2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
65 members (alans, Andrew E., anotherscott, Alan F, Alex Hutor, brdwyguy, Bill Bremmer RPT, 11 invisible), 1,280 guests, and 519 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
#3158273 09/21/21 07:45 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 591
C
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 591
I'm watching some videos of the English version of France 24 - it's interesting how some English-speaking correspondents say Macron as in 'bacon', some as in 'a grown', while the anchor would effortlessly switch code from English to of course the French pronunciation, makʁɔ̃ (with throat 'r' grin ).

On the classical radio station also, I always get tickled when the announcer would pronounce Richard Wagner as in 'rick-hard', or some Italian composer's name in Italian accent. It's correct of course, but the quest to be authentic-sounding seems forced and instead becomes smile-inducing.

On the other hand, with Chopin they still always pronounce it as 'show-pan', whereas if you want to be consistent actually the Polish pronunciation is like 'open'.

What do you think? Should musicians care about pronunciation?

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,267
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,267
I'm a bit lucky that we use the Cyrillic alphabet which at least in Bulgarian (we invented that alphabet BTW) is phonetically fixed, or whatever the term is, i.e. every letter is pronounced in a particular way, so once you know how to pronounce letters, you know how to read in Bulgarian. I guess the same applies to the Russian too with a few exceptions (I think they read the О both as О or А). So, we just pronounce composers the way they have been transliterated to Bulgarian and they are as close as possible to the original, of course with the closest Bulgarian consonant/vowel used instead. Haven't heard someone twisting their tongue to sound authentic and fancy because he/she will certainly get ridiculed 🤣

Last edited by CyberGene; 09/21/21 08:01 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 8,891
Silver Subscriber
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 8,891
If you play the composer’s music well, but do not pronounce his name well, I don’t think any composer, still living or resurrected, would complain.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,995
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,995
If they’re alive or recently passed, definitely do your best to pronounce their name correctly. It’s respectful. Though, Chopin is so long dead, I don’t think it’s quite as big a deal as long as it’s close enough.

Joined: May 2018
Posts: 1,103
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 1,103
Pronouncing correctly is preferable, but let's face it, it requires substantial knowledge about foreign languages, and most people are not likely to attain that any time soon. And we still know what is meant when people speak (most of the time).

And it is quite funny to think about these differences in pronunciation. Take Bach, for example. In German his name ends in a sound which has no equivalent in ordinary English (as far as I am aware. Maybe the sound word "Blech!" comes quite close). I've heard his name spoken in English with such a long vowel sound, as to indicate some sort of religious experience for the speaker in speaking it. In German, the vowel is very short.

In Danish we invariably say "Bak" - or maybe I should write "Bark" to stress the deep "a" sound (so not like the word "back"), but the "r" is a very faint one.


Roland FP-30, Roland E-28
Synthogy Ivory II Studio Grands, Production Voices Estate Grand, Garritan CFX Lite, Pianoteq 7.0 (Blüthner, Bechstein DG, Grotrian, Steinway D, K2)
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 11,482
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 11,482
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
If they’re alive or recently passed, definitely do your best to pronounce their name correctly. It’s respectful. Though, Chopin is so long dead, I don’t think it’s quite as big a deal as long as it’s close enough.
True. but don't ever call him "Choppin." smile


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,935
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,935
Since we are un-bashing the French, just listen to how they pronounce the greatest composer who ever lived and who will ever live - Mozart.

Everyone there - and I mean everyone who is French, including musicians (unless they studied in Austria, Germany or UK) says "Moor-zaaaaaaaaaar".

We Anglo-Saxons can be proud that we at least make a valiant effort to pronounce him as him. whistle


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 360
T
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 360
I'm from a multilingual family and we strive to always pronounce names as close to the original language as possible. While I speak four languages I can read and write in only three of them. My mother spoke seven languages and could read and write in four of them. She was born and raised in Shanghai and spoke three dialects of Chinese. I can only order food in Chinese, enough that waiters think I can speak it fluently.


Recorder Player/Singer
Back to playing piano
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 109
J
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 109
There are conventional pronunciations of the composers in English (and other languages: Bach in Japanese is "bahha" and Mozart is motsaɾuto — the phonemic constraints in Japanese make this situation quite a bit more extreme/obvious). I think you have a sort of choice: going with the conventional pronunciation or going with a more authentic pronunciation, though that can raise some questions — e.g., Liszt in French, German, or Hungarian? if the latter, should you go as far as to call him Ferenc Liszt? (in English, probably not, people will think you're talking about someone else). If it's obvious you're not fluent in the language, but you go for the authentic pronunciation, you may come off as pretentious and you may confuse people — but if you know what you're talking about, at least you can explain/justify it to some extent.

If you do neither (e.g., "chop in" for Chopin) you'll sound ignorant and if you go for authentic and miss, you'll sound like an ass, and in both cases you are almost begging to be corrected. I would definitely recommend avoiding those approaches.

One thing I find a bit funny in the UK is the occasional tendency to be "slightly" more authentic — e.g., pronouncing the consonants correctly but using British vowels. I find it more charming than anything, though. And English is full of these things, I suppose it's how we wound up with such a bizarre pronunciation for words like lingerie.

In most cases, you'll run into the fewest difficulties if you just settle on a conventional pronunciation in the language you're using (or the one you're native in, if it's different) and stick with that.

There's a similar question when people in English use names like München and Milano or pronounce Paris the French way, etc. It gets rather complicated, since English has some special responsibilities as the international language — we call Köln Cologne, and that's fine, but we should not call Myanmar Burma, and it gets even more mixed up wrt Chennai/Madras, Mumbai/Bombay, Calcutta/Kolkata, etc.

Last edited by Jun-Dai; 09/21/21 11:29 AM.
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,935
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,935
Originally Posted by Jun-Dai
In most cases, you'll run into the fewest difficulties if you just settle on a conventional pronunciation in the language you're using (or the one you're native in, if it's different) and stick with that.
Using native languages for countries etc is fine if you're talking to someone who is of the same generation and conversant in the same language as yourself.

You come unstuck if you don't know the English pronunciation/'version' of countries and you're talking to anyone else. I know that because in my native language, our names for all other countries around the world bear absolutely no resemblance to the names used either by English speakers or the native people of those countries - such that most educated people in my home country would simply use the English names even when chatting to their peers in their native language. Solves lots of problems that way - including the fact that hardly anyone knows the native names for more obscure countries (like Wales smirk ).

Incidentally, everyone in Austria knows that non-Austro-Germans don't use "Wien" for Wien (if you get my drift), and Germans know non-Austro-Germans don't say "München" or "Köln". Just as Londoners don't know that the French call London "Londres"........

BTW, I was in Vietnam a few years ago, and everyone in Saigon says Saigon, not "Ho Chi Minh City"......

(I also visited Burma/Myanmar a few years ago, but I'll leave politics alone for now whistle.)


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
BRILLIANT AND DELIGHTFUL POST1

But..... grin

Originally Posted by cygnusdei
.....On the other hand, with Chopin they still always pronounce it as 'show-pan', whereas if you want to be consistent actually the Polish pronunciation is like 'open'.

Actually not so!

It might be, sort of (but still not really) if it were spelled in Polish the way it is in French (and the usual way).
But it isn't, or wasn't.

The Polish spelling is Szopen, or perhaps (more likely?) Szopeń with the other kind of Polish n.
How I know this: (or think I do) ha

My parents, who were Polish, always pronounced it this way, and pointed out the Polish spelling.
But never mind my parents grin ....
it's easily seen (online, for example) that the Polish spelling is this -- mostly given with the common "n" at the end although my parents pronounced it as though it's ń.

The pronunciation with the common n would be:
shaw-PEN (the "aw" being short)
......or if we're thinking "ń," then the last letter is sort of the guttural thing.

But no matter.
It's a wonderful post.

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
.....And also, I'm remembering, that's how they say it in Poland now. When I was at the Chopin amateur competition (twice), they said it that way.

(mostly with a common "n")

Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 270
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by cygnusdei
On the other hand, with Chopin they still always pronounce it as 'show-pan', whereas if you want to be consistent actually the Polish pronunciation is like 'open'.

What do you think? Should musicians care about pronunciation?

As a frenchman who speaks five languages rather well, but not Polish, I will always pronounce "Chopin" the french way for two reasons. First it is a french family name, and Chopin's father was a frenchman who had established himself in Poland. Second, Chopin spent all his adult life in Paris and of course spoke perfect French, not only because he polished it in Paris, but because it was his paternal language. So we can be sure that he called himself "Frédérique Chopin" pronounced as Parisians do, among his friends.

Having said that, I always applaud people who try to adopt the authentic pronounciation of any patronyme or toponyme when they speak with natives of another country. On the other hand, I regard it as a mark of distinction when a first name or a place name has evolved differently in different languages. It shows how important that name or that place was in another land. It also shows respect for history, as is the case for Roman Colonia, modern Köln, and Cologne in English or French.

My favourite case is in Greek, where we French are simply called Galli (Γαλλη), that is Gauls, and the country Gallia. They have no idea what France (from the name of a German tribe) could be. It harks back to antiquity, and I love it.


Life is a smorgasbord, and I want to taste everything.
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,433
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,433
Originally Posted by Mark_C
It might be, sort of (but still not really) if it were spelled in Polish the way it is in French (and the usual way).
But it isn't, or wasn't.

The Polish spelling is Szopen, or perhaps (more likely?) Szopeń with the other kind of Polish n.
How I know this: (or think I do) ha

My parents, who were Polish, always pronounced it this way, and pointed out the Polish spelling.
But never mind my parents grin ....
it's easily seen (online, for example) that the Polish spelling is this -- mostly given with the common "n" at the end although my parents pronounced it as though it's ń.

The pronunciation with the common n would be:
shaw-PEN (the "aw" being short)
......or if we're thinking "ń," then the last letter is sort of the guttural thing.
Native Polish speaker here.

Actually, no, the conventional way to write Chopin's name in Poland is the usual one. We know his name is French and we try to approximate the pronunciation but since Polish doesn't have the French "in" sound we just say "en" as in the English "pen".

The ń is usually pronounced like the the Spanish ñ. Your parent's pronunciation was probably dialectal.

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
Originally Posted by Vikendios
As a frenchman who speaks five languages rather well, but not Polish, I will always pronounce "Chopin" the french way for two reasons. First it is a french family name, and Chopin's father was a frenchman who had established himself in Poland. Second, Chopin spent all his adult life in Paris and of course spoke perfect French, not only because he polished it in Paris, but because it was his paternal language. So we can be sure that he called himself "Frédérique Chopin" pronounced as Parisians do, among his friends.

That's more than fine, no matter how we want to see it, because the reason the spelling became "Chopin" was (presumably) because Fred chose a spelling that best approximated the Polish pronunciation.

.....or, alternatively but amounting to the same thing......
Since his father was French, maybe the way the Polish spelling (Szopen) came about was that it was the Polish spelling that best approximated the French pronunciation.

Whichever, it was all about making the pronunciations as close as possible.

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,935
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,935
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Native Polish speaker here.

Actually, no, the conventional way to write Chopin's name in Poland is the usual one. We know his name is French........
I'm curious as to how Polish people prefer to write his first name.

Until the Polish Chopin Institute started issuing recordings (mostly from the Chopin Competition) with the name Fryderyk Chopin, I'd guess that most people outside Poland used the French version Frédéric.

But now, it seems most people prefer Fryderyk.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
[Native Polish speaker here.

Actually, no, the conventional way to write Chopin's name in Poland is the usual one.

I know!
(That's why I said "is or was.")

I was talking about what the name was in Polish in Chopin's time, which I'd say is "really" the Polish way as opposed to future adaptations.

Quote
The ń is usually pronounced like the the Spanish ñ. Your parent's pronunciation was probably dialectal.

You're right! (of course) -- and thanks for this
And, on second thought, that's how my parents said it too -- actually not exactly like that but pretty close, much closer than to what I said.
My mind's ear was just misremembering

Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,433
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,433
The spelling Szopin might be an archaic spelling from a time when people translated proper names. For instance, George Washington is called Jerzy (pronounced appoximately "yeah-zhee") in Poland. grin

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 23,599
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
The spelling Szopin might be an archaic spelling from a time when people translated proper names. For instance, George Washington is called Jerzy (pronounced appoximately "yeah-zhee") in Poland. grin

A couple of things:

-- It was Szopen, with an e.

-- Are you sure that's the best way to show the pronunciation of Jerzy?
For sure it's better than what most Americans would say ha ....but as far as I've known, including from recent acquaintance with a Polish person with that name (the translator at the Chopin competition), the last vowel is a shorter sound, like the i in pin.

Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,433
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,433
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Native Polish speaker here.

Actually, no, the conventional way to write Chopin's name in Poland is the usual one. We know his name is French........
I'm curious as to how Polish people prefer to write his first name.

Until the Polish Chopin Institute started issuing recordings (mostly from the Chopin Competition) with the name Fryderyk Chopin, I'd guess that most people outside Poland used the French version Frédéric.

But now, it seems most people prefer Fryderyk.
Yes, in Polish we write Frederyk. It's a curiously inconsistent mix and I personally prefer Frédéric when writing in any other language.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
Our Fall 2021 Free Newsletter is Out , see it here!
---------------------
Selling my Hammond & Leslie!
---------------------
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Beethoven German Dance for Geinners
by scientistplayspian - 10/19/21 09:10 PM
Liszt Un Sospiro fingering, score
by Jim P - 10/19/21 07:54 PM
Corrosion on strings
by Skeetcando - 10/19/21 07:10 PM
Chopin Competition
by pablobear - 10/19/21 04:04 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics209,662
Posts3,140,763
Members103,060
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5