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  1. #1
    NearThere is offline Member
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    the movie "once"

    I'm not sure who and in what sub-forum to ask it, but I'm just curious.

    I recently had a chance to watch a nice little indie movie called "once", it's catagorized as musical, but this is not the usual kind.

    If you have seen the movie then you'll know what I'm talking about. I have a hard time understanding the dialogue, the beginning of the movie was the part I didn't catch any word except one 4-lettered word that's repeated numerous times. Immediately following that scene, the main character started singing and boy, as if transformed under some supreme power, he sang with clarity and I understood pretty much every single word that's coming out of his mouth.

    My question is: How come they are better understood when they are singing than when they are speaking? What makes the change? How come the heavy accent that acts as a veil over the spoken words would disappear when the words are sung? To my Chinese ear, when they sing they sound no difference than any other Brit or American.

    I hope this post is not being taken the wrong way, I'm being sincere. I hope to hear some insight on this. Thanks.

    NT

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: the movie "once"

    A perfectly good question. I haven't yet seen the picture, but the characters will certainly be using non-standard English accents so I am not surprised it was not easy to understand.

    However, when singing, the music directs the way in which the words are mouthed so often they will be clearer.

  3. #3
    NearThere is offline Member
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    Re: the movie "once"

    Thanks Angelika.

    However, when singing, the music directs the way in which the words are mouthed so often they will be clearer.
    Very true. The thing that's different about this movie from any other musical-turned-movie that I know is that the songs and storyline are comteporary as opposed to classical and that it's a movie of realitism rather than a fantasy. Storyline runs along the aspiring/struggling Irish musician played by Glen Hansen, a real Irish artist who's the lead singer of the group "the Frame". It's said the depiction of the life of the Irish people in the movie is pretty accurate and realistic.

    Anyway, it gives the impression that the way they talk and sing in the movie is the way they do in real life. Several years ago, there's a popular singer from UK (not sure what part of UK) being interviewed here in the States, he spoke with such accent that when the interviewed was later played on the radio, they had to dub over his voice with an American "translator" so the audience could understand the interview. But when he started singing live, you would not believe it's the same person whoes voice was being dubbed when speaking. This phonomenon has always fascinated me. I simple can't grasp the magic. I would think music would complicate the accent with its tunes and inflections, not wash off the accent. I don't know I thought maybe there's some linguistic mystery or explanation about this.

    Thanks
    NT

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: the movie "once"

    Three other factors (that may already have been discussed - I'm skimming this thread).

    1 If you watch the credits at the end, there will probably be a 'dialog coach'. (The one on the Bernstein recording of West Side Story had a hard job with Josť Carreras singing the part of Tony - a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.) Dialog coaches pay more attention to the songs than to the spoken bits.

    2 The internal structure of a song (especially rhymes) forces people with regional accents to use a more standard accent. As long as you, as a student, have learnt the standard accent, the songs are likely to seem clearer than the speech.

    3 As a choral singer myself, I don't think I've ever been to a rehearsal where the conductor didn't tell us to make the diction clearer (or, much more rarely, praise our diction ) - sometimes they emphasize the importance of diction, sometimes articulation, sometimes pronunciation, sometimes 'underlay', often - especially during a quiet part - they just mouth the word 'Words' or 'consonants'. So people singing will often be making an effort to be clear.

    b

  5. #5
    NearThere is offline Member
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    Re: the movie "once"

    Thank you Bob , and what a hidden talent you are. A choral singer!

    What else do people do here besides helping learners with their English. I know there's a die-hard belly dancer on the forum, it's fun to know what other things people here are great at.

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