Up to now I had no idea that there was a word for this endless, mindless, godawful screeching. Now, thanks to the legend that is Mary Hopkin, I have learnt it. Welcome to the world of melisma.
Mary - my new friend on Twitter - introduces us music illiterates to melisma on her splendid website at http://www.maryhopkin.com/. She defines the word as: 'Noun: several notes sung to one syllable.' Mary adds her take: 'The current definition seems to be: as many hemidemisemiquavers as humanly possible crammed into a single syllable.' She says that female popstars are most prone to 'melismating', tagging the tarts of tinnitus 'melismatrolls.'
Mary - a beguiling Taurean most famous for her 1968 No1 global hit Those Were The Days - is too well-raised to name the stellar culprits of this singing style but telepaths know who she means.
She does wonder, however, whether the overuse of melisma is the result of social phobia or something. She reveals that she herself can melismate by seating herself on a washing machine and setting it to fast spin while in song. I'm sure Jessie J would be impressed.
For more of Mary on melisma, see her blog for March 6, 2012 - click here.
The Earth Turns from Mary Hopkin's latest album You Look Familiar (with son Morgan Visconti)