song from the musical My Fair Lady, with music by Frederick Loewe and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. The song was published in 1956."The Rain in Spain" is a
The song is a key turning point in the plotline of the musical. Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering have been drilling Eliza Doolittle incessantly with speech exercises, trying to break her Cockney accent speech pattern. The key lyric in the song is "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain", which contains five words that a Cockney would pronounce with an [aɪ] – more like "eye" than the Received Pronunciation diphthong [eɪ]. With the three of them nearly exhausted, Eliza finally "gets it", and recites the sentence with all long-a's. The trio breaks into song, repeating this key phrase as well as singing other exercises correctly, such as "In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen", and "How kind of you to let me come", in which Eliza had failed before by dropping the leading 'H'. According to The Disciple and His Devil, the biography of Gabriel Pascal by his wife Valerie, it was Gabriel Pascal who introduced the famous phonetic exercises "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain" and "In Hertford, Hereford, and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen" into Pygmalion in 1938, the first of which wound up leading to the song in My Fair Lady.
Spanish rain does not actually stay mainly in the plain. It falls mainly in the northern mountains. In Spanish, the phrase was translated as La lluvia en Sevilla es una maravilla (The rain in Seville is marvelous).
I hope that you have enjoyed my geography lesson, and my contribution to Haiku Monday!