Pronunciation

Jan 17, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio/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 Mozart, 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.