Word of the Every Other Day

sprechgesang

\SHPREKH-guh-zahng\

noun:
a vocal style intermediate between speech and singing but without exact pitch intonation.

Despite the sometimes sarcastic and sometimes tempestuous hostility of audiences clearly unfamiliar with the technique of Sprechgesang, and supported only by a small band of aficionados, she managed to insert into her programmes, mostly composed of operatic arias, lieder by Schumann and Hugo Wolf, and songs by Mussorgsky, some of the vocal pieces of the Vienna School, which she thus introduced to Parisians. — Georges Perec, translated from the French by David Bellos, Life: A User’s Manual, 2009

I would never get to know the full truth, but I do know that when she leans into that microphone for her whispered Sprechgesang rendition of Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” the hair on the back of my neck stands right up… — Paul Verhaeghen, Omega Minor, 2007

Sprechgesang stems directly from the German word of the same spelling. Sprech means “to speak” and Gesang means “song.”

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