It is hideous.

KatieKaye Mon 29-Dec-14 07:35:37

Diction when singing is different from diction when speaking. Often it is exaggerated. You notice it in some songs because they are familiar to you but would probably not notice it in unfamiliar songs or ones sung in a foreign language.

I'd rather listen to a singer who enunciated properly than one who slurred their words. Personally, I can't stand wobbly vibratos, but there are several singers for whom this is their trademark!

chrome100 Mon 29-Dec-14 09:00:22

Another thing I've noticed about "posh singing" is no one has northern vowels. Last is pronounced "larst" for example. There must be some choirs from Yorkshire, surely?! Or is it drummed out of them?

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