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Am I the only person that can't sing in Polish at all?


LostSoul 1 | 13
20 Jun 2020 #1
Well, I always had problems with singing in Polish. Especially regarding rock music, I feel helpless.
When I sing in English, every word flows properly and when I sing in Polish, I feel like I lost it.
What could be the reason behind this? Are those consonants that make me sing in Polish awfully?
mafketis 23 | 8,410
20 Jun 2020 #2
I always had problems with singing in Polish. Especially regarding rock music

What are you trying to sing? That could be part of it.
OP LostSoul 1 | 13
20 Jun 2020 #3
Mostly 70s rock. In English, everything sounds in place. It can't be said the same about Polish.
mafketis 23 | 8,410
20 Jun 2020 #4
Mostly 70s rock. I

What are some songs that you sing in English and what are some songs you sing in Polish?

What feels off? timing? Articulation (different for speaking and singing) breath support?
Atch 17 | 3,224
20 Jun 2020 #5
Mostly 70s rock.

Do you mean that you're trying to sing Polish translations of songs that were written in English?
Or do you mean rock songs that were written in Polish?
Zlatko
20 Jun 2020 #6
I think Polish sounds better when spoken than sunh (unlike English or Turkish that sound better sung but bad imo when spoken). Polish sounds dmare indeed hard to get right singing

*sung
I love spoken Polish. But it's not a language good for singing due to the cumbersome sounds. Russian is the opposite - sounds better sung but worse (too soft) when spoken.
kaprys 3 | 2,374
21 Jun 2020 #7
Since there are thousands and thousands songs in Polish I kind of don't think it's impossible to sing in Polish. People who don't speak Polish as their first language may find it difficult, though.
pawian 170 | 11,398
21 Jun 2020 #8
When I sing in English, every word flows properly and when I sing in Polish, I feel like I lost it.

That is a sort of mystery, indeed, especially that you speak fluent Polish as your mother tongue.
mafketis 23 | 8,410
21 Jun 2020 #9
speaking and singing are separate skills... I remember a story about the Metropolitan Opera in the 1960s... they premiered an opera by an American composer and the only cast member that audiences could understand was the only non-native speaker (A Swede IIRC). In an interview he outlined a difference or two in how he sang rather than spoke English including trilling the r's... not how you should speak but much easier to understand

In pop music it's very obvious that many native-speaker singers have diction problems while singing in English. One of my favorites was Gladys Knight who, despite a rough scratchy voice, sang with super clear diction.
pawian 170 | 11,398
21 Jun 2020 #10
speaking and singing are separate skills...

If you say so, it must be true. Now I will know.

the only cast member that audiences could understand was the only non-native speaker

Very interesting.

In pop music it's very obvious that many native-speaker singers have diction problems while singing in English.

Thanks, now I know why I have such problems with understanding lyrics in some songs, not only my fav metal and hard rock but also pop etc. I even developed a sort of complex over it.
mafketis 23 | 8,410
21 Jun 2020 #11
Native speakers have the same problems sung English is often very unclear and the source of many mondegreens*

Most native speakers can relate examples of lyrics they misheard (I was surprised at how less common that is for Polish speakers listening to Polish music).

from my brother

"when the animals speak" real lyrics: Indiana wants me

"please mr. please, don't take me at 17" real lyrics: don't play 3-17 (song number on a jukebox)

*en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen
OP LostSoul 1 | 13
25 Jun 2020 #12
I think the problem with the Polish language is that the stress falls on the second-last syllable, most of the times, that there are way too many feminine endings (or rhymes, whatever), way too many consonants (seriously, that "prz" thing sounds like beatboxing or awkward sneezing), way too long words etc. I think, grammatical gender also contributes to difficulty of singing in Polish. I say it as a person, who really considers singing in Polish, but finds it difficult, for some odd reason.

When I sing in English, it feels different. Vowels are in the right place, you can play with it, you can experiment with accents, you can manage to sound beautiful etc.

Anyway, that's my subjective impression.

What feels off? timing? Articulation (different for speaking and singing) breath support?

As above.
OP LostSoul 1 | 13
25 Jun 2020 #13
Do you mean that you're trying to sing translations of songs that were written in English? Or do you mean rock songs that were Polish?

Both. Yet translations from English to Polish sound incredibly awful.
mafketis 23 | 8,410
25 Jun 2020 #14
with the Polish language is that the stress falls on the second-last syllable

Good music for singing is based on the rhythms of speech.... and rock was originally written by English speakers with final stress. Rock songs written in Polish should be based more on the rhythms of Polish.

way too many consonants... rammatical gender also contributes to difficulty of singing in Polish

More consonants than Russian? (Many classical singers love singing in Russian) and gender should have no effect on singing...

anslations from English to Polish sound incredibly awful.

I'm sure English translations of Polish songs sound awful... try to translate a Polish rock song into English... I bet the results is not inspiring....
delphiandomine 85 | 18,266
25 Jun 2020 #15
Me, me!

I present to you...Myslovitz.

Original - Długość dźwięku samotności - one of the best Polish songs IMO: youtube.com/watch?v=qCIyK3ec4kE

English version: Sound of Solitude - ouch. youtube.com/watch?v=XdmbuDD2hEE
mafketis 23 | 8,410
25 Jun 2020 #16
Sound of Solitude - ouch

I started about 30 seconds in.... and 20 seconds later I'm out....
delphiandomine 85 | 18,266
25 Jun 2020 #17
Oh no, Maf, come on. You must listen to the chorus ;)
OP LostSoul 1 | 13
25 Jun 2020 #18
I present to you...Myslovitz.

This one band is pretty good. I know them. :D I just wish they were heavier a little bit.
mafketis 23 | 8,410
29 Jun 2020 #20
Maybe post clips or links to clips of your singing in English and Polish? That would give us something to work with.

It might be that you think you sound better in English because your standards are lower in English (that is a very frequent case) and that you sound better in Polish than you think but you have higher standards for how you think you should sound....
OP LostSoul 1 | 13
30 Jun 2020 #21
Russian is the opposite - sounds better sung but worse when spoken.

I actually have the same problem. It's pretty audible in Russian rock songs. Polish rock songs mostly don't sound as emotional as Russian songs (I guess, it depends on singer, though).

Here is the comparison - Russian rock: youtube.com/watch?v=Gaag20x0jv8
And Polish rock, pick whatever there is on the playlist, I only happen to like Lady Pank: youtube.com/watch?v=zb9Obfsfhrw&list=RDQMgReWydHMujE&index=4
kaprys 3 | 2,374
1 Jul 2020 #22
As mafketis pointed out, you need a native speaker of English to judge how you sound in English.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,088
1 Jul 2020 #23
one of the best Polish songs IMO

One of my favorite ones, too. The lyrics are nice, somewhat mysterious. As for the English version, I wish they had worked on their English more ...
ForumUser
1 Jul 2020 #24
There are youtube videos showing the vice-versa problem. This guy's blind audition on Voice of Poland IV, he singing "Hotel California" by The Eagles (although the show's judges enjoyed his singing, which is all that really matters on the show)

youtube.com/watch?v=7Y4YlQM_ut4
Zlatko
1 Jul 2020 #25
Well I dislike spoken Czech but I love the cover of "Oh Carol" by Smokie called Oh Harold by Helena Vondráčková. I know Czech doesn't have so many brz, prz sounds but tell me there's something similar sounding! I like spoken Polish, even the monotonous lektor (my favorite).
Ziemowit 13 | 4,088
1 Jul 2020 #26
@ Zlatko
Bulgarian has no cases, has it? How do Bulgarians sing without using cases at all? :-)
Zlatko
1 Jul 2020 #27
We use prepositions like in Romance languages but some folk songs use some old cases. ;)

Also we have mostly kept this case - when you call Ivan where you say Ivane, Petar is "Petre, come here!" or you call your doctor "doktore!" Used in regular speech but mostly for male names now and some people prefer to avoid it and say "Petar, come here!" to look modern. For female names it is considered rude now to call for ex. a Marina "Marino", however in Poland it seems ok to call Jola "Jola," pron. sth like Jolo.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,088
2 Jul 2020 #28
some folk songs use some old cases. ;)

Could you post a verse or two from such an old song with a translation to modern Bulgarian?
mafketis 23 | 8,410
2 Jul 2020 #29
in Poland it seems ok to call Jola "Jola," pron. sth like Jolo

Jolu.... (though the vocative is mostly optional in modern Polish)

I didn't realize that the feminine vocative in Bulgarian was obsolete?

What about the distinction between muzhat and muzha (for 'the man')? Do people still follow that in writing (I understand it hasn't been followed in speech for a long time now).
Zlatko
3 Jul 2020 #30
They must as it's a rule but many don't. ;)

As for a song lyrics off the top of my head I can think of Ivane, Ivane (from Ivan ofc.), a pop song by Bogdana Karadocheva and the folk song Jovano, Jovanke (both are vocative of Yovana/Jovana and Jovanka).

"Ivane, Ivane, there's no escape as you're chained to me" etc.

Vocative is indeed the one case with the most traces in Bulgarian. Also "sine" or "sine moj" (my son) from sin (son) but now mostly preserved in (male) names. Urbanites that try to look modern skip it even in calling male ppl. so it's optional. I still laugh at "Homere!" on Czech dubbings of The Simpson's, they seem to even use it for foreign names and I couldn't gasp how they're going to write that?!

Other case traces in Bulgarian are the rarely used "Na kogo?" (to whom?) - "Na nego" (to him) but many say "Na koj?" which is grammatically incorrect as we never say "na toj" ("to he") and "Koj?" (Who?) grammatically must be used when the person in question is performing the action. There's also an even rarer form "Komu?" ("Nemu") - "To/of whom?" (To/of him). Thinking about it our grammar is not that easy despite the lack of cases...but yeah Polish cases seem hard to gasp for us.

I wonder if the brz/prz sounds make Polish more suitable for slow/mid tempo songs vs fast ones?


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