Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Band Director Teaching French R's!

Okay, so I've been asking a ton of people, and I can't seem to get a solid answer, so i'm turning to you, internet.    
 
Disclaimer:I'm a Saxophone/Bassoon player, and I have been teaching choir for 8 years, and I'm really loving it.  I also have a minor in French, so I like to think i know a thing or two about pronounciation.    I was originally told that when SINGING in French, though, that you try to use the uvular R whenever humanly possible-whenever it's not in the way.   However, recently  I was told that some people say that you ALWAYS flip the R, and NEVER use the uvular one while singing.  So which is it?   What do you guys think???  (:
Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on December 22, 2015 8:39am
The uvular R is traditionally used in solo cabaret or other popular styles of singing. In classical singing, both solo and choral, the flipped R is always used. I've never encountered a situation where the uvular R is called for in a choral setting. 
Applauded by an audience of 5
on December 23, 2015 8:10am
My experience has been that most Americans can't sing the uvular "r" anyway (and I'm one of them), so a gentle flipped "r" is used as a substitute.  
Applauded by an audience of 2
on December 23, 2015 8:51am
Hi Andy,
    Although I am not French, I live and work in France. All my singers are French. When they sing in French, their native language, the uvular R  affects the vowels before and after it in an adverse fashion. So whenever possible we use a flipped R. This is not universal practice among my French colleagues, who often consider a flipped R old fashioned. So Braeden and I will support your choice of a flipped R especially for classical songs, and you will find support from French directors if you choose the uvular R especially for more popular music.  
Bonne chance,
Carol
 
Applauded by an audience of 4
on December 26, 2015 11:35am
Merci! Mes etudiants disent <<merci!>> aussi!!!
on December 23, 2015 11:15am
Formal theater and singing French r is flipped. Folk and commercial pop French could be more like spoken French.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on December 27, 2015 4:39pm
I'm going to weigh in here as a native speaker of French - the Canadian sort - and one who learned how to do the proper metropolitan French "r" (uvular) in high school with proper teaching and in college as a French major (Middlebury College, '74).  As all have pretty much said, doing French choral classical music, flipped "r" - for popular music you CAN try to sound like Edith Piaf ("le petit Moineau") but frankly, most Americans will have the devil's own time trying to sound French doing popular music.  I'd stick, in general, with the flipped "r" which is closer to the Spanish "erre" anyway - not as lengthy, but the same idea, even with the popular stuff.  It's easier for most American mouths.
 
Ron Duquette
 
on December 28, 2015 6:06am
My understanding is the same as Carol &  Ron's. I have heard that it has become popular for classical French singers in France to use the uvular R in art songs and even arias. The uvualar R in French is very similar to the one in German; it's very back in the throat, and, as classical singers, we tend to switch it to the flipped R. Despite being linguistly accurate, to my ears, inserting a uvular R into most classical contexts is more distracting than helpful. However, cabaret and pop music would sound odd without it. 
 
I've been speaking about this uvular R in lyric French diction (for French Art Song and Opera) with some regularity with coaches, teachers, and singers for a few years. Those who use it in classical singing seem to be very attached to the idea. However, it seems to be something that is practiced in mainly France, but has not been embraced outside of France, even by other singers for whom the uvular R is a native sound. 
 
For those currently living in France or other French speaking countries - 1) How frequently do you hear the uvular R in classical performances these days? 2) Have you noticed a current push by teachers and coaches in conservatory to use to this sound in singing? 3) Have you noticed the insertion of the uvular R into performance of songs/aria in other languages, such as German?
 
Thanks! 
  • You must log in or register to be able to reply to this message.