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Ernani Aguilar, Salmo 150

Many thanks to those who responded. There seems to be some variance of
opinion (even within Brazil).

Original Query:

I am singing in a choir (composed of many choral directors) that is
performing Ernani Aguilar's "Salmo 150". This is a group that really wants
to do it "right". We are running up against the latin "ti". We have also
been using the Schola Cantorum de Caracas recording by Alberto Grau as a

I have two questions. How would you pronounce the "ti" in the following
words (ti or tsi) and would you choose to pronounce according to Brazilian
Latin? (if there is such a thing)






(the Grau recording uses ["joo" bi la tsi o nis] instead of
["yoo" bi la tsi o nis]

Dr. Jonathan Veenker
Music Department Chair
Bethel College off-651-638-6385
3900 Bethel Drive fax-651-638-6001
St. Paul, MN 55112


Below is the Latin pronunciation guide according to Roman usage. In my
opinion, it really is the only legitimate way to pronounce Latin.

Latin Pronunciation guide

(NOTE: the following is taken from the Liber Usualis and will be the
basis for all Latin pronunciation in Exultate.)

Vowels and Dipthongs:

A pronounced as in the word Father, never as in the word can.
E pronounced as in the word red, met, get, never as in the word Ray.
I pronounced as ee in Feet, never as i in milk or tin.
O pronounced as in blow, never as aw in saw.
U pronounced as oo in moon, never as u in custom.
Y pronounced and treated as the Latin I.

As a general rule, when two vowels come together each keeps its own
sound and constitutes a separate syllable.

This applies to ou, ai and ei (dei = deh-ee)

AE and OE are pronounced as one sound like the letter E

AU, EU, AY ­ the two vowels form one syllable but both vowels must be
heard. (Lauda = La-uda)


C coming before e, ae, oe, I, y is pronounced like ch in church.
(caelum = che-loom)
CC before the same vowels is pronounced T-ch. (ecce = et-che)
SC before the same vowels is pronounced like Sh in Shed. (descendit de-shen-deet)
Otherewise C is always pronounced like the English K. (caritas kah-ree-tas)
CH is always like K. (cham = Kam)
G before e, ae, oe, I, y is soft as in generous. (magi = mah-jee)
Otherwise G is hard as in government. (Ego, vigor)
GN pronounced as NY. (Magnificat = Mah-nyee-fee-caht)
H is pronounced K in two words (nihil = nee-keel & mihi = mee-kee)
Otherwise H is always mute.
J is treated as Y (jam = yam, alleluia = a-leh-loo-ya)
R must be slightly rolled.
S is hard as in sea but is softened when between two vowels. (miserere)
TI before a vowel and following any letter except S & X is pronounced
Tsee (gratia = grah-tsee-ah)
Otherwise T is like the English T.
TH is always T as is Thomas.
X is pronounced ks.
XC before e, ae, oe, I, y = KSH (excelsis = ek-shel-sees)
Before other vowels XC is hard. (excussorum = eks-coos-so-room)
Y pronounced the same as I in Latin.
Z pronounced dz.
B, D, F, K, L, M, N, P, Q, V are pronounced as in English.

Thomas D. Rossin
651-707-0727 - Office
651-707-0974 - Home
651-303-5203 - Cell
651-707-0710 - Fax


If you would pronounce it the "Brazilian" way, the "ti" would sound like:
chee (in english), and the "tsi" would sound like "cheesee"

In Brazil, Choir conductors would teach the singers to pronounce it
correctly, just as it is in Latin. There is not really something like
"Brazilian Latin"

Felipe Silvestre/Perform America
Program Coordinator


Even though we speak Portuguese here in Brazil, Latin is indeed the "mother
language" of Portuguese. Well, except to the word "Jubilationis", the others
must be pronounced using "ti", not "tsi", very "dry" and not so hard. For
the word "Jubilationis" use "yoo" (not "joo") bi la si (not "ti", nor
"tsi")o nis. The letter "t" between vowels sounds like "ss".

Deuel Duarte
Choir Conductor and Church Music Minister


I did this a couple years ago. One of my students was Portugese and assured
me that the text is Portugese. (Which is the language used in Brazil) The
only thing you have to do that is "different" than what you might expect is
the "j" in "jubilationis" is just like in French. Pronouncing it that way
really makes the top of that right hand page ring out with an interesting
## Dean Ekberg ##
## Rochester, New York, USA ##


For anything composed after 1900 that seems to be Catholic, you can use the
pronunciation rules in the Liber Usualis. They are official church rules
that apply to all countries.

Peter Jefferey


I can tell you what is the common practice for singing these Latin words in
Brazil. Some ground rules are:

1) The Latin we use in Brazil is very similar to the common practice in
2) When the "Tsi" sound occurs, the T is almost silent and the S is a lot
more important.

All the words you asked are usually pronounced with a Ti sound except for:


Which would be pronounced as : Yoo - bi - la - Si - Onis
almost no T at all.



The rule generally is that the ti when followed by a consonant (tis, tim) is
pronounced with a hard t, whereas if the ti is followed by a vowel, as in
"jubilationis", it would be pronounced with "ts". This is the so-called
"Roman usage", ie., what is done in Italy. In Austria other rules apply,

Len Ratzlaff


For pronunciation of (Brazilian) Latin in choral singing, you could try
contacting Prof. Soares in Brazil: see his web page

Tom Richards

(NOTE: I was unable to access this site.)

I am a Brazilian conductor and when I performed this piece I adopted the
following pronunciation:

sanctis (ti)

virtutis (ti)

virtutibus (ti)

benesonantibus (ti)

Jubilationis ("yoo" bi la tsi o nis)

The guidelines that we use in Brazil for singing in Latin vary according to
the repertoire and country in which the piece was composed. However, in
Brazil we have different accents and many conductors usually sing "ti" with
an additional "noise", similar to that in the word GRATIA (gra "tchi" a).
But the rule is clear: accents should not interfere when you are singing in
a foreign language. Probably Mr. Grau's choir is saying "joo bi la ti o nis"
as an allusion to the Brazilian word jubilo (joo bi lo). But I don't think
this is a strong reason. As I said before, we do not have a standard
"Brazilian latin". If you have questions, please let me know. I will be
happy to help you.


Vladimir Silva
DMA Student - Choral Conducting
LSU - Baton Rouge - LA - USA


Hi! I'm not an expert in this matter but with the little internet research
I have made and my own experience this is my contribution:

* The "ti"... It must sound like it is written (i.e. "tee"). Examples:
sanctis (sáhnk-Tees), virtutibus (veer-too´-Tee-boos). When followed by a
vowel an "s" must be added to the pronunciation after the "t" like Italian
and German "z". Examples: gratia (gráh-TSee-ah), pretiosi
(preh-TSee-óh-see), pretium (préh-TSee-oom). [Classical Latin uses the same
pronunciation, i.e. ti (tee), for both cases].

* About the "j"... You may find it written in different sources as "i"
(what we call in Spanish latin "i" ["i" latina]) or as "j". The right
pronunciation must be an "i" (i.e. "ee" or English "y") [and probably the
writing of it]. We, the Spanish speakers, tend to pronounce it like a "y"
[English "j" -- pronounced "jeh" in Spanish] or Greek "i" ("i" griega --
pronounced "ee"), and this is common in some Spanish words, too: hielo
(yeh-loh: ice) mispronounced like yelo (jeh-loh) or hierba (yehr-bah:
grass or herb) mispronounced yerba (jehr-bah). I guess this unconscious
mispronunciation is because in Spanish there are very few words beginning
with syllable "hie" (yeh), so commonly pronouncing it ["i latina"] at the
beginning may sound odd for some people. Example of the different ways of
the "j": cujus or cuius; jubilationis or iubilationis, justitia or
iustitia, alleluja or alleluia.
Probably what you have heard in that recording is this mispronunciation.

About a Brazilian Latin, probably there was or is such a thing because in
Europe it had different ways of pronouncing it depending on the region or
country. In my humble opinion, I would use the Roman church (or Italian)
pronunciation used by most of the choirs which is the one I based my
contribution on.

Best regards,

Roger Perea
Panamá, Rep. de Pmá.

Dr. Jonathan Veenker
Music Department Chair
Bethel College off-651-638-6385
3900 Bethel Drive fax-651-638-6001
St. Paul, MN 55112