MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Nov. 20, 2017) — The passing of Mel Tillis has the country talking about singing and stuttering.

"Understanding what dramatically reduces stuttering during singing may eventually help us understand stuttering better," explains Dr. Barry Guitar of the University of Vermont, author of several Stuttering Foundation publications. He offers the following comments on singing and stuttering:

  • In singing, we use our vocal chords, lips, and tongue differently than when we talk.
  • There is no time pressure in singing nor is there any communicative pressure.
  • The rhythmic pattern of music tends to help regulate a person's breathing.
  • There is now evidence that the brain functions differently for singing than it does for talking.
  • When we sing, we generally know the words of the song by heart. Sometimes "word retrieval" or searching for the words plays a role in stuttering.
  • Carly Simon, B.B. King, Bill Withers, and Nancy Wilson are all famous examples of singers who stutter, according to the Stuttering Foundation,, a nonprofit founded in 1947.


About the Foundation
Malcolm Fraser, a successful businessman who struggled with stuttering, established and endowed the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation in 1947. The Foundation provides free online resources at for people who stutter and their families as well as support for research into the causes of stuttering.

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