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Entertainment Why do Canadian country performers sing in a southern twang?

02:40  23 april  2021
02:40  23 april  2021 Source:   cbc.ca

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We usually think of “ twang ” as the quintessentially southern quality in country singing . So what is twang in a vocal sense? Singing with exaggerated twang gets you familiar with how it feels on your voice. You’ll be able to recall this placement easier, because you know exactly what it should feel like.

Did you know that Twang singing is an absolute must for Contemporary Singers? But what is it? In this video Dr Dan will quickly unpack the essential singing technique known as Twang and offer some great tips on how you can develop Twang into your sound. Twang is highly efficient in its use of air and it allows the singer to employ far less physical exertion in their vocal production. In turn, Twang proves to be an excellent ideal in helping to remediate the voice due to the manner in which it encourages a clean onset and evenness in adduction of the vocal folds.

a man and a woman looking at the camera: Aaron Pritchett, left, and Shaela Miller, right, are two Canadian country singers who sing with southern U.S. accents. © Submitted by Anya Wilson, Shaela Miller Aaron Pritchett, left, and Shaela Miller, right, are two Canadian country singers who sing with southern U.S. accents.

Lethbridge-based country singer Shaela Miller strummed her guitar and struggled with a strange request: to sing the lyrics from one of her songs in her own Canadian accent, and without a southern U.S. twang.

"I woke up/In my bed/With a loud, loud ringin' in my head…"

Miller sang the lines unaccompanied by the lilt in her voice that usually drawls words like bed and head until she stopped, laughing.

"I can't do it, it just — I couldn't even sing it. I would have to sit down and really think of this song in a different style of music."

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Studies have shown that whether you are from the North or South , a Southern twang pegs the speaker as comparatively dimwitted, but also likely to be a nicer person than folks who speak like a Yankee. Stereotypes based on accent are deep rooted and they have profound consequences. Even on a tiny island country like the United Kingdom, accents abound and they pigeonhole individuals into strict social strata that have persisted for centuries. I wondered about this when I was swept away by Adele’s supreme singing voice but had the bliss shattered rudely when she addressed the audience

Prior to the wave of new country , most country singers had deep southern twangs , accents if you will and some so thick it was hard to actually understand some of their song lyrics. Seems like the accent, the thick country drawl has and is making a big come back, and not all voices are authentically stricken with legit accents, but rather There is a famous Aussie, Keith Urban who is a nonstop hit after hit country music artist but you don’t hear his Australian accent, rather more of a twang in some of his songs and some not so much. No western or southern accent needed to sing country , pop, rock, etc..

Miller said that twang is because of influences that include singers like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. Her own songs just wouldn't sound right without it.

But according to Marianna Di Paolo, an associate professor emeritus in the departments of linguistics and anthropology at the University of Utah, a country singer's adoption of an accent at the mic is not always something they are aware of.

Di Paolo told the Calgary Eyeopener's Paul Karchut on Thursday that the way we talk and sing is often below our conscious awareness — and it can change because our identities will shift depending on why we are engaging with someone.

"At any given time, we might be projecting one part of our personality rather than another," Di Paolo said.

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Country songs sometimes known as western or country is a mixture of popular types of music that originated from the Appalachian Mountains and Southern US. Country music has its roots in folk music, old-time music, Celtic music and gospel music. The twang , in fact is not the vocal technique You might wonder why you need to learn how to sing country song when you would rather do jazz or rock music. Well, just imagine that you are on a singing tour. Do you really think that everyone will love just your favorite genres of music. I mean you probably would get away with jazz and rock in a metro

The accent changes from Southern state to Southern state, and even city to city. I have a Charleston accent, which is actually quite different from the traditional Southern accent. Many people ask where I am from, because it does not quite match the general South Carolina accent. I live in Texas and a lot of this stuff is wrong I died laughing while tryin’ to pronounce some of this stuff. Gloria jung on June 28, 2019: Thanks so much this is really great I’m really trying to learn the North Carolina southern accent I’m an older woman and I’m in a play that she’s in the southern accent if anybody wants to help me

"We may feel compelled to perform an identity, to project a similar kind of identity, and this happens all the time … and the same thing happens with singing."

Mirroring and accommodation

Part of Di Paolo's work focuses on sociolinguistics in western American English.

It includes studying the differences in the way we speak that are dependent on our social context — and the variation in language between communities, as well as within individuals.

She said that the unconscious impulse to mirror the speech patterns of others is called "accommodation."

It happens because human beings are generally empathetic and social, and seek to connect with people who are similar to them.

"Part of the reason that we change the way we speak depending on what we're trying to do — essentially, the 'act of identity' — is in order to position ourselves so that we get the most benefit out of all of our interactions," Di Paolo said.

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Below is a list of notable country performers alphabetically by period, with each listing followed by a description of the artists' work. The Carter Family, rural country -folk from Poor Valley, Virginia, known for hits like "Wildwood Flower"

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"The same would apply for singing … [and] if you are going to be an authentic country western singer, well, you better sound like one."

And the tendency to adopt accents isn't limited to country singers who subconsciously seek to connect with their audience, and benefit from the affectation.

A prominent example of this is actually the Beatles, Di Paolo said.

"Their Liverpool accents are right there, but … when they sing, sound like they are Buddy Holly or Elvis Presley, to artistically present their music within the tradition of [American] rock 'n' roll."

Putting it on a little thick

Alberta-based country singer Drew Gregory said he hadn't even noticed he was assuming a Nashville accent when he sang until he was asked about it.

And similarly to what Di Paolo had to say about mirroring and accommodation, according to Gregory, he was unintentionally modelling his performances after others.

"[I was] just kind of copying people off the radio and learning to sing off them. So I think when I started getting in the studio and stuff, it just kind of came out a little subconsciously," Gregory said.

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"I've even listened back to shows where you kind of get a chuckle at yourself — where you hear a word or two and think, 'Maybe I put it on a little thick there.'"

As Gregory grows with his craft, and continues to forge his artistic identity, he said his accent is starting to wane.

But for Canadian country star Aaron Pritchett, the southern drawl is no accident.

Instead, it's an affected and deliberate choice, he said, acquired to integrate his own music into the genre.

"It's something that I created early on, and if I had gotten away from it … people probably wouldn't have bought me as an artist," Pritchett said.

'But I don't overdo it'

While it has attracted some criticism — as a musician living in Vancouver, Prichett said he has sometimes been accused of being a poser — to him, the accent is simply an extension of being a performer.

"It is an act. That's what we're here for; we're a form of entertainment," Pritchett said. "But I don't overdo it. I just pick up little words here and there."

And according to Di Paolo, as susceptible as we are to slipping into unconscious speech patterns, we are also capable of intentionally putting on a vocal "performance" that is more conscious.

It can allow professors to sound more authoritative, for example, or parents to sound more nurturing.

"In essence, we take on more agency," she said. "It is possible for us to … take more control of how we talk?"

However, Di Paolo said it takes a lot of work and practice to make the decision to speak differently stick.

For Pritchett, at least, that work and practice suits him just fine.

"[My accent] won't be stopping … until I do a jazz album one day," Pritchett said.

With files from Paul Karchut and the Calgary Eyeopener.

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