If there are singers here, how do you sing some of the Latin stuff?

Iosue

New Member
It always comes to me when I have to decide what system of pronouncing Latin I am to use. It is logical to believe that most sacred works in Classical Music were written before the Vatican unified the Ecclesiastical Latin in the early 20th Century. There are pieces by Mozart, Fauré, Verdi et cetera. All the Latin pronunciations in the CD's are in Ecclesiastical Latin. But I am not sure if this is really an authentic way to perform these works. Any suggestions?
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
All the Latin pronunciations in the CD's are in Ecclesiastical Latin. But I am not sure if this is really an authentic way to perform these works. Any suggestions?
What style of pronunciation were you thinking of as an alternative? Since these are sacred works, as you say, could any other pronunciation system than the Ecclesiastical rightfully claim sway over the lyrics?
 

Iosue

New Member
What style of pronunciation were you thinking of as an alternative? Since these are sacred works, as you say, could any other pronunciation system than the Ecclesiastical rightfully claim sway over the lyrics?
I think we need German Latin for Mozart, or maybe French Latin for Fauré, but never the Italian Latin, right?
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Why not just use a standard Ecclesiastical pronunciation for all of them, either the "northern European" type (Germany, France, central Europe) or for works by Italians, the "Florentine", Italian type. For Mozart, Bach, Faure, I'd use the former; for Verdi and other Italians, the Italian pronunciation.
 

Iosue

New Member
I am not sure about the regioning 200 to 300 years ago. Yes, we could use a standard. But some like me prefer it as authentic as possible.
 
It is likely to vary ſomewhat according to the prieſt, or the choirmaster, or the individual cantor, depending on where, and whence, and how well they learnt their Latin. The variations, however, are not going to be all that noticeable.
 

Iosue

New Member
Yes. Perfect authenticism may not be possible. But to follow the Italian pronunciation blindly isn't something I prefer. I believe that a few hundred years ago, there were no standard in Latin, just different people from different places speaking differently. I am looking for something to refer to, and produce a certain estimation.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Recently I realized that hexameter can very easily be made to match a simple rhythm of four beats (that is, 4/4), spread over two musical measures (so 8 musical beats in total), as long as you make the pause of the caesura. I do this by making the feet before the caesura fit the musical rhythm perfectly (while completely ignoring natural Latin stress), while the right side of the caesura may or may not match the music, as long as the stressed ictus syllable of the 6th hexameter foot falls on the 7th musical beat.

I made this little bad recording to celebrate the Christmas that eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate today (January 7th, yes).

https://vocaroo.com/11kTT4grf9Ii

The poem is Prudentius' Dittochaeon, lines 101-112 (caesurae indicated with double bars, ||):

Sancta Bethlem caput est orbis, || quae prōtulit Hīsum,
Orbis prīncipium, || caput ipsum prīncipiōrum.
Urbs hominem Chrīstum genuit, || quī Chrīstus agēbat
Ante deus quam sōl fieret, || quam lūcifer esset.

Hīc pretiōsa magī || sub virginis ūbere Chrīstō
Dōna ferunt puerō || myrraeque et tūris et aurī;
Mīrātur genetrīx || tot castī ventris honōrēs
Sēque deum genuisse‿hominem || rēgem quoque summum.

Pervigilēs pāstōrum‿oculōs || vīs lūminis implet
Angelicī nātum celebrāns || ex virgine Chrīstum.
Inveniunt tectum pannīs, || praesaepe jacentī
Cūna‿erat, exultant alacrēs, || et nūmen adōrant.

In this recording, "rēgem quoque summum" is the only part on the right of a caesura that ignores the musical beat (except for the stress on "summum"), though.
 
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