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illustration Sprechgesang



Part of speech: noun

Origin: German, 20th century


A style of dramatic vocalization intermediate between speech and song.

Examples of Sprechgesang in a sentence

"The singer of the opening band didn’t so much sing as engage in sprechgesang, varying between singing and talking over the music."

"My father doesn’t care much for sprechgesang, and says he’d prefer singers just sing and not talk."

About Sprechgesang

“Sprechgesang” is taken from the same word in German, literally meaning “speech song.”

Did you Know?

While sprechgesang emerged out of the world of German opera, today, it is a style closely associated with pop music. Bob Dylan, whose vocal style runs the gamut from nearly talking to singing melodically, is the figure most closely associated with sprechgesang in the American songbook. In his wake, wry figures such as Lou Reed and the B-52s helped popularize sprechgesang in alternative music. Today, Billie Eilish is the most visible artist to fold sprechgesang into her music, and she uses the style to underline the intimacy and personal content of her lyrics.

illustration Sprechgesang

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