The Latin problem--how much does a singer really need to know?
The dilemma of what might constitute "proper" Latin pronunciation will be obvious to many readers: without a spoken norm in existence, a language will transform freely over time and place, at the whim of those who have occasion to speak or sing it, and with an inevitable tendency to converge with the local or regional vernacular in terms of phonological detail. Perhaps the pronunciation of Latin has received less attention than other languages simply because there are no native speakers around to complain. The unconscious articulation reflexes, present in the native language of the user, will naturally transfer into Latin, just as the speech habits of an English speaker will reveal themselves as a foreign accent in another language, unless consciously checked. Thus, the Latin of 12th century Germany will be distinct from that of the 18th or 21st century, and distinct in other ways from French or Italianate Latin. Over the centuries, choral traditions throughout the world have relied on nonprofessional musicians, both in the choir and conducting, and this has worked against the creation of established norms of pronunciation. Choral conductors, in the absence of such well defined norms, have tended to rely on instinct and their educational background and prior experience in setting policy for their choirs. This has had the effect of perpetuating traditions, whether defensible or not, and encouraging diversity in approach.
The Roman Catholic church has ensured the abiding presence of Latin, after its death as a vernacular language, to the present time. In the process, a standard of pronunciation was imposed upon it, so that the religious message could be understood throughout Christendom. This standard has been variously called "Roman Latin," "liturgical Latin," "ecclesiastical Latin," "church Latin," "plainchant Latin," and "medieval Latin." The standardizing and perpetuation of a prescribed single pronunciation of a language over time and place has never been more successful than that advocated by Catholicism. Until the Motu proprio of 1959, Latin remained the language of the world's church services, and is still in use in the Vatican and elsewhere. The terms "true" and "authentic" are often seen in reference to this pronunciation, stemming from the time of Pope Gregory. The maintenance of this single standard has required considerable oversight, incited passionate argumentation, and required regular admonition and periodic adjustment, as is seen in a letter Pope Pius X wrote to the Archbishop of Bourges in 1912.
[S]ince the promulgation of Our Motu proprio of November 22, 1903, on Sacred Music, great zeal has been displayed in the different dioceses of France to make the pronunciation of the Latin language approximate more closely to that used in Rome, and that, in consequence, it is sought to perfect, according to the best rules of art, the execution of the Gregorian melodies, brought back by Us to their ancient traditional form ... We learn at the same time with real pleasure that this reform has already spread to a number of places and been successfully introduced into many cathedral churches, seminaries and colleges and even into simple country churches. The question of the pronunciation of Latin is closely bound up with that of the restoration of the Gregorian Chant, the constant subject of Our thoughts and recommendations from the very beginning of Our Pontificate. The accent and pronunciation of Latin had great influence on the melodic and rhythmic formation of the Gregorian phrase and consequently it is important that these melodies should be rendered in the same manner in which they were artistically conceived at their first beginning. (3)
In the two other arenas in which Latin still thrives in the modern world--science and law--a perpetuated pronunciation standard does not exist with the same rigor.
The exalted status of plainchant in Catholic liturgy, sung and taught by cantors who mentor the next generation through time-honored oral methods, has preserved a tradition that is not to be confused with the Latin generally espoused by choral conductors in North America, Britain, and other countries. The pronunciation norms of the two are indeed quite similar, as might be expected, but not identical. Choral Latin and plainchant Latin were perhaps indistinguishable in the Renaissance, when choral motets and Masses were employed in the same services as plainchant, and by the same people. As that vast and wonderful repertory has been in part transplanted from the cathedral to the concert hall, a new breed of performer has arisen, many of whom will have little familiarity with the original context and liturgical purpose of the music. Today this music may be sung by trained singers in professional chamber choirs, or by parishioners with little background in music, who love to sing and experience the artistic and social benefits of the municipal choral society. It is not a given that a choral conductor will be either Catholic or devout, as was the case in Rome in Palestrina's day.
Roman Latin--that which is deemed appropriate for Gregorian chant--is set out in the manual published in 1937 by the St. Gregory Guild of Philadelphia, entitled The Correct Pronunciation of Latin according to Roman Usage. This conforms to the pronunciation rules laid out in the Liber usualis (English edition, 1950).
The pronunciation norms for Latin in North American and British choirs derive from the principles of Roman liturgical Latin, but over the years have tended to blend the speech habits of modern Italian with the "pure" rules of Roman Latin. This version of Latin is usually referred to as "Italianate Latin," and is the modern adaptation of the Latin language most prevalent in sacred choral singing today, and thus the most likely to be familiar to the reader.
With regard to vowels, <e> and <o> are the ones most affected, since they are the only ones with dual pronunciations in standard Italian. The Roman <e> (= [[epsilon]]) will sometimes be realized as the close [e] of Italian, and <o> (= [c]) as [o], in stressed syllables only. The guidelines that generally apply for this are simple because they are already familiar from Italian: use close [e] only in environments where that vowel would occur in Italian words. This is not so much a happy coincidence as it is an expected result, since choral conductors and singers generally have at least some familiarity with pronouncing Italian. While the rules for Italian open/close <e> and <o> are involved, their transfer into Italianate Latin is straightforward, in that it is precisely the assimilation of the speech habits of Italian into Latin that has created this dialect of choral singing. The reader might wish to consider some basic liturgical words, such as miserere, credo, and Domine, to assess the extent to which personal instinct favors the close [e] and [o] in such words. The rule in Italian that states that open stressed syllables will employ close [e] and [o] accounts for much of the disparity in vowels between Roman and Italianate Latin. The pronunciations [lmi.se.lre:re] and [lkre:dc], rather than [lmi.ze.'re:re] and [lkre:do], are likely to require concentration to differentiate. The word miserere exemplifies the other primary difference between Roman and Italianate--that of the intervocalic <s>, which is always [s] in Roman. In recent years a trend has arisen to voice it ([z]) intervocalically in choral practice with some conductors.
It behoves a singer who is soloing with a choral society to adjust in the arias and duets to the version of Latin espoused by the conductor. At times a choir will default to a certain pattern without comment on the part of the conductor, and such details might need to be inferred by the soloist during the course of rehearsal. It is a wise habit to determine in advance with a conductor, when possible, the variety of Latin that is to be employed. This might have to be done through examples of specific words, as there is no guarantee that a conductor will be conversant with the names of the varieties of Latin.
Plank makes a case for period pronunciation as a performance practice consideration as important as instruments, ornamentation, and vibrato.
The awareness of vowels as a color element underscores the important and increasingly prominent sensitivity to period pronunciation in historical performance. As with the use of period instruments, period pronunciation brings with it the overtones of historicity ... it has the dynamic capacity to defamiliarize the familiar; to introduce, at least at this point, novel sounds, regardless of historic claims. But certainly much of the attention of period pronunciation is the vastly expanded range of color that emerges through the text ... national versions of a notably unstandardized Latin vary the palette considerably. In the end, the rich variety of vowel and diphthong offer a range of sounds and color that can make the uniform purity of standardized Roman Latin seem pale by comparison. (4)
Classical Latin--that of the Roman Empire--was itself not a single dialect, for two reasons. First, the educated and literary form of Latin (the one we know of through the literary sources) coexisted with the spoken dialect of the people that has come to be known as Vulgar Latin. These two forms are what Clackson and Horrocks label "Elite Latin" and "Sub-elite Latin." (5) It is very difficult to know with any precision how Vulgar Latin was pronounced, either in Rome or in the conquered territories. The form of classical Latin whose grammar has been taught in modern times as a standard form derives from the prestige written language. Second, as the Empire grew and expanded into new territories, regional vernaculars were gradually supplanted by Latin, in forms that merged the vernacular patterns with those of Vulgar Latin. Thus the Latin spoken throughout the Empire during its prime reflects similar patterns of phonological diversity that medieval-to-modern-day Latin displays.
Numerous settings of original classical Latin texts exist, although more often than not, composers chose to set the literary works of Catullus, Horace, Ovid, Virgil, and others in a modern translation. Puccini's Inno a Roma, and Hahn's Etudes latines are examples. Some odes and epodes by Horace, Virgil, and others were very popular in the Renaissance, and were set many times. Virgil's Dulces exuviae (Dido's lament), for instance, was set by Despres, Lasso, Mouton, Orto, Vaet, Willaert, and many others. Nevertheless, only a few original Classical Latin settings are in the standard repertory. (6) Thus, although its pronunciation survives today for academic and educational purposes, its potential applicability to most Latin musical texts is quite restricted. Table 1 is a selected list of such works.
One wonders what dialect of Latin might have been employed for Zelenka's large-scale stage work of 1723. Eighteenth century Germanic Latin probably sufficed for Mozart's youthful operatic experiment, as it does today in many German productions, in spite of its Ovidian provenance. Germanic Latin was well established in the Lutheran liturgy by the 18th century, and the strong Jesuit presence in the educational system in central Europe at the time would have provided a presence for Classical Latin as well.
Without the benefit of direct analysis, the pronunciation of Classical Latin must be reconstructed. Much research has gone into this pursuit for centuries. It is important to appreciate that the Latin of these sources is a literary dialect, based upon the writings of Horace, Ovid, and others, with a comprehensive associated grammar. The Latin traditionally taught in schools to the present day is this literary dialect. Coexisting with this was a variety of dialects that existed only in spoken form--the Latin of the people--collectively known as Vulgar Latin. Much less can be said conclusively about these forms of Latin, as there are limits to their ability to be reconstructed. (7) The following description is of the literary, so-called Classical Latin.
Classical Latin had a thoroughly symmetrical vowel system, in which length was contrastive. Thus, each of the five phonetic vowels had a long and a short version, which served to distinguish, for example, populus "people" [o] from populus "poplar" [o:] (Figure 1). The phonetic inventory of modern standard Italian embraces all ten of these vowels, and adds four more ([e:] [e] [c:] [a]), but it is consonant length, not vowel length, that is contrastive. In Italian, minimal pairs can be found for the consonants, but not for vowels. Vowel quality, not quantity, is phonemic. Consonant quantity, not quality, is phonemic in Italian.
Some authorities state that the non-low short vowels are also somewhat less fortis than the long vowels. This approach yields an inventory as shown in Figure 2.
Long vowels occur only in stressed syllables, but a stressed vowel may not be long. This pattern is familiar from modern Italian. Over time, Latin short, stressed vowels all tended to lose their contrastive status, and become long.
In addition, Classical Latin had three relatively common diphthongs:
<ae> praedium [ai] <au> auri [au] <oe> poena [ci] and three rarer ones: <eu> neu, seu [eu] <ei> aureis [ei] <ou> prout [cu]
By the late Empire, <ae> and <oe> had resolved to monophthongal [e]; thus the ligature forms <ae> and <oe>. All other vowel digraphs were separate syllables.
The consonants of Classical Latin differ from medieval Latin only in the following:
* <c>, <g>--always hard, as in Cicero [ki.ke.ro], genitum [ge.ni.tum]
* <cc> [kk]--ecce
* <ch>, <ph>, <th> always [k], [p], [t]--pulcher, phalanx, cithara
* <gn> probably [nn]
* <h> pronounced in literary Latin; often dropped in Vulgar
* <i> used for both syllabic vowel [i] and semiconsonant [j] (iam, cuius)
* <s> always [s]; weakened in final position
* <-ti-> hard, [ti]--natio (palatalization to [ts] was a late development)
* <v> alternates with <u> in Latin orthography, and pronounced [w]--vivos (uiuos) [wi.wos]
* <x> always [ks]
* <y> [i] --a letter borrowed from Greek
The guidelines for Germanic Latin, while not always supplied in lyric diction literature where you might expect reference to it, are now rather well known, and are itemized here for convenience and completeness.
1. Long <i> and <u> are [i :] and [u :]. When <i> and <u> are short, use [i] and [u], as in German.
2. Long <e> and <o> are [e:] and [o:]. When <e> and <o> are short, use [e] and [c], as in German. Unstressed <e> (sedet) can vary between [e] and [a], as in German, but tends to [e] in some words, or on longer-held notes. The safer bet in unstressed syllables is [e], which is never wrong, as [a] can be. (8)
3. <ae> is [e], or possibly [e]. <m> is .
4. Syllabic <y> is [y:] (Kyrie) or [y] (hymnus), not [i(:)].
5. <b> and <d> devoice to [p] and [t] in coda position. Also <bs>, <b.t> become [ps], [p.t].
6. Initial or intervocalic <c> followed by <e>, <ae>, <m>, <i>, <y> is [ts], not [t/]. <cc> followed by those vowels is [kts], not [tt/] or [tts]. All other <c>s are [k].
7. <ch> will be [k], [c] or [x] according to context. See Table 2.
8. <g> (agimus, Virgine) is [g] in all environments, never [dz].
9. <gn> (Agnus) is [gn], never [n] or [gn].
10. <h> (homo) is pronounced [h], never silent. Intervocalic <h> (mihi, nihil) was [p] until the late 18th century, then softened to [c].
11. <ng> is [ng], not [ndz]. Final <nc> is also [nk]. Intervocalic <-nc-> is [nts].
12. <ps> (Psalm) is [ps].
13. <qu-> is [kv]. <-ngu-> is [nv].
14. Initial and medial <s>, followed by a vowel (Sanctus, transivit, Jesum), are voiced [z]. In compound words, intervocalic <s> is [s] (desuper). Also tends to [s] in eleison (Greek). All other <s> environments are [s], including final <s> (omnipotens), even before or after a voiced consonant (baptisma). Initial <s> in clitics often retains [s], as in suam, sub. In Austria, German initial <s> is [s], and transfers thus into Germanic Latin there as well.
15. <sc> + <e>, <ae>, <oe>, <i>, <y> is [sts], not [f]. On the other hand, <sch-> is [f], not [sk].
16. <-ti-> (gratias, deprecationem) is [tsi], except <-sti-> is [ti] (hostias).
17. Intervocalic <x> is [ks] (exaudi), not [gz]. Intervocalic <-xc-> (excelsis) is [kstz] or, less formally, [ktz].
18. <z> is [ts], not [dz].
19. The glottal stroke [?] before a vowel-initial word finds its way into Germanic Latin to a varying extent, depending on context and taste.
It is worth noting that the more lenis [i] and [u] typically employed for short <i> and <u>, and the parallel [e] and [o] for short <e> and <o>, have precedent in Classical Latin, and almost certainly in the Vulgar Latin of the Empire. Thus, its use in the modern Germanic dialect of Latin is no less "pure" than Roman Latin's insistence upon only one color for <i>, <e>, <o>, and <u>. In the case of <i> and <u>, this seems to have more to do with the influence of modern Italian on Latin than with any precedent in the Latin language itself.
WHAT OF FRENCH LATIN?
In 17th century France, a Latin pronunciation for choral music heavily influenced by the vernacular was not only acknowledged but espoused, in three unpublished manuscripts from c.1660 by Jacques Le Clerc. (9) His recommendations appear to be a vindication of an already existent practice in France, and one that was to remain in currency until the 20th century. A heated controversy over Latin pronunciation reform in France began in the 1880s, between those advocating a prononciation traditionelle (civic, educational) and those espousing reform (clerical). The scholarly work of the monks of Solesmes, beginning in 1880, inaugurated an all-out assault, which lasted for the next 50 years, on the established pronunciation norms of French Latin. In 1910, Couillault described a Latin pronunciation then in common usage that is essentially identical to that of Le Clerc 250 years earlier. (10) Many concessions to the French language are cited (Table 2). In other words, the following eleven sounds, foreign to either Classical or Roman Latin, were all standard practice in the French Latin of both school and concert hall, at least until the early 20th century:
[a], [e], [c], [oe], [e], [o], [oe], [o], [y], [z], [h]
As a cleric, Couillault was an advocate of reform, based on an Italianate model. If Couillault's description is to be taken as a reliable mirror of French Latin practice of the time, the implications are substantial. French choral landmarks of the 19th century, such as Berlioz's Requiem and Te Deum, Faure's Requiem, and Gounod's Messe de Sainte Cecilie, would require the adjustments above to be historically informed. Waltz complained in 1913 that
Our scholarly pronunciation of Latin is an arbitrary mix, complicated and barbarous, of pure French sounds. Amongst civilized peoples, it is us who have deformed Latin the most. Foreigners who cite Latin understand one another, but are not understood by the French, who themselves are unable to understand one another. (11)
In the 1912 Pastoral Letter of Cardinal Dubois, Archbishop of Paris, "Gregorian chant and the Roman pronunciation of Latin," he states,
We French people do not mind owning that we pronounce Latin badly, so badly indeed that we are scarcely understood by foreigners conversant with the language. We are the heirs of a linguistic evolution and the further this moves away from its starting point the more impossible does it become for the language to retain its original purity of accent. Nowhere was Latin more disfigured than with us, especially from the Renaissance onwards. The pronunciation of French has exercised a disastrous influence upon the language from which it is derived. (12)
The official pronunciation principles for liturgical Latin, authorized by the Vatican and outlined in the Liber usualis, derive from Italian phonological principles--a pursuit ironically undertaken by native French speakers. It is not too exaggerated to assert that this official version owes its existence to the heated 50-year debate over a standard of Latin pronunciation in France--a little known polemic, yet worthy of comparison with the 18th century Querelle des bouffons.
The Vatican reform movement of the early 20th century won the day more in France than it did in Germany, where Germanic Latin has been pervasively employed to the present day, at least in Germany and Austria.
Table 3 (pages 596-599) provides a comparative overview of Latin phonology, organized by orthographic letter. Four dialects are contrasted: 1) Roman (plainsong); 2) Italianate (that in current use sacred choral music); 3) Germanic (that in use in German-speaking countries, and increasingly employed elsewhere in historically informed performances); 4) Classical (literary Latin, not Vulgar; still taught in Latin courses today). Data is entered in the Italianate and Germanic columns only when they depart from the Roman norm.
The recitative from Mozart's cantata, Exsultate, jubilate, illustrates how the rules above play out in a well known musical example. Each soloist's performance may vary slightly from that given, especially in the vowel colors of <e> , <o>, and <u> (Table 4).
We now add French Latin (1650-c. 1900) and Classical Latin to the mix, in the Crucifixus text from the Mass Ordinary. Regarding the transcriptions of these two new lines, a reading of the detailed sources reveals that there is much wiggle room for alternate vowel colors, and some guesswork involved (Table 5). (13)
What, then, can one reasonably expect of a vocal soloist in our times? With growing interest in pronunciation norms that are contextualized to the time and place of the composition, a professional soloist now needs to have a grasp of more than just the "default" Italianate Latin that has sufficed for so many years in North America as the norm for all choral repertoire. As conductors become more enlightened and willing to explore more than one Latin standard with their choirs, visiting soloists must be prepared to dovetail with the textual strategies that may already be in place for the choir. Some will opt simply for the "purer" Roman Latin, with only one pronunciation for <e>s and <o>s, and unvoiced intervocalic <s>s. A familiarity with Germanic Latin is no longer a consideration only for those singers intent upon a career in German-speaking countries. There is a growing tendency to employ Germanic Latin dialect for the choral works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and other Austro-German composers, outside of German-speaking countries and on recording. A practical familiarity with these three forms of sung Latin is now an essential tool for the professional soloist and chorister. The modern climate for French choral music remains largely one of adapting the text to the Latin pronunciation norms of the region where the performance takes place, and one is less likely to encounter a performance of French choral music since 1650 that will insist upon the French Latin dialect described above. The music set to Classical Roman texts is quite limited, and there are few works in the standard repertory that require it. Classical and French Latin are thus still the most "dispensible" dialects of sung Latin for the professional, but this performance norm across North America could well change in the future too. Orff s ubiquitous Carmina burana remains a special case, delving as it does into both medieval Latin and German texts, and requires its own special diachronic diction strategies. Music directors who regularly program Latin-texted music pre-1750 are more likely to have specific historically informed policies regarding performance traditions. The singer who makes a specialty of pre-Baroque repertoire is well aware of the need for flexibility in many languages, of which Latin is just one-- and will be aware of the specific literature on lyric diction devoted to such pursuits. It is always a prudent precaution to inquire with the music director well in advance of a performance regarding what to expect upon arrival-- and equally prudent to word the inquiry in a manner that will be precise, yet neither condescending nor intimidating to the person in charge.
Allen, W[illiam] Sidney. Vox latina: A Guide to the Pronunciation of Classical Latin. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1965; 2nd ed., 1978, Cambridge/New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Avalle, D'arco. Bassa latina vocalismo. Torino: G. Giappichelli, 1979.
Benedictines of Solesmes, ed. Liber usualis.Tournai: Desclee, 1947.
Bergeron, Katherine Ann. Representation, Reproduction, and the Revival of Gregorian Chant at Solesmes. PhD diss., Cornell University, 1989.
Blackstone, Dara Ellen. A Perceptual Examination of the Effect of Select Languages on the Pronunciation of Sung Latin. PhD diss., Univ. of Connecticut, 1996.
Chapman, Charles. "How to Avoid Singing in a Vulgar Manner: How the Romans Did It." Choral Journal 20, no. 8 (April 1980): 19-20.
Clackson, James, and Geoffrey Horrocks. The Blackwell History of the Latin Language. Malden, MA/Oxford/Carlton, Victoria: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
Collins, John F. A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1985.
Combe, Pierre, O.S.B. Histoire de la restauration du chant gregorien d'apres les documents inedits. [Solesmes]: Abbaye de Solesmes, 1969.
Copeman, Harold. Singing in Latin. Oxford: by the author, 1990; rev.1992.
Couillault, Camille. La Reforme de la prononciation latine. Paris: Bloud, 1910.
de Angelis, Michael (ed., Nicola A. Montani). The Correct Pronunciation of Latin According to Roman Usage. Philadelphia: St. Gregory Guild, 1937; [Anaheim]: National Music Publishers, 2nd ed., 1971, with the title Latin Pronunciation According to Roman Usage (enl. & ed. William Dawson Hall). Chicago: G.I.A. Publications, 1973 (repr.).
Duffin, R. W. "National Pronunciations of Latin ca.1490-1600." Journal of Musicology 4, no. 2 (1985/6): 217-226.
Herman, Jozsef. Le latin vulgaire. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1967; English translation, University Park, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000, with the title Vulgar Latin (transl. Roger Wright).
Hines, Robert S. Singer's Manual of Latin Diction and Phonetics. New York: Schirmer Books (Macmillan), 1975.
Huber, Vincent. Latin for Sisters: A Practical Guide to Breviary Latin. Clyde, MO: Tabernacle and Purgatory Press, 1931.
[ed. by the Benedictines of Solesmes]. Liber usualis. Tournai, Belgium: Decolee (Society of St.John the Evangelist), 1947.
Jeffers, Ron, comp. and annot., Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire, Vol I: Sacred Latin Texts. Corvallis, OR: Earthsongs, 1988. The chapter, "Latin pronunciation guide" (36-44) is relevant. Inventories the vowels and consonants, itemizing their various pronunciations. Section on "common pronunciation problems," and a useful "Austro-German pronunciation guide." The balance of the book is devoted to word-for-word and prose translations into English of typical Latin choral texts, with background information on the texts, and a selected list of composers that have set each text described.
Kent, Roland Grubb. The Sounds of Latin: A Descriptive and Historical Phonology (Language monographs 12). Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1932; New York: Kraus Reprint, 1966.
Keys, A. C. "Choral Latin--a Protest and a Proposal." Australian Journal of Music Education 25 (1979): 57-60.
King, David. Latin Pronunciation: A Brief Outline of the Roman Continental and English Methods. Boston: Ginn and Heath, 1880/1889.
Kossman, A. D. "Latin Pronunciation for Singers." Choral Journal 13, no. 3 (1972): 10-11.
Lord, Frances E. The Roman Pronunciation of Latin. Kessinger Publishing, 2004.
Mantello, F. A. C., and A. G. Rigg, eds. Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographical Guide. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1996.
Marietta, Sister. Singing the Liturgy. Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing, 1956.
May, William V., and Craig Tolin. Pronunciation Guides for Choral Literature: French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Spanish. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1987.
McGee, Timothy, A. G. Rigg, and David N. Klausner, eds. Singing Early Music: The Pronunciation of European languages in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1996.
Montgomery, Cheri, and Matthew Hoch. Latin Lyric Diction Workbook. Nashville, TN: S.T.M. Publishers, 2016.
Moriarty, John. Diction: Italian Latin French German ... the Sounds and 81 Exercises for Singing Them. Boston: E. C. Schirmer, 1979.
Murphy, Edward. Latin Pronounced for Catholic Choirs. Philadelphia: Catholic Standard and Times Publishing, 1907.
Plank, Steven E. Choral Performance: A Guide to Historical Practice. Lanham, MD/Toronto/Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, 2004.
Pulgram, Ernst. Latin-Romance Phonology: Prosodics and Metrics (Ars grammatica 4). Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1975.
Ranum, Patricia M. Methode de la prononciation latine dite 'Vulgare' ou 'A la frangaise'. Arles: Actes Sud, 1991.
Rosenstock-Huessy, Eugen, and Ford L. Battles. Magna carta latina: The Privilege of Singing, Articulating and Reading a Language and Keeping it Alive, 2nd ed. Pickwick, 1975.
Schalk, Carl, ed. Key Words in Church Music. Definition Essay on Concepts, Practices, and Movements of Thought in Church Music. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Teachers College, 1978.
Scherr, Vera U. G. Aufftihrungspraxis Vokalmusik--Handbuch der lateinischen Aussprache: Klassisch--Italienisch--Deutsch. Kassel/Basel/London/New York: Barenreiter, 1991.
Sunol, Dom Gregory, trans. G. M. Durnford. Text Book of Gregorian Chant According to the Solesmes Method. Tournai: Society of St. John Evangelist/Desclee, 1930.
Trame, Richard H. "A Note on Latin Pronunciation." Choral Journal 23, no. 5 (January 1983): 29.
Waltz, Rene. Manuel elementaire etpratique de laprononciation du latin. Paris: Fontemoing, 1913.
Wilson, Harry Robert. Artistic Choral Singing. New York: G. Schirmer, 1959 (154-156, "Italian Pronunciation of Latin," by Becket Gibbs).
(1.) Robert S. Hines, Singer's Manual of Latin Diction and Phonetics (New York: Schirmer Books/Macmillan, 1975); John Moriarty, Diction: Italian Latin French German . . . the Sounds and 81 Exercises for Singing Them (Boston: E. C. Schirmer, 1979), 153-164. Hines and Moriarty disagree on intervocalic <s>, the former favoring [z]. No distinction is made by either author between "ecclesiastical" and "Italianate Latin."
(2.) Harold Copeman, Singing in Latin (Oxford: self-published, 1990, rev.1992).
(3.) Rev. Michael de Angelis, The Correct Pronunciation of Latin According to Roman Usage (Philadelphia: St. Gregory Guild, 1937), 4.
(4.) Steven E. Plank, Choral Performance: A Guide to Historical Practice (Lanham, MD/Toronto/Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, 2004), 18.
(5.) James Clackson and Geoffrey Horrocks, The Blackwell History of the Latin Language (Malden, MA/Oxford/Carlton, Victoria: Blackwell Publishing, 2007).
(6.) An interesting, little known tradition existed during the late Victorian era at Cambridge University in England. At a time when the study of classical languages was a core component of the curriculum, annual performances were held of ancient Greek plays, with music newly composed for the occasion. Although not entirely a propos of the present topic, the matter of Classical vs. demotic Greek pronunciation roughly parallels that of classical vs. liturgical Latin. Some of England's most prominent composers contributed to this tradition.
Macfarren, G. A., Ajax (Sophocles), November 1882 Parry, C. Hubert H., The Birds (Aristophanes), November 1883
Stanford, Charles Villiers, The Eumenides (Aeschylus), November 1885
Stanford, Charles Villiers, Oedipus Tyrannus (Sophocles), November 1887
Wood, Charles, Ion, November 1890 Wood, Charles, Iphigenia in Tauris (Euripides), November 1894
Noble, T. Tertius, The Wasps, November 1897 Parry, C. Hubert H., Agamemnon, November 1900 Parry, C. Hubert H., The Birds (Aristophanes), November 1903
Stanford, Charles Villiers, The Eumenides, November 1906 Vaughan Williams, Ralph, The Wasps (Aristophanes), November 1909
The Cambridge Greek Play Committee oversees a triennial performance tradition that continues to this day. This is true also of the Oxford Classical Drama Society, which was founded in 1880, and mounted similar performances, including Euripides's Alcestis, with music by Charles H. Lloyd (May 1887). The published scores of these works include the original Greek text, and a performing translation in English.
(7.) Jozsef Herman's 1967 study, Le latin vulgaire, is the primary introductory study of Vulgar Latin.
(8.) Hoch, for instance, transcribes potens with [e], omnes with [a], and potentes with [e]-[a]. Cheri Montgomery and Matthew Hoch, Latin Lyric Diction Workbook (Nashville, TN: S.T.M. Publishers, 2016), 89. Unstressed <e> is transcribed as [e] in the examples in this article.
(9.) Jacques Le Clerc, De la musique harmonique speculative (Bibliotheque nationale, ms. fr. 19102); Methode facile et accomplice pour apprendre le chant de l'Eglise (ms. fr. 19103); Traite du chant ecclesiastique (ms. fr. 20002).
(10.) Camille Couillault, La Reforme de la prononciation latine (Paris: Bloud, 1910).
(11.) Rene Waltz, Manuel elementaire et pratique de la prononciation du latin (Paris: Fontemoing, 1913; author's translation).
(12.) Dom Gregory Sunol, Text Book of Gregorian Chant According to the Solesmes Method (Tournai: Society of St. John Evangelist/ Desclee, 1930), 196-197.
(13.) In particular, Harold Copeman, Singing in Latin (Oxford: by the author, 1992), 204-213, and 351, and Patricia M. Ranum, Methode de la prononciation latine dite 'Vulgare' ou 'A la frangaise' (Arles: Actes Sud, 1991).
We all lie there, my mother, my father, my uncle, my aunt, and I too am lying there. First we were sitting up, then one of us lay down, and then we all lay down, on our stomachs, or on our sides, or on our backs, and they have kept on talking. They are not talking much, and the talk is quiet, of nothing in particular, of nothing at all in particular, of nothing at all. The stars are wide and alive, they seem each like a smile of great sweetness, and they seem very near. All my people are larger bodies than mine, quiet, with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds. One is an artist, he is living at home. One is a musician, she is living at home. One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me. By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of night. May god bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away. After a little I am taken in and put to bed. Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her: and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home: but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am.
James Agee, "Knoxville: Summer of 1915"
Caption: Figure 1.
Caption: Figure 2.
TABLE 1. Arcadelt, Jacob At trepida et coeptis (Virgil) Integer vitae (Horace) Montium custos nemorumque (Horace) Poscimur, si quid vacui (Horace) Bizet, Georges Carmen saeculare (Horace)--not extant Flemming, F. F. Integer vitae (Horace) Glaser, David Catullus Dreams Kodaly, Zoltan Iustum et tenacem (Horace) Lasso, Orlando di Prophetiae sibyllarum Beatus ille (Horace) Linton, Michael Carmina Catulli Loewe, Carl Odes, Op. 57 (Horace) Carmen saeculare (Horace) Malipiero, Gian Francesco Ave Phoebe, dum queror (Virgil) La terra (Virgil) Universa universis (Carmina burana) Orff, Carl Catulli carmina Prometheus De temporum fine comoedia (Greek, German, Latin) Philidor, Andre Francois Carmen seaculare--oratorio (Horace) Rore, Cipriano de Donecgratas eram tibi (Horace) Senfl, Ludwig Non usitata (Horace) Mollis inertia (Horace) Petti, nihil me (Horace) Thompson, R. 5 Odes (Horace) Wilson, John (17c) Odes (Horace and others) Latin-language opera-- Zelenka, Jan Dismas 1723--Sub olea pacis etpalma virtutis conspicua orbi regia Bohemiae Corona, melodrama/opera Mozart, Wolfgang 1767--Apollo et Hyacinthus (Ovid) Stravinsky, Igor 1927--Oedipus Rex, opera-oratorio (Sophocles, in Danielou's Latin translation) Sculthorpe, Peter 1973--Rites of Passage (Latin and Australian aborignal) Birtwistle, Harrison 2000--The Last Supper (English and Latin) Glass, Philip 2009--Kepler (German and Latin) TABLE 2. <u> = [y] <u> = [c] in <-um> <qu-> + e,i = [kp] <ae>, <oe> = [e] <au> = [o] <ei> = [e:j] <eu> = [o] <ui> = [hi] <c>, <sc> = [s], except before consonant, or <a>, <o>, <u> <g> = , except before consonant, or <a>, <o>, <u> <ti> + vowel = [s], except in <-sti->, <-xti->, <-tti-> <j> =  <m>, <n> = [m], [n], but also nasalizes previous vowel (except <-mm->, <-nn->) <z> = [z] <h> = silent, all environments TABLE 3. Letter(s) Model Words Roman (Ecclesiastical) Vowels a Sabaoth, Amen [a] e ecce [e] * i filius [i] [j] o Domine, quoniam [c] u unum, mundi, sunt [u] quoniam, sanguis, [w], after 'ng', qui 'q' + vowel y (=i) hymnus, Kyrie [i] Consonants b bonae [b], but no aspiration bs, bt urbs, obtineo [b] c, cc + a,o,u benedicamus, dictum, [k] or cons. peccata [kk] c, cc + e, ae, crucifixus, coeli [tf] oe, i,y ecce [ttf] c, between 'ex' and excelsis [kf] e, ae, oe, i, y c, final hoc [k] ch Christus [k] d domine [d], dental, no aspiration f factus [f] g + a, o, u plagas [g] g + e, ae, oe, i, y genitum, agimus, [dz] regina gn agnus, Magnificat [n] h hoc, hosanna, silent Abraham mihi, nihil [k], intervocalic k kalendae [k], no aspiration 1 laudamus, ilia , dental m morte [m] n nostra [n] nc, ng sancto, sanguis [n] p pater [p], no aspiration ph prophetas, phalanx [f] qu quoniam, qui [kw] r gloria, salutare [r] semper [r] terra, regina, sterna, nostram [r] s sanctus, sedes [s], initial and final speravit, stellam miserere, hosanna [s], intervocalic (slightly softened) omnipotens, qusrens [z], final, after voiced consonant transivit, baptisma [s], elsewhere sc + e, ae, oe, i, y descendit, suscipe [f] sc + a, o, u scuto [sk] sch paschale [sk] t tantum [t], dental, no aspiration th Sabaoth, theatrum [t], dental, no aspiration ti gratia, [tsi], preceding a deprecationem, vowel, Pontio, tertia except after 's', 't', 'x' modestia, attius, [ti], after 's', mixtio 't', 'x', and preceding a vowel converti, patier, [ti], some verb vertier forms ti majestatis, tibi [ti] V verum, virgine, [v] venit x, in initial 'ex' exalto [gs], before vowel excuso [ksk], before 'c' + a, o, u excelsis [kj], before 'c' + e, ae, oe, i, y x, before 'h' exhibeo [gs] x, before 's' exsules [gs], when preceding a vowel exspiro [ks], when preceding a consonant x, elsewhere dextro, pax [ks], medial and final z Lazaro [dz] -- et ilia apparuerunt liaise omnia Vowel digraphs Pure vowels (ligatures): se saecula, sternae, [E] bonae oe coeli, hoedis, [E] moerebat Diphthongs: au laudamus, exaudi [au] ay Raymundus [ai] eu (initial) euge, Eusebii [eu] (see also 2 syllables) Glides: ia (=ja) alleluia [ja] je, ju Jesu, Judex [j] ua, uae, ui, uo tanquam, qusrens, [w] (after ng or q) sanguis, quoniam, huic Two syllables: aa Aaron [clcl] ae Israel, Michael, aer [a.e] ai laicus, ait [a.i] ea beata [e.a] ei Dei, eleison [e.i] eo Deo [e.o] eu (non-initial) Deus, meus [e.u] ia gloria, memoria [i.a] ie Kyrie [i-e] ii filii [i.i] io regio, deprecationem [i.o] oe poema [o.e] ou prout, coutuntur [o.u] ua perpetua [u.a] ue puella [u.e] uo tuo [u.o] Letter(s) Italianate Germanic Latin (N. Amer.) Vowels a [a] [a] e [e] or [e]--follow [e], when closed rules of the and stressed in Italian language German (i.e., open syllable) In North America/ [e], elsewhere Britain: [e] usually [e] in 'efi, 'esfi, 'ex', 'er' i [i] tends to [i] in unaccented [j] syllables o [c] [o], accented, and/ or open syllable (suo) [c], elsewhere u [u] [u], when open in German (ie. closed syllable), or in unaccented syllables [u], elsewhere [w] [v] or [f] after 'ng', 'q' + vowel y (=i) [i] [y] Consonants In Italian Latin, the double consonant tends to be lengthened, as in Italian. ** b [b], but [p] when final: ab, ob bs, bt [ps], [pt] c, cc + a,o,u or cons. c, cc + e, ae, [ts] oe, i,y [kts], before 'e', 'i' c, between 'ex' and [ksts]--occasionally e, ae, oe, i, y c, final ch [k], Christus [c], after 'e', 'i', or consonants (Michael, sepulchrum) [c], initial (Cherubim) [x], after 'a' (Rachel) d [d], but [t] final (illud) f g + a, o, u g + e, ae, oe, i, y [g] gn [gn]--but not [gnj] [nn] before late 19th c. h [h] [c] until late 18th c., then [h] k 1 m n nc, ng p ph qu [kv] or [kf] r s [z], initial before vowel (N. Germany only) [sp], [st]-- occasionally [fp], [ft] [z], intervocalic [z] [s], final [s] [s], medial before/ after a voiced consonant sc + e, ae, oe, i, y [sts]--occasionally [ss] sc + a, o, u sch [f] t th ti [ti] ti V x, in initial 'ex' [kz] [kstz] or [ktz] x, before 'h' [kz] x, before 's' [kz] x, elsewhere z [ts] -- liaise [?], glottal stop Vowel digraphs Pure vowels (ligatures): se [e] or [e] oe  Diphthongs: au [au] ay eu (initial) [cy] Glides: ia (=ja) (see also 2 syllables) je, ju ua, uae, ui, uo [v] (after ng or q) Two syllables: aa ae ai [a.i] ea [e.a] or [e.a] ei [e.i] or [e.i] eo [e.o] or [e.o] eu (non-initial) [e.u] or [e.u] ia ie ii io oe [o.e] or [o.e] ou ua ue uo [u.o] or [u.o] Letter(s) Classical Vowels a [a(:)] e [e:] [e] i [1:]  o [0:]  u [u:] [u] y (=i) [i(:)] Consonants b bs, bt [ps], [pt] c, cc + a,o,u or cons. c, cc + e, ae, [k] oe, i,y [kk] c, between 'ex' and [ks] e, ae, oe, i, y c, final ch d f g + a, o, u g + e, ae, oe, i, y [g] gn [nn] h k 1 m n nc, ng p ph [P] qu r s [s] sc + e, ae, oe, i, y sc + a, o, u sch t th ti ti V [w] x, in initial 'ex' [ks] x, before 'h' [ks] x, before 's' [ks] x, elsewhere z [z] -- Vowel digraphs Pure vowels (ligatures): se [ai]--not [el] oe [c1] Diphthongs: au ay eu (initial) Glides: ia (=ja) je, ju ua, uae, ui, uo (after ng or q) Two syllables: aa ae ai ea ei eo eu (non-initial) ia ie ii io oe ou ua ue uo * Most sources claim only one quality for Latin <e>, that of [e], regardless of length. Collins however claims that "short e, i, o, and u differ from their long forms in quality of sound as well as in quantity. But when ecclesiastical Latin is sung, the short vowels, when in open positions, tend to take on the same quality as the long vowels ... Close short vowels, however, tend in song to retain their own quality. Compare short e in terra and in Deo when sung: terra, but day-oh'." John F. Collins, A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press), 2. ** In the Italianate, Germanic, and Classical columns, a blank indicates the sound is identical to Roman Latin. TABLE 4. Fulget amica dies Roman: ful.dzet a.mi.ka di.es Italianate: ful.dzet a.mi.ka di.es German: ful get a.mi.ka di.es exortus est justis in Roman: eg.zar.tus est jus.tis in Italianate: eg.zar.tus est jus.tis in German: ek.sor.tus est jus.tis in Undique obscura regnabat Roman: un.di.kwe Db.sku.ra re.na.bat Italianate: un.di.kwe Db.sku.ra re.pa.bat German: un.di.kve Dp.sku.ra re.gna.bat et jucundi aurorae fortunatae, Roman: et ju.kun.di au.rc.re fcr.tu.na.te, Italianate: et ju.kun.di au.rc.re for.tu.na.te, German: et ju.kun.di ao.rc.re for.tu.na.te, jam fugere et nubila et procellae; Roman: jam fu.dze.re et nu.bi.la et prc.tfel.le Italianate: jam fu.dze.re et nu.bi.la et pro.tfel.le German: jam fu.ge.re et nu.bi.la et pr3.tse.le exspectata quies. Roman: ek.spek.ta.ta kwi.es Italianate: ek.spek.ta.ta kwi.es German: (?)ek.spek.ta.ta kvi.es nox, surgite tandem laeti qui Roman: ncks, sur.dji.te tan.dem le.ti kwi Italianate: ncks, sur.dji.te tan.dem le.ti kwi German: ncks, zur.gi.te tan.dem le.ti kvi frondes dextera plena et lilia Roman: frcn.des dek.ste.ra ple.na et li.li.a Italianate: frcn.des dek.ste.ra ple.na et li.li.a German: frcn.des dek.ste.ra ple.na et li.lja Roman: Italianate: German: Roman: Italianate: German: timuistis adhuc, Roman: ti.mu.is.tis ad.uk Italianate: ti.mu.is.tis ad.uk German: ti.mu.is.tis ad.huk date. Roman: da.te Italianate: da.te German: da.te TABLE 5. Crucifixus etiam pro Roman: kru.tfi.fi.ksus ie.tsi.ami pro Italianate: kru.tfi.fik.sus ie.tsi.am pro German: ikru.tsi.'fik.sus ?e:tsi.am pro: French: kry.si.fi.ksy se.si.am pro Classical: kru:ki.fi:k.su ise.ti.am pro: Sub Pontio Pilato Roman: sub ipon.tsi.o pi.ila.to Italianate: sub lpon.tsi.o pi.ila:to German: sub ipon.ti.o pi.ila:to French: syp po.si.o pi.la:tc Classical: sup ipon.ti.o: pi: ila: to: Et resurrexit tertia Roman: et re.sur.ire.ksit iter.tsi.a Italianate: et re.sur.irek.sit iter.tsi.a German: et re.sur.irek.sit iter.ti.a French: et re.zy.re.gzit ter.si.a Classical: et re.sur.ire:k.sit iter.ti.a: Et ascendit in Roman: et ai.Jen.dit in Italianate: et ai.Jen.dit in German: et ?as.tsen.dit ?in French: e ta.sen.di tin Classical: e tas.iken.di ti3 Et iterum venturus Roman: et ii.te.rum ven.itu.rus Italianate: et ii:te.rum ven.itu:rus German: et ?i:te.rum ven.itu:rus French: e ti:te.rc ven.ty:ry Classical: e iti.te.rum uen.itu:ru judicare vivos et Roman: ju.di.ika.re ivi.vcs et Italianate: ju.di.ika:re ivi:vos et German: ju.di.ika:re ivi.vos ?et French: zy.di.ka:re vi.vc set Classical: ju:di.ika:re iui:uo: set Cujus regni non Roman: iku.jus ire.ni ncn Italianate: iku:jus ire non German: ikui.jus ire:gni ncn French: ky.zys reini no Classical: ikui.ius ire:g.ni: no: nobis: Roman: ino.bis Italianate: ino:bis German: ino:bis French: nc.bis Classical: ino:bi:(s) passus, et sepultus Roman: ipas.sus et se.ipul.tus Italianate: ipas.sus et se.ipul.tus German: ipa.sus ?et ze.ipul.tus French: pa.sy set se.pyl.ty Classical: ipas.su(s) et se.ipul.tu die, secundum Scripturas. Roman: idi.e se.ikun.dum skri.iptu.ras Italianate: idi.e se.ikun.dum skrip.itu:ras German: idi:e ze.kun.dum skrip.itu:ras French: di:e se.kre.dre skrip.ty:ra(s) Classical: idi.e: se.ikun.dun skri:p.itu:ra:(s) caelum: Sedet ad Roman: itje.lum ise.det ad Italianate: itje:lum ise:det ad German: itsu.lum ize:det ?ad French: se:lc se:de tad Classical: ikae.lu(m) ise.de tad est cum Gloria, Roman: est kum iglo.ri.a Italianate: est kum iglo:ri.a German: ?est kum iglo:ri.a French: sest kom glc.ri.a Classical: sest kuD iglo:ri.a: mortuos Roman: imor.tu.cs Italianate: imor.tu.os German: imor.tu.os French: mor.ty.os Classical: imor.tu.o:(s) erit finis. Roman: ie.rit ifi.nis Italianate: ie:rit ifi:nis German: ?'e.rit ifi:nis French: ne.rit fi:nis Classical: ine.rit ifi: ni(s) Roman: Italianate: German: French: Classical: est. Roman: est Italianate: est German: ?est French: sest Classical: sest Roman: Italianate: German: French: Classical: dexteram Patris. Roman: ideks.te.ram ipa.tris Italianate: idek.ste.ram ipa:tris German: idek.ste.ram ipa:tris French: dek.ste.ra pa.tris Classical: ideks.te.ram ipa.tris Roman: Italianate: German: French: Classical: Roman: Italianate: German: French: Classical: Roman: Italianate: German: French: Classical:
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|Title Annotation:||LANGUAGE AND DICTION|
|Publication:||Journal of Singing|
|Date:||May 1, 2016|
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