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Thread: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"

  1. #1
    Senior Member soundboarddude's Avatar
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    Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    I've heard it (and sung it) different ways in professional choirs and recordings.

    </p>

  2. #2

    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    Ex-sell-sees is the less popular, but more correct and more classical version.</P>


    Sees should actually sound more like cease.</P>

  3. #3
    Moderator soubasse32's Avatar
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    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    The correct answer is... none of the above. []</P>


    It also depends on ifthe composition usesecclesiastical Latin, German Latin, etc. It is also important to note that sung Latin is different from spoken Latin.</P>


    Forvocal works I use ek-chel-cease;for German Latin I use ek-cell-cease. [8-|]</P>

  4. #4
    Member nullogik's Avatar
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    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    What a great topic, this always comes up at choir practice. </p>

    No one seems to know, and each has their own differing view on how it should be pronounced so we just settle on "eks-chell-sis" for uniformity.
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    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    "Egg-shell-cease" is what we were taught to say in college choir, and that's what I've gone by as a choir director. But I suppose there haven't been any genuine native Latin speakers for 1500 years, so who knows?</P>


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  6. #6

    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"

    Sir Soubasse is most correct from what I've heard and studied. Ann Jones and Robert Shaw used this pronunciation for their choral groups. The "egg" analogy was used for a time, but is now considered less professional and correct.

  7. #7

    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    Indeed; SB32 has done it again.</P>


    I do prefer his ek-cell-ceaseto hisek-chel-cease.</P>

  8. #8
    Moderator soubasse32's Avatar
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    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    Yes,the most recent thinking on the topicreveals thatthe "egg" has gone rotten. []</P>


    Badtoo, is the old egg'sshell since chel (or cel) is more correctly used.</P>


    I use ek instead of ex because it is much less fussy for singers and it communicates the proper pronunciation just as effectively.</P>

  9. #9

    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    I voted for "egg-shell-sees (cease)" because that is the way my choral directors here want it pronounced. My personal favorite is "eks-chel-cease" for sung Latin. And according to my Latin I teacher (in 1951), Mrs. Bennett, it would have been "eks-kel-cease" in spoken Latin. (But we also said "Keye-sahr" for "Caesar" and "Waynee, Weedee, Weekee" for what "Keye-sahr" said. We also pronounced all the initial "H" letters, based on the idea that Latin was perfectly phonetic and there were no silent letters. Logic also indicates that "H"s would be pronounced whereever they occurred (not as part of a digraph) because it's a lot easier to say an "h" than it is to utter a glottal stop between adjacent vowels, and people are basically lazy.</P>


    We here in Texas are saddled with the (fairly) recent interpretations by Lloyd Pfautsch, with whom I disagree constantly. His pronouncements are contrary to all that I had been taught in the 40 years before I came to Texas. What makes him an expert? Did he find some old Romans living somewhere to ask? I've listened to many recordings of choirs in Europe singing Latin and they have been singing it their way for hundreds of years--why are they suddenly wrong?</P>


    (Rant off)</P>


    David</P>

  10. #10

    Re: Correct Latin Pronunciation of "Excelsis"



    And according to my Latin I teacher (in 1951),Mrs. Bennett, it would have been "eks-kel-cease" in spoken Latin.</P>


    Mrs. Bennett is/was both well-informed and wise.</P>

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