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Am I right that many schwas become other sounds in songs cause the vowels become 'half-stressed' (I hope you understand what I mean.)? For example, the vowel E in the song 'Silent night' which is schwa in speech becomes [e] when it's sung. Is that right?

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    The answer is not cut-and-dried. When sung informally by the congregation of a church it would probably remain a schwa. A formal choir however might well pronounce the vowels clearly depending on the choirmaster's preference. – chasly from UK Nov 11 '15 at 23:23
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    Hello, Артём Луговой. Song lyrics per se are specifically off-topic, because the 'rules' do change, becoming much laxer. Syllables may be added (bless-ed) or dropped. And as for Glo --- o - o - o - o - o --- o - o - o - o - o ... And pronunciation may be played about with in other ways (infinite). – Edwin Ashworth Nov 11 '15 at 23:24
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    Actually, for "Silent Night", I don't perceive much of a change in the pronunciation of the "e" sound. The "Si" is greatly elongated, but very little change to "lent". – Hot Licks Nov 11 '15 at 23:35
  • Thanks a lot to all!!! Do I have to delete my question, Edwin? – Artyom Lugovoy Nov 11 '15 at 23:41
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    Sometimes sounds are changed in songs because the usual sound doesn't sound as good when held. A modern example is a pop song whose name I don't know where there's a line "Living in the real world," where "the" is pronounced "thah." Later in the song there's the chant "Don't go cryin' to your mama, 'cause you're on your own in the real world," if it helps identify the song. – Matt Samuel Nov 11 '15 at 23:59
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Stressed schwa is not permitted in American English, so when an American English speaker has to say a stressed version of what would normally be an unstressed schwa, he has to do something special. Most commonly, schwa is shifted to carat, [ʌ], an open mid back unrounded vowel, the vowel of "putt", "but", "mud", and so on. However, for a literate speaker, substituting a vowel quality suggested by the spelling of the word is possible, like the [ɛ] in the second syllable of "silent" in your example. Even schwa is a possibility, though it isn't totally within the English system.

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