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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used to be a lied pianist and participated in many lied workshops. What I always thought was peculiar was the way in which the teachers emphasized the pronunciation. Like the word ”Nacht”. In no other language than German does anyone emphasize vocal frigative sounds like the ”chT” as much.

Do German speaking vocalists also do this to the same extent? My experience is that not. Nobody SPEAKS like that anyway.

Any insight on the matter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
over-emphasizing for dramatic effect?

still better than incrompehensible german singers performing Wagner.
So it bothers you German speakers not at all? Good to know that it is just me.

Over-emphasizing as a rule. Whenever the singers did not emphasize the T's at the end of a word it was picked up.
 

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I haven't realized this effect. One reason might be overcompensation because both the "ch" in "ich" and in "Nacht" and the distinction between them are hard for many non-native speaker, especially in some combinations. I love the Wunderhorn Lieder with Baker and Geraint Evans, but Evans is bumbling often and even Baker sings at times "Grätschen" instead of "Gretchen", i.e. she misses both the closed "e" and the "ch". I can hardly say, though, when I am bothered by non-perfect pronunciation and when I don't care.

I know from school choir singing that we were always told not to "swallow" the hard consonants at the end (like NachT). I don't remember cases of over-articulation from professional singers that bothered me right away, though. There can be a somewhat strange effect with certain sounds, e.g. "Denn allesss Fleischschsch, esss issssT wie Graaass", because the s/sch sounds "accumulate". But then, this passage is supposed to be a bit scary... ;)

In any case, classical sung German never sounded weird to me, compared to spoken. Whereas it does with French where some syllables are pronounced differently or at all that get swallowed up in speaking. Although I know/understand very little French, classical singing in French sounds strange to me and I am still not too fond of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I just got the proof I need after reacting to the ”Gib Acht” sung by Christa Ludwig, in Mahler 3/Bernstein. So the overtly strong T is a thing and the teachers and you guys were/are right and I was wrong to perceive it as over-pronunciation. ;)

Then again in Finland classical vocal music in Finnish is also sung with a German ”T”, which is a phone we do not even have in Finnish. But it has more sound to it so it carries acoustically further in a concert hall. Our T has no longer sound to it, it is a full stop for the air behind it. We even speak Swedish with a Finnish T here, but we sing with a Swedish and German T. Oh, we are dedicated to art! :)

So there are generations of vocalists trained strictly in the German tradition and repertoire. Guess they know what they are doing. Good articulation is a necessity after all.
 

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Gute Nacht, from Schubert's Winterreise, has a fair amount of lines that end in either "Nacht," "gedacht," or "gemacht," so it could be used to compare singers' treatment of that consonant sound. That's a really interesting point about the use of the T sound in Finnish vocal music.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Gute Nacht, from Schubert's Winterreise, has a fair amount of lines that end in either "Nacht," "gedacht," or "gemacht," so it could be used to compare singers' treatment of that consonant sound. That's a really interesting point about the use of the T sound in Finnish vocal music.
Interesting that the German throat-R is not required of the vocalists, though. In Finnish we roll the R's in a similar way I have heard some people say in the Southern Germany and Austria and Switzerland even! So I suppose that has been "German enough". ;) Peculiar how traditions evolve.

Edit: I just remembered that nobody sings with the throat-R, not even the Germans!
 

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The in my ears correct German r is not really throaty, it's more velar (soft palate, so fairly far back but not guttural, I am not a linguist, so I don't always know the correct words), I think. Yes, there are regions in Germany with a rolled "r" and I think this is sometimes used in singing because of precision and projection. However, overly rolled "r"s can also sound mannered, like a movie villain. (Look for Max Raabe on youtube; he has become famous with 1920s popular music but his interpretations border on parody, often with exaggerated rolled r's)
 
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