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And, wouldn’t you suppose that a singer who grew up speaking with this variety of vowels would have a more intimate and flexible relationship with her vocal tract? Conversely, Portuguese has limited set of consonants to get in the way.Cléa Thomasset, a French singer who performs samba and chorinho, has explained to me her theory that the Portuguese consonants that do exist are particularly percussive-sounding compared to her native tongue; one can employ them to very effectively to mark rhythm.And, when they wish to extend a word, most choose to do so on the vowel.If you could sing in any language, wouldn’t you prefer the wide range of vowel options that Portuguese provides?Finally, Portuguese also uses dipthongs (two vowels stuck together) and even tripthongs (a gang of three, very fun).For an example of the latter, try to say following (the tripthong is underlined): [he got in trouble] Vowels are very important for singers because that’s when they get to open their throats wide.We’ll stop there, but a full taxonomy of the wondrous sounds from lusophone lands could go on and on.If you’re not convinced that Portuguese speakers are responsible for most of the world’s best music, spend some time with at least the above shortlist, and report back to me. Portuguese employs an enormously rich range of vowel sounds.
There’s marrabenta in Mozambique, samba rock and samba hip hop in São Paulo, fado in Portugal, bossa nova in Rio, forró and frevo in Brazil’s northeast, música capira in the Brazilian south’s countryside, semba in Angola…Some of these are occasionally pronounced through the nose (i.e., nasal vowels).Some of them are pronounced in both “open” and “closed” versions (this can be difficult for English speakers to master).For an example, check out Elis Regina’s consonantal theatrics in the chorus to “ 3.The real question is: what makes Portuguese so perfect for music? Recall that a vowel is what happens when you’re pushing sound out of your throat, without blocking it with your tongue, teeth, lips, etc. To start, there are a lot of basic single-vowel sounds (“monophthongs”).