Pronunciation

Nov 18, 2020

Credit Mary Noble Ours

Classical music lovers tend to worry about correct pronunciation, so here are a few refreshers that I hope will be helpful. 

In America, people who play the flute call themselves flutists, not flautists, and we who play the viola, which looks like vie-ola, are called violists.

Handel’s Messiah was written by Handel, not "Hondle", and though you can say Haendel if you’re feeling German, Handel himself changed it to Handel, so I’d stick with that. Mozart is "Motzart," not "Moe-zart," but before we get too snooty about it, we might remember that the French, for example, don’t say "Motzart," they say "Mo-zahr." And speaking of the French, do go ahead and pronounce the Z’s in Berlioz and Boulez, and don’t be fooled by the letters e-n-c: Francis Poulenc is "Pou-lank," not "Pou-lonk." Penderecki is "Penderetski," not "Pender-ecky," but otherwise I’m afraid when it comes to Polish and Czech you’re on your own.

This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.