Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is singing like speaking, and vice versa? The eloquent Eno

Do you think speaking in public is like singing in public? Musician Brian Eno does, after incorporating spoken-word poems into a musical composition. From this interview on the Big Think blog, Eno says:
We are all singing. We call it speech, but we’re singing to each other, and I thought, as soon as you put spoken word onto music, you start to hear it like singing anyway. You start to develop musical value and musical weight, and you start to notice how this word falls on that beat, and so on and so on. So in a way I think I was trying to draw more attention to the fact that everybody is a singer—everybody who uses their voice is kind of singing. And that was a big liberation for me, to realize that.
I know readers of this blog who sing and speak (and some who coach both speakers and singers), and I've helped my speaking trainees think about pacing and tempo and vocal quality in the same way they might if they were singing--although that works best if the trainee is already a musician, in my experience. Back when I was looking for famous speeches by women in the movies, and coming up short, a good friend of mine said her thought was that most speeches by women in film were in the form of songs in musicals--otherwise, they did little in the way of giving public speeches.

What do you think? Have you ever thought of singing as speaking--or speaking as something akin to singing? Which is easier for you? How does singing help your speaking, or vice versa? Let us know if you're a singer or musician in your reactions and comments.

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