I went to see the doctor the other day. As part of the mandatory requisite chit-chat outlined in his medical school contract, he asked me what I do for a living. I said that I teach a cappella music.
“Oh yeah! A capello! I love that music. That’s like what they do on X-factor, right?” He said.
“No.” I proclaimed. “It’s like the television show the Sing-Off or the movie Pitch Perfect.”
“Oh…so you work in television?”
“No. I teach others about the music.”
“Cool! Acopello is awesome.”
“Could you just give me a prescription please?”
About a month ago, Jon Stewart interviewed Allison Brie, from Community. Allison was talking about her three-woman singing act that she had started, and Stewart asked the following question:
“Oh, so is it like A cappello?”
I turned off the television right then and there.
It’s a pet peeve of mine, spelling the one word that has defined my career path for the past ten years. Can you blame me that I become enraged when someone misspells a cappella, or even just mispronounces it?
If we want our music to be taken seriously, then people need to identify it by its correct spelling. According to this blog post on “Primarily A cappella,” there have been several ways A cappella has been misspelled and misrepresented:
The correct way to spell a cappella is with a space between A and C, two P’s, and two L’s. The most common variations are:
A capella and Acappella.
Because of the origin of the word, the first variation, A capella, is technically correct, because it is the Latin variation of the Italian word. The second variation, “Acappella,” is a slang term for the unaccompanied doo-wop singing of the 50’s and 60’s.
In my opinion, I’d rather stick with the tried and true: A cappella.
But there are some who see playful variations of the word on album titles and think to themselves:
“Oh…this is how you spell A cappella. Neat.”
I’m all for artistic freedom, but I wish the general public would be able to tell the difference between creative word play and misappropriation.
Here are some great albums, NONE of which should be mistaken for the original spelling:
A cappello Blues
Please, please, please...spell it correctly. Think of the children.