1. sdunks
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    sdunks Member

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    A cappella

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by sdunks, Oct 6, 2013.

    Hi, I understand 'a cappella' literally translates to 'in church style', but I'm still unsure on how to use it.

    I want to say: He likened the unfamiliar solo crowing to a distorted song a cappella.

    Is this the correct use of the term?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think you're applying the original italian syntax a little too closely. I would say distorted a cappella song.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I don't know about "church style". I understand the word to mean all vocals, no instruments.

    "He likened the unfamiliar solo crowing to a distorted song a cappella," sounds awkward.

    How about: He likened the unfamiliar solo crowing to a distorted a cappella rendition.

    (or, "performance")

    You could still use 'song' but a cappella describes how a song is performed.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It does mean all vocals in English, but the original translation is correct as mentioned by the OP. Cappella finds its English cognate in chapel.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I see. :)
     
  6. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    .

    Why do you need anything after the word "song?" In fact, why explain anything to the reader as yourself. The protagonist has a mind and a voice, after all. You've presented the sound. Why not let the star of the show handle the response for you with something like, "Oh my god, what was that?" Never explain when you can entertain. Never step on stage when there's any other way of handling it. When the publisher tells us to "show" they mean to make the reader literally experience it, not to have the narrator describe it in detail. So show the reader his reaction. Don't tell them about it.
     
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  7. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Yes. (Instead of "distorted," though, "discordant" might catch your meaning more closely.)
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    In folk music there's a lot of a cappella, where it's understood to mean unaccompanied vocals in harmony. So no, a solo song can't be a capella because a solo voice can't be in harmony.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ginger is right...

    'song a cappella' makes no sense...

    needs to be 'sung a cappella'...

    as in, 'a distorted song being sung a cappella'... or something similar...
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If "a capella" literally translates to "chapel style" or (as I found it in a Google search) "in the manner of a chapel," then it should work after the work after the word song. You could insert the translation and it would be fine.

    I don't see a requirement for more than one voice in the general definition, though in practice it may be commonly used that way, I don't know.
     
  11. digitig
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    It doesn't literally translate to "chapel style" in the sense of the terms being interchangeable. It is a manner of performance, not a type of song, so it's meaningless to refer to a song as being a cappella unless you are using "song" as a metonym. As for the harmony, the Grove Dictionary of Music describes it as referring to "choral" music (not "vocal" music), so at very least it seems you need multiple voices. And the new thing I've learned: it can be accompanied, provided the instruments play in unison with the voices.
     
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  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and 'song chapel style' makes no sense grammatically, anyway, sp... did you mean 'chapel style song'?

    however, it is a singing style, nothing to do with the song itself, unless it's been written speciifically to be only performed 'a cappella'... in which case, it still would not be a 'song a cappella'... but would be 'sung a cappella'...
     

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