Latin II


Previously I askeda question about learning Latin. This is part two of the question where I specify what I would really like to have

I should specify what I need. I’m in the choir and at times we sing Latin chants and songs. I’m unsure of how to pronounce the lyrics. In a case like that, what should I have at the ready to assist me?

I basically want to look at a piece in Latin (music or otherwise) and know how to say it.

Thanks again,


Hi srfnolen-

Here’s what helped me with Latin pronunciation…I hope it helps you, too!!!

Ecclesiastical Pronunciation Guide to Latin

A as in father
E (when closed in by a consonant) as in met
E (at the end of a syllable) as in they
I as in machine
O as in note
OO as in boot
Y is the same as i
consonants before ae-e-oe-i-y:
C = ch as in chain
CC = tch as in catchy
SC = sh as in sheep
G - soft as in gentle
consonants in other cases:
C = k as in cot
CC = kk as in accord
SC = sk as in tabasco
G - hard as in go


Just do an internet search on eccliastical Latin or church latin pronunciation. Then print out a cheat sheet. Keep in mind, though, that there are some variations that are acceptable. For example, I was taught in the US to pronounce a g before a soft consonant like e as a "j:, so genitori would sound like jenitori but Germans and some others will pronounce it as a hard g.


I am francophone so Latin came fairly easily for me, but a few of pieces of extra advice:

  1. If you’re chanting the Propers and Ordinary, YouTube is your friend. Just about every piece has been recorded. Check out in particular the work of Giovanni Vannini, he chants many pieces solo and articulates clearly; just follow him with the score for the piece; use the search function to find what you need.

  2. Do pay attention to the Latin accentuation. The chant was written around the accents and if you don’t emphasize the accents or emphasize them at the wrong place, it will sound odd.

  3. If you can find a vernacular translation for the piece you’re chanting, do so; it should be fairly easy as they’re almost all Bible verses including the psalms (at least for the propers); most have the biblical references written in the upper right hand corner of the score. Understanding the verse will help you better interpret the chant and capture the mood (joyful, beautiful, sorrowful, supplication, anticipation, etc.)

closed #5

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