Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

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dunstan
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Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by dunstan »

Ex-chelsis, Eck-shelsis or Egg-shelsis?

And in verse 2, Eye-Oh or Eee-Oh?
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Southern Comfort
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Southern Comfort »

dunstan wrote:Ex-chelsis, Eck-shelsis or Egg-shelsis?

And in verse 2, Eye-Oh or Eee-Oh?


Eck-shel-seess or Egg-shel-seess - either will do. The first is better, the second easier for choir people to remember.

Eee-Oh! (Way to remember - think of American Yee-Haw! which means the same thing, in fact.)

alan29
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by alan29 »

Whereas I would go for exchelsees, and Eye-oh.
Alan

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VML
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by VML »

I'm with Alan on this one.

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Tsume Tsuyu
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Tsume Tsuyu »

And I've always sung it the way SC suggests: Eeh-oh in V2, and striving for 'egg', but usually ending up with 'eck'! :-)
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by quaeritor »

Think I can be a bit dogmatic on this one . . .

Excelsis would be properly pronounced (according to the "Roman" pronunciation usually accepted for church Latin) as "ex-chell-sees", but for a more pleasant singing sound it is usual to "smooth it off" to be "Eck-shell-sees". This is analogous to the way in which when two Ts occur together as in "put to death" the first would not be exploded, avoiding the effect of "putter to death" - the first T being in fact replaced by the "estuary" T (or glottal stop) a la Tony Blair.

As for Ee-o or Aye-o, I know that there is an explanation of the derivation of the expression, but I don't recall what it is - I'm sure someone on this forum will know it. For the pronunciation I would refer to the "Adeste Fideles" - "Cantet nunc "Io" chorus angelorum" which would undoubtedly be "Ee-o" - but then there is the whole question of how to pronounce Latin expressions subsumed into English. Can I really insist on "Ee-o" if I also insist on "Dee-ity" and not "Day-ity" in "Hail the incarnate deity"?

It's all too hard at this time of night - think I'll take an ice pack and retire to bed.

Southern Comfort
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by Southern Comfort »

quaeritor wrote:As for Ee-o or Aye-o, I know that there is an explanation of the derivation of the expression, but I don't recall what it is - I'm sure someone on this forum will know it. For the pronunciation I would refer to the "Adeste Fideles" - "Cantet nunc "Io" chorus angelorum" which would undoubtedly be "Ee-o" - but then there is the whole question of how to pronounce Latin expressions subsumed into English. Can I really insist on "Ee-o" if I also insist on "Dee-ity" and not "Day-ity" in "Hail the incarnate deity"?


As I said in my previous post, "io" is a Latin ejaculation meaning "Hurray!" or "Whoopee!" or even "Whacko!" (or Yee-Haw, of course). It's pronounced Ee-oh. "In dulci jubilo, now sing we all io" - I've never heard anyone pronounce it Eye-oh in that context, anymore than we would sing "In Dull-chi Djub-bill-oh" instead of "Een dool-chee yoo-bee-loh".

As far as quaeritor's second point is concerned, one difference between RCs and Anglicans is precisely that we pronounce the word "Day-ity" (presumably because we are more familiar with the Latin root) whereas our C of E friends pronounce it "Dee-ity". Likewise, they say "Tee Dee-um" and "Djoo-bill-ah-tay" whereas we say "Tay Day-um" and "Yoo-bee-lah-teh". Perhaps Aye-o, which is certainly more difficult than Ee-oh to sing at speed in Ding Dong comes from a similar Anglicization, like "Benny Dicey-Tea" instead of Beh-neh-dee-chee-tay.

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by quaeritor »

Southern Comfort wrote: one difference between RCs and Anglicans is precisely that we pronounce the word "Day-ity" (presumably because we are more familiar with the Latin root) whereas our C of E friends pronounce it "Dee-ity". Likewise, they say "Tee Dee-um" and "Djoo-bill-ah-tay" whereas we say "Tay Day-um" and "Yoo-bee-lah-teh". Perhaps Aye-o, which is certainly more difficult than Ee-oh to sing at speed in Ding Dong comes from a similar Anglicization, like "Benny Dicey-Tea" instead of Beh-neh-dee-chee-tay.


There is a slight difference there in that "deity" is an English word (albeit derived from Latin) and given only the pronunciation dee-ity in Chambers (and in the rather small school-level Oxford which is all I have to hand), - so "day-ity" is simply wrong - while "Te Deum" and "Jubilate" are Latin words being quoted - and proper nouns at that. (Chambers offers both options for Te Deum, but Jubilate doesn't appear at all.) There are other trickier ones - quasi (kwah zee? kwayz-eye?) is my favourite.

(Who said I was obsessive?)

alan29
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by alan29 »

Just to put another spin on it. The context is an English hymn, not a Latin one. So perhaps English pronunciation should be used. I know from my wife who learned her Latin at a very posh public school, that English Latin is a long way from Italian (or German or French) Latin.
Alan

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by dunstan »

OK, I think this has now been done to death.

I choose Eck-shell-sees and Eee-oh.

Thank you all for playing :D
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by HallamPhil »

Quite so. Whatever I tell the choir, my multi-cultural Sheffield city centre congregation will sing more loudly whatever they - eee ba gum, ecky thump, luv, katanga, mele kamakakaou - want!

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by HallamPhil »

Sorry for misleading you ...that last post should have read ..mele kalikamakakaou

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JW
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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by JW »

Sorry to prolong this agony, what about the A in "O and A and A and O" in the last verse of 'Unto Us is Born a Son'. Is it 'Ay' or 'Ah'? Possibly it depends whether you say Aymen or Ahmen at the end of a prayer - is there anything laid down on this?

And while I'm on a roll, I've always wondered whether to sing "For his mercies I endure" or "For his mercies eh endure" in the chorus of 'Let us with a Gladsome Mind'

Please enlighten me!
JW

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by HallamPhil »

I don't suppose that there is anything laid down other than what the pronunciation of those vowels in the Greek words Alpha and Omega actually is and therefore Ah and O (as in God). But unless you are planning on providing the congregation with a linguistics lesson prior to Night Mass I would probably leave it to their sensibilities. Clearly the pronunciation of latin across the world varies considerably so I would probably save my energies for ensuring that the music and texts we choose to place on the lips of those we serve speak clearly of the Incarnation rather than the weather in northern hemisphere or a baby Jesus who behaves unlike any other baby in Christendom (or any other -dom for that matter).

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Re: Ding Dong Merrily on high - need pronunciation help

Post by dunstan »

JW wrote:And while I'm on a roll, I've always wondered whether to sing "For his mercies I endure" or "For his mercies eh endure" in the chorus of 'Let us with a Gladsome Mind'

That one's definitely Ay (as in hay), not Eye. Makes a mess of the last verse of "Soul of My Saviour", mind.
It's not a generation gap, it's a taste gap.

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