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I'm gonna pack my suitcase and move on up the line, you know I can't sleep for dreamin' with you forever on my mind - Robert Lockwood Jr

Author Topic: Vocal Signature Phrases  (Read 7266 times)

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Offline Laura

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2013, 08:50:41 AM »
Ah, great! Thank you, John :)

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #31 on: December 27, 2013, 02:15:35 PM »
Thanks, John.
I'll start from the beginning fight now.

Offline joebanjo

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2013, 08:03:06 PM »
The two signature vocal phrases that stand out in my mind are McTell's diverse use of "Lordy Lord" in all types of songs and Big Bill's use of "I delcare" on his late recordings. Great thread! Fascinating thing to observe, thanks John.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2013, 07:13:45 PM »
Re. the round 'r' conjunction, Lead Belly in the last verse of Fort Worth & Dallas Blues sings:

Good morning blues, blues how do you do?
And good morning blues, blues how do you do?
"I'm doin' fairly well, baby how'ra you?"

http://weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fort_Worth_And_Dallas_Blues
« Last Edit: December 28, 2013, 07:52:38 PM by Rivers »

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2013, 01:34:12 AM »
Re. the round 'r' conjunction, Lead Belly in the last verse of Fort Worth & Dallas Blues sings:

Good morning blues, blues how do you do?
And good morning blues, blues how do you do?
"I'm doin' fairly well, baby how'ra you?"

http://weeniecampbell.com/wiki/index.php?title=Fort_Worth_And_Dallas_Blues

Is round "r" conjunction the accepted term? It's certainly neater than "you know that thing where...  etc."
One question which somebody here might be able to answer, and which would go some way towards supporting or disproving the regional accent hypothesis is: does this vocal idiosyncrasy present itself in southern US speech? I've met quite a few people from that neck of the woods and never heard it used either in person or anywhere outside the context of blues singing. I know we have some southerners here, so perhaps they can add something to this.
I'm inclined to think that it was a deliberate choice on the part of those singers who used it.
Mind you, I've been wrong before and I suppose it may happen again.

Offline alyoung

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2013, 03:14:26 AM »
Re. the round 'r' conjunction....

In a surprising number of gosepl/spiritual songs (and some blues), the Ark was built by No-rah, or even Norah, rather than Noah.  I sometimes wonder if some occurences of this are  examples of oral tradition transmission (i.e. the guy thinks it *is* Norah, rather than Noah because that's what he's heard)  rather than a vocal idiosyncrasy. This can happen -- virtually every gospel telling of the three Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace mispronounces the third name as Abendigo, rather than Abednego ... but the mistake started cropping up only after the Golden Gate Quartet made it in their hugely popular version of the Bible story.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2013, 04:34:41 AM »
Al, I grew up in England and always believed it was 'Abendigo'. I remember being surprised to learn it was 'Abednego', much later. The Golden Gates version (I have to think it was the Golden Gates) would get played on a Sunday lunchtime radio show my Dad would ritually turn on.

Stumblin, I'm pretty sure my description could be improved upon by someone familiar with linguistics and/or philology, I just threw it out there. Thinking about it what's wrong is the description 'rounded', it probably is better described as a 'hard R conjunction'.

I live pretty far South and I can't say I've noticed it as a common usage around here. Texans sometimes shorten words and put them back together without inserting any extras, most famous being "y'all".

I'll go with the theory someone posted earlier that the 'R' conjunction makes the vocal line stronger, adds emphasis to an otherwise weaker syllable change. The examples above are all 'O's, 'OW's and 'Ooo's transitioning to 'A's or other vowel sounds; the ''R' gives the singer more leverage.

Maybe in the Deep South it's common in speech, I think it could easily be. When I listen to a Mississippian who speaks the broad regional dialect it's pretty hard for me to understand more than the odd couple of words, so all kinds of things are going on.

Another possible example, using another letter, is the insertion of an 'S'. "You 'S a..." for "you are a...", I can't think of song right now but we've all heard it.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 04:47:12 AM by Rivers »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #37 on: December 30, 2013, 07:37:14 AM »
There are specific terms in linguistics for the phenomena that you are describing, but I'll  be damned if I can remember them as it was 25+ years ago that I studied this stuff.  It's important to remember that languages are spoken and that writing is an external record of speech. We learn language by hearing it. (There are exceptions, such as the deaf.) As spelling is standardized, it doesn't necessarily match with what we hear or how we speak. That's why people who do field work or are specialists in the field use IPA when using written notation to represent what is spoken.

Since people learn from one another, it's not surprising that there is variation that is learned and then passed on and reinforced by the members of a group. As I mentioned before, my mother was from rural NE PA and I grew up pronouncing "wash" as "warsh," "creek" as "crick" and "county" as "cownee." Hicks from the sticks.

Personally, I think it's fascinating and adds character and color to language, a view that may be at odds with those of a "prescriptive" bent. Living just north of Seattle, we get CBC and the variations in pronunciation and accent by folks in areas north of the border always catch my attention. IMHO, it would be a dull world if we all sounded the same.

Edited to add: N.B. the discussion re: the author's use of a modified spelling system in his attempt to capture Mance's voice in I Say For Me A Parable.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 07:41:43 AM by Stuart »

Offline Johnm

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #38 on: December 30, 2013, 11:55:50 AM »
Hi all,
I wonder if there was some elocutionary aspect of the "r between vowels" that was taught or disseminated by early performances of groups like the Fisk Jubilee Singers or other such ensembles.  It may have been taught or communicated that it was easier to hear breaks in sung words when one did not go directly from a word ending in a vowel sound to a word beginning with a vowel sound without an intervening consonant (or even between syllables in a word, as in "Noah/Norah").  Such an explanation might help to explain why the "r between vowels" shows up in singing but not in speaking.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 11:59:27 AM by Johnm »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #39 on: December 30, 2013, 01:44:29 PM »
I found the following re: the "intrusive r" in a Wiki entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linking_and_intrusive_R

A search for "intrusive r" yields a fair number of results.

And now I keep flashing back to those old Rainier Beer commercials.  :P
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 01:49:30 PM by Stuart »

Offline Pan

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #40 on: December 30, 2013, 05:09:20 PM »
Hi all.

Speaking of peculiar pronunciations, Judson Brown's "You Don't Know My Mind Blues" has a most peculiar pronunciation of the word "laughing".  Is anyone familiar with this pronunciation?



Cheers

Pan

Offline Rivers

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #41 on: December 30, 2013, 06:11:07 PM »
Thank you Stuart, thank you. I knew there was an elocutionary science out there that described it, and I couldn't remember the terms either. The study is Phonology, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonology

Quote
Linking R and intrusive R are sandhi or linking phenomena[1] involving the appearance of the rhotic consonant (which normally corresponds to the letter 〈r〉) between two consecutive morphemes where it would not normally be pronounced. These phenomena occur in many non-rhotic varieties of English, such as those in most of England and Wales, part of the United States, and all of the southern hemisphere. These phenomena first appeared in English sometime after the year 1700.[2]

Exactly, that's what I was trying to say. It's the old 'rhotic consonant between two morphemes' thing.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #42 on: December 30, 2013, 09:14:50 PM »
The study is Phonology

Otherwise known as "Phonyology." I did one of my field exams on historical phonology, but for better or for worse, I never had to deal with intrusives.

Edited to add: The laterals in some languages give rise to jokes when non-native speakers can't distinguish sounds because there isn't a distinction in their mother tongue. Rice and lice in English is a common one for Japanese native speakers at an early stage in learning English. And it's those subtle distinctions that one unconsciously learns as a child that make it difficult for most people to learn a foreign language accent free as an adult. We're just approximating the sounds.

How we acquire language is still one of the great mysteries. Pat Kuhl at the UW has done some interesting work in this area is anyone wants to follow up.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 09:12:03 AM by Stuart »

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2013, 01:48:27 AM »
Speaking of peculiar pronunciations, Judson Brown's "You Don't Know My Mind Blues" has a most peculiar pronunciation of the word "laughing".  Is anyone familiar with this pronunciation?

Pan, I think I've heard similarly extreme pronunciations. It could be a music-hall/theatrical affectation.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Vocal Signature Phrases
« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2014, 06:30:36 PM »
Hi all,
In the course of listening a lot to Lil' Son Jackson recently, I've noticed a vocal mannerism of his.  He particularly like to begin the taglines of his verses with the phrase, "Well now,".  In his Imperial Recordings, at least, he ends up using that phrase every bit as much as Sleepy John Estes opened lines with "Now".
All best,
Johnm

 


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