acapella = unaccompanied instrument

Michael H Covarrubias mcovarru at PURDUE.EDU
Mon Feb 11 05:40:53 UTC 2008

looks like a widening more than a misunderstanding and nuanced rather than
gross. if 'chapel style' was narrowed to 'unaccompanied voices' it makes as much
sense that unaccompanied (by instrument) could be widened to mean any solo

I'd guess that 'acapello' is from analogy with so many musical terms in -o.
allegro crescendo diminuendo largo lento presto...

And I've heard it from many people with lots of formal musical training.

Quoting LanDi Liu <strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM>:
> That's just a gross misunderstanding of the word, extending its meaning to
> instruments.
> Having conducted many amateur choirs, I've also heard the "a cappello"
> pronunciation mentioned in the other post, but also only from people with no
> formal music training.
> On Feb 11, 2008 10:18 AM, James Harbeck <jharbeck at> wrote:
> >
> >  has the following description:
> >
> > ----
> > Jeff Hughes covering Foo Fighters "The Pretender" on violin acapella.
> > ----
> >
> > The performance is a violin solo, no voice.
> >
> > James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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