Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, April 23, 2006

persona and vocal accent as social placement.

(perils of telegraphed style -- i meant that fragment to refer to popular music, but i see that it refers to everyday life as well. and that's fine!)

as northern educated white urbanite, my accent, more or less, is that of the dominant culture. people from outside my subculture who adopt its tone and sound employ an assimilationist strategy. the goal of the persona is transparency, so that the listener doesn't hear the effort but only the finished thing -- the song, the performance, the music.

northern white urbanites who effect non-dominant vocal accents -- Bob Dylan, N. American reggae singers with Jamaican accents, northern country singers with southern accents, American power popsters who use British vowels, Tom Waits's visionary street drunk -- when i know the story, i hear the mask-construction. and i'd much rather listen to songs.

i understand the desire not to assimilate.

alt-country's hatred of Nashville: Nashville is assimilationism incarnate, even with its southern accents.

note: no problem listening to southerners who sound southern or Jamaicans who sound Jamaican and so on. in those cases too, the persona is transparent. i hear the songs, not the mask-construction.

note too: this listening mode may well be meaningless to everybody who isn't me.

every persona is constructed.

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