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Solving Your Musical Mysteries: Why Do Accents Disappear When We Sing?

Contributor Faith Salie volunteers to get to the bottom of your unanswered musical questions.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Singer Adele, winner of the Best Original Song award for 'Skyfall,' poses in the press room during the Oscars. Singer Adele, winner of the Best Original Song award for 'Skyfall,' poses in the press room during the Oscars. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images/Getty)

When it comes to music, there are plenty of unanswered, or at least, difficult, questions… musical mysteries, if you will. Did Pink Floyd actually write Dark Side of the Moon to sync up with the Wizard of Oz? Are Jay-Z and Beyonce members of the Illuminati? Why do classical musicians hate on the viola so much? Well, our contributor Faith Salie has been pondering some of these so-called musical mysteries – including this question: why do speaking accents seem to disappear in music? 

She takes this question to three experts: Bill Beeman, professor of linguistics at the University of Minnesota; Andy Gibson, researcher at the Auckland University of New Zealand; and Sasha Frere-Jones, music writer for the New Yorker. They each offer their take on the question -- and some of their answers might surprise you. 

Guests:

Faith Salie

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