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Latin Pronunciation

I am looking for the accurate choral pronunciation of the Latin word "pacem," as in "Dona nobis pacem." Another musician was disputing my pronunciation but I am certain that I am correct.

Is the correct pronunciation of the "c" a "ch" sound, as in the English word "church?"

Marci Pittman
Junior High Choir Director
Champion Christian School
Chico, CA

on September 13, 2002 9:18am
The pronunciation you give is the standardized Roman Latin pronunciation.
But there are other ways of pronouncing Latin. If the piece is by a
German composer, for example, many people feel that you should use the
Austro-German pronunciations, and in such case the 'c' in 'pacem' would be
pronounced like a ts. But there is no point in doing that unless you are
going pronounce everything else a la Austro-German.

Hope this helps -

Rebecca Rollett
The Pittsburgh Camerata


On Fri, 13 Sep 2002 JCFreesUs(a)aol.com wrote:

> I am looking for the accurate choral pronunciation of the Latin word "pacem," as in "Dona nobis pacem." Another musician was disputing my pronunciation but I am certain that I am correct.
>
> Is the correct pronunciation of the "c" a "ch" sound, as in the English word "church?"
>
> Marci Pittman
> Junior High Choir Director
> Champion Christian School
> Chico, CA
>
>

on September 13, 2002 9:22am
My reference has it as follows:
C as K (cum=Koom) EXCEPT before e, ae, oe, i, when it sounds like CH in
CHIN
(caeli = Chehlee).

Ed Napolski
St. Patrick's Church
Enfield CT

on September 13, 2002 9:57am
Oh my, these kinds of questions are always a can of worms. Hope this helps:

You are most likely correct in using the "ch" sound, since that is
appropriate in so-called ecclesiastical (church) latin. The classical
(scholarly, presumably ancient and accurately Roman) pronounciation,
however, would call for a hard "k" sound, though unless the phrase is taken
from the poetry of Ovid or some such person you are right to stick to your
guns on this one.

My classiscal Latin professor (I had both) used to quip, "Of course it makes
perfect sense to pronounce a language that is 2500 years old like it's 19th
century Italian..."

Jason Shelton
Director of Music
First Unitarian Universalist
Church of Nashville, TN
music(a)firstuunashville.org

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-choraltalk(a)lists.colorado.edu
[mailto:owner-choraltalk(a)lists.colorado.edu]On Behalf Of
JCFreesUs(a)aol.com
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2002 10:16 AM
To: choraltalk(a)lists.colorado.edu
Subject: Latin Pronunciation


I am looking for the accurate choral pronunciation of the Latin word
"pacem," as in "Dona nobis pacem." Another musician was disputing my
pronunciation but I am certain that I am correct.

Is the correct pronunciation of the "c" a "ch" sound, as in the English word
"church?"

Marci Pittman
Junior High Choir Director
Champion Christian School
Chico, CA

on September 13, 2002 10:07am
That's quite right...
unless you sing 19th century music from Central Europe (e.g. Dovrak)
in this case, it's (patsem)

Kind regards
Georges Van den Broeck
tenor
Brussels

----- Original Message -----
From:
To:
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2002 5:16 PM
Subject: Latin Pronunciation


> I am looking for the accurate choral pronunciation of the Latin word
"pacem," as in "Dona nobis pacem." Another musician was disputing my
pronunciation but I am certain that I am correct.
>
> Is the correct pronunciation of the "c" a "ch" sound, as in the English
word "church?"
>
> Marci Pittman
> Junior High Choir Director
> Champion Christian School
> Chico, CA
>


on September 13, 2002 10:27am

Dear Marci,

there are many ways of pronouncing Latin. Most choirs and soloists pronounce
it like Italian, although there are others that prefer the German, French,
etc. pronunciations (and there is also the Classical pronunciation, which
isn't normally used when interpreting sacred music). It is hard to say which
is the correct way of pronouncing a language (think about English: which is
the "correct" way to pronounce it? The English way? the US-American way? The
Australian way? Is there really any incorrect way?) and, of course, it's
even more difficult if you are referring to a dead language.
I would first recommend to have a look at the composer's origin, where he
studied and where he performed to have an idea about which would be the most
accurate pronunciation of Latin in her/his music.
If the composer is Italian (or worked in Italy, etc.), I would use Italian
pronunciation (pacem = pachem).
If the composer is German, I would rather use the German pronunciation
(pacem = patsem).
If he/she is French, I would use the French pronunciation, etc.

Hope this helps.
Greetings.
Alan Dergal Rautenberg



----- Original Message -----
From:
To:
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2002 10:16 AM
Subject: Latin Pronunciation


> I am looking for the accurate choral pronunciation of the Latin word
"pacem," as in "Dona nobis pacem." Another musician was disputing my
pronunciation but I am certain that I am correct.
>
> Is the correct pronunciation of the "c" a "ch" sound, as in the English
word "church?"
>
> Marci Pittman
> Junior High Choir Director
> Champion Christian School
> Chico, CA
>

on September 13, 2002 11:14am
>I am looking for the accurate choral pronunciation of the Latin word
>"pacem," as in "Dona nobis pacem." Another musician was disputing my
>pronunciation but I am certain that I am correct.
>
>Is the correct pronunciation of the "c" a "ch" sound, as in the English
>word "church?"
>
>Marci Pittman
>Junior High Choir Director
>Champion Christian School
>Chico, CA

>From the Liber Usualis:

"C coming before E, ae, oe, I, y is pronounced like ch in Church." You are
correct. Your friend should say 20 Hail Marys!

John


John & Susie Howell
Virginia Tech Department of Music
Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.A. 24061-0240
Vox (540) 231-8411 Fax (540) 231-5034
(mailto:John.Howell(a)vt.edu)
http://www.music.vt.edu/faculty/howell/howell.html


on September 14, 2002 5:51am
In article , Choraltalk Gateway
writes
[pacem]
>Is the correct pronunciation of the "c" a "ch" sound, as in the English word
>"church?"
>
Ah, now THERE's a question!

Every musicologist and musician from here to Antarctica has a different
answer to THAT one. If one is being hyper-correct, one sings
differently for Latin pieces written by English, French (pre-about
1890), German/Austrian, Medieval Latin, Italian or Spanish composers.

For example, take the extended phrase:
"Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem"

And now hear it in different versions (with a sort of English
transliteration - this PC doesn't do IPA:
[Italian]
"Anyus Day-ee, kwee tollees peccahta mundee, donna nohbis pahchem".
[Austro-German]
"Aggnus Dee-ee, kvee tollees peccahta mundee, donna nohbis pahtsem".
[French]
"Anyus Dee-ee, kwee tollees peccahta mahdee, donna nohbis passem".
[The one below fits both English and Spanish in this instance]
"Aggnus Day-ee, kwee tollees peccahta mundee, donna nohbis passem".

Most people don't get their knickers in a twist over this, though, and
sing in an Italianate way. Which is accepted as fine by all but the
most pedantic. The greatest difference between that, the pronunciation
one can use as a basis, and others occur between it and French or it and
Austro-German. I personally dislike singing "Kvoniam tu solus sanctus"
in Mozart, but I know people who insist on it.

Stick to the Italian way, with nice bright forward vowels, and you can't
go far wrong.
--
MegaMole, the Official Enrico Basilica
\\\\\ laaa! mole(a)lspace.org mole(a)music.slut.org.uk
\\\\\\\_o / www.countertenor.demon.co.uk for Stuff
__ \\\\\'c/__ Hitting the high notes with hedgehogs since 2001

on September 15, 2002 6:07pm


Rebecca Ann Rollett wrote:

> The pronunciation you give is the standardized Roman Latin pronunciation.
> But there are other ways of pronouncing Latin. If the piece is by a
> German composer, for example, many people feel that you should use the
> Austro-German pronunciations, and in such case the 'c' in 'pacem' would be
> pronounced like a ts. But there is no point in doing that unless you are
> going pronounce everything else a la Austro-German.



I know that this is a common sentiment, but it seems to me that one might
adopt the standard American way of doing things when singing on these
shores (which is Italianate.) If one were singing to a German audience
who would find the Italian pronunciations strange sounding, then it
makes sense to sing the German way. But I think that most choral savvy
Americans would find the use of the national flavor of the day a little
pretentious and off-putting. I know I do.
The other argument I have is that whenever I have heard American choirs
try to do German-Latin or French-Latin or Spanish-Latin, they only get
about half of it right, and end up flying by the seat of
their pants where rules of pronunciation are concerned. If you are going
to do a nationalized style, then it's vital that you know exactly how it
is done in that country.
In American schools, however, we are mostly taught the Italianate rules,
and I think it's best to stick with that which we thoroughly understand.


Kevin Sutton
maestro2(a)sbcglobal.net


>
>


on September 16, 2002 4:56am
> Rebecca Ann Rollett wrote:
>
> > But there are other ways of pronouncing Latin. If the piece is by a
> > German composer, for example, many people feel that you should use the
> > Austro-German pronunciations, and in such case the 'c' in 'pacem' would be
> > pronounced like a ts. But there is no point in doing that unless you are
> > going pronounce everything else a la Austro-German.

and Kevin Sutton replied:>
> I know that this is a common sentiment, but it seems to me that one might
> adopt the standard American way of doing things when singing on these
> shores (which is Italianate.) If one were singing to a German audience
> who would find the Italian pronunciations strange sounding, then it
> makes sense to sing the German way.

I think that Kevin misunderstood my point. I was trying to say (obviously
not very clearly!) that the pronunciation the original poster was asking
about was correct in standard Italianate Latin. The person disagreeing
with her could have been accustomed to some other style of Latin
pronunciation, say Austro-German. And while one might choose to use the
Austro-German pronunciation for a Germanic piece in Latin, then if one did
so one would have to pronounce the whole text according to that system,
not just that one word. I personally am in favor of Kevin's premise of,
for the most part, sticking with the Italianate pronunciation for American
audiences. God knows we have enough things to confuse us, what with all
the languages we ask our groups to sing in. This season my group is
singing in Latin, Italian, German, French, Croation, Czech, Danish, and
Church Slavonic - oh, and English, and sometimes even English can be a
struggle!

In case anyone doesn't know about a great resource, the book
"Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire Vol I: Sacred Latin
Texts" (earthsongs, covallis, oregon) is most useful, and includes both a
Roman Latin and Astro-German Latin pronunciation guide. Highly
recommended!

Rebecca Rollett
The Pittsburgh Camerata

on September 18, 2002 6:44pm
Marci,

As you have seen, there are many opinions and answers on this, but I believe
the Ecclesiastical Latin is the most correct, regardless of country. I
believe it was the Solesmnes monks codified and established "correct"
ecclesiastical latin. The variations in other countries, if I'm not
mistaken, were originally mispronunciations which through habit (and
ignorance) were continued onwards. Thus I don't think it matters how the
Germans or French pronounce ecclesiastical latin, unless they pronounce it
the same as the "Official" Roman way, they are "wrong."

Further, in the US, most people are used to singing and hearing the
Romanized, "official" version of latin, and I believe to do otherwise, is
just being "fussy" and propagating and continuing mistaken pronunciation.

I'm sure this will NOT be a popular answer, however, and some will radically
disagree with it. ;-)

Pax,

Craig Collins
ccoll67202(a)aol.com

on September 19, 2002 11:03am
>Marci,
>
>As you have seen, there are many opinions and answers on this, but I believe
>the Ecclesiastical Latin is the most correct, regardless of country. I
>believe it was the Solesmnes monks codified and established "correct"
>ecclesiastical latin. The variations in other countries, if I'm not
>mistaken, were originally mispronunciations which through habit (and
>ignorance) were continued onwards. Thus I don't think it matters how the
>Germans or French pronounce ecclesiastical latin, unless they pronounce it
>the same as the "Official" Roman way, they are "wrong."
>
>Further, in the US, most people are used to singing and hearing the
>Romanized, "official" version of latin, and I believe to do otherwise, is
>just being "fussy" and propagating and continuing mistaken pronunciation.
>
>I'm sure this will NOT be a popular answer, however, and some will radically
>disagree with it. ;-)
>
>Pax,
>
>Craig Collins

Craig: I certainly don't radically disagree, but would point out that
there are times and places for everything. All Latin is "ecclesiastical"
when it is used for liturgical texts. That has nothing to do with
pronunciation, which is an aspect of regional variation that has always
been with us. In an academic setting, where some degree of historical
accuracy and attention to performance practice is appropriate, I do attempt
to do what is more historical. Thus I try to use German Latin for the
music of Hildegard, and Italian Latin for other uses. I haven't yet
attempted French Latin. The differences with German Latin are primarily in
the pronunciation of consonants, while the differences in French Latin have
more to do with vowel quality. But for more "practical" use like church
choir or community chorus, I certainly stick with the familiar Italian
pronunciation, as given in the Liber Usualis (which was, indeed, edited by
French monks!).

John


John & Susie Howell
Virginia Tech Department of Music
Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.A. 24061-0240
Vox (540) 231-8411 Fax (540) 231-5034
(mailto:John.Howell(a)vt.edu)
http://www.music.vt.edu/faculty/howell/howell.html


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