Previous work on accents in song has focused on professional singers who modify their accents when they perform music that is associated with a particular regional accent (Trudgill, 1983, Gibson, 2010).
We recorded twelve speakers: native and second-language speakers of English. They were asked to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and read a passage from “Goldilocks”. Native English listeners had more difficulty detecting an accent in the singing conditions and rated the speakers as having less of an accent. These results suggest that it is harder to detect an accent in song compared to speech even when the singers are not influenced to project a particular accent. An analysis of the recordings showed that vowel duration is generally longer in song and that the pitch track changes. We argue that accents are harder to detect in song because the rhythm and pitch of song mask important prosodic markers of accent.