Saturday, 27 October 2012

Mange tout, mange tout!

My friends and I were putting the world to rights last night over a glass or two and a bowl of Twiglets, and the conversation ranged far and wide as it is wont to do whenever five opinionated women get together. One topic that came up was why it is so much harder to wrap your tongue around foreign words when you speak than when you sing. I don't mean understanding the words - essential to the former, but only desirable in the latter - but the actual mechanics of getting the sounds out.

I have a vague idea that somewhere I have been told that speech and music are controlled by different parts of the brain, and that stroke victims who can no longer talk properly can sometimes communicate by singing.

This chimed (sorry!) with an incident earlier in the week at choir practice. We are rehearsing hard for our forthcoming concert, at which we will be revisiting some of Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man. We performed the whole work earlier in the year and are reprising three sections, one of which is the opening chorus 'L'homme armee'. You see, it's in French.

Notwithstanding that we've sung this before, we are little rusty on the words, and it's quite fast, and I could feel the line running away with me. However, in the spirit of being a team player I battled on, but instead of singing 'Que chacun seviegne armer d'un haubregon de fer' what came out of my mouth was a fleeting reference to 'fruits de mer'. Fortunately only the altos either side of me heard this, but the three of us just couldn't stop laughing. Every time we thought we'd pulled ourselves together, one of us would splutter and off we'd go again.

I don't think we shall ever be able to sing this with a straight face again - which might be a problem when we take to the stage in two weeks' time...


  1. knowing that you shouldn't laugh often produces the best and biggest of belly laughs