Friday, October 20, 2006

How Gray Is Our Gah?

I'm in this ensemble group at church. We've been preparing for a concert we'll be performing on November 15, which means I've spent most of my time in the car listening to the songs and perfecting (eh-hem...or a reason facsimile thereof) the nuances of the parts I'm responsible for.

One of these songs is a praise song that is fairly popular right now called, "How Great Is Our God." Some of you with more contemporary worship services just might have sung it on a recent Sunday.

Thing is, I'm really irritated with this song. Well, not the song itself, but the artist who sings this particular song on the album. See, in recent times, the "breathy" sound in voices is rather popular. Sometimes it can give a song an ethereal feel, or a passionate feel, or a raw feel, maybe even a heartfelt feel. (Heartfelt feel? Hmm. Kind of redundant sounding.)

Anyhow, the guy who sings this has that rather breathy sound to his voice. But all too often, being breathy also means that the singer doesn't actually pronounce the words.

I'm fine with breathy. Really, I am. I enjoy to sing breathily myself. But please, make sure you actually a-nun-ci-ate your words. Otherwhy ih migh soun lie thih! (Translation: Otherwise it might sound like this.)

Anyhow, this guy doesn't enunciate. At least, not well enough. And as a result, rather than a praise song to God, it is a praise song to Gah! And Gah isn't so great in his version, but he is rather gray.

Fortunately, I know how the song is supposed to go, so I'm not so confused by it all. But I can't tell you how many songs I've listened to where the artist doesn't pronounce their words clearly, and I end up listening to the song for months never quite sure what they are saying.

Of course, there are plenty of other songs with similar problems. Have you ever wondered, for example why people are "Bringing in the Sheets"? (After all, that makes more sense than "Bringing in the Sheaves" to this generation, doesn't it?)

Or have you wondered just who "Jose" is when you sing the Star-Spangled Banner? ("Jose, can you see?")

Anyhow, I'm still trying to figure out just how gray our Gah is. Let me know if you find out. Oh, and if you want to read more funny misheard lyrics, there is a website devoted to them. Check out for a lot of laughs.

1 comment:

Devon Ellington said...

Good diction in singing is so important! As someone who works Broadway musicals, it's one of the things they emphasize in the notes to the singers - they have brush up rehearsals if the consonents start getting soft.

Please speak up in rehearsals and stick to your guns on this. There's nothing more annoying that going to a concert that's supposedly in your native language and not being able to understand the lyrics!