HYMN QUESTION • Two-syllable words - how to hyphenate them and write them in Finale?
  • Sometimes a hymn contains a single-syllable word that must be sung as 2 syllables.

    For example: CHOIRS

    choi-rs

    Sometimes a hymn has a double-syllable word that must be sung as 3 syllables.

    For example: INSPIRES

    in-spi-res

    When somebody is placing these in a music program underneath the notes (as we do in America) how can this be done?
  • Can you illustrate with an actual example from an actual hymn? The only people I can think of who would do this on purpose are Philistines, whose music /text match I wouldn't use for all the tea in China.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,109
    How is should be done is of course a different question from whether. IPA seems the obvious way to go, but I would probably neither stumble nor laugh aloud in scorn over the historic spelling "qui-res". C.f. Morley's Fyer fyer!
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    We need the "Speart of truth" to resolve this, methinks.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 866
    Why would you want to add syllables?
    If you mean that you need one syllable to cover 2 notes, you simply keep hitting the dash/hyphen button, until you wish to place the next syllable. If it's the last syllable, you just keep hitting the space bar until you are ready to start the next word. In finale, under the lyrics tool, you can also select "lyric extension" (I'm not at my computer, but I think that's what it's called), to lengthen or shorten the underscore that continues under the notes at the end of a word.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen eft94530
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,349
    Similar to what @CCooze has written, if you are inquiring about the usual engraving of multiple stanzas of a hymn text interlined under the notes of a tune, and if a particular hymn indeed has "choirs" in one stanza while there are two syllables of text in the other stanzas, I would find the solution in the notation rather than in a weird hyphenation of the word "choir," namely, place a dotted slur or tie (whatever the case may be) between the two notes and place the entirety of "choir" under the first note.
  • Carol
    Posts: 560
    My husband uses Finale sometimes and Sibelius sometimes. He has found the quickest way to find out the specific key strokes for an application question like this is to ask Google. Much quicker than trial and error or reading through a manual.
  • >> For example: CHOIRS choi - rs

    surely it should be sung choi-ires, never choi-yerrrs. :-)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,308
    I suppose the pronunciation ought to be [kwa^z], where [^] is the vowel sound used in English "up".

  • I think we need to see the example in question. I can't think of a single hymn that does this.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 712
    There is no literate way to divide single syllable words, even if they are a mouthful. They need to remain one syllable, even when sung on two or more notes, using a sustained, single, primary vowel sound with the appropriate diphthong added at the last possible moment. Art music (in which category I would place ALL church music) allows for nothing else.

    If it's a question of choral diction, that should be a matter for rehearsal, not score notation, which should always follow the rules of proper language. I am easily annoyed by improper word divisions that show up in scores, as some kind of aid to (illiterate) singers. Figuring it all out can take a very long time, no doubt, but that can happen in any language. So, when singing the Latin in Orff's "Carmina Burana", where to place consonants in his staccato passages becomes a time-consuming study. The same happens in that famous arrangement of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", in which the men repeatedly sing, "Truth is march-ing" on very short notes. That is the correct word division. But when sung, just where should that "ch" go?

    English is especially troublesome. The perennial headache is, of course, "baptism", as in the English Creed. There is no suave way to sing it as two syllables. There is no literate way to divide it into three syllables. Stick with Latin and "baptisma", I say.
    Thanked by 3Liam CHGiffen JL
  • I once had a cantrix who was from the Midwest (where we weren't), who used to sing the beginning of the Pater Noster in our vernacular Mass by making the word "Our" two syllables long.
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 712
    PS., dear Melo:

    "We need the "Speart of truth" to resolve this, methinks."

    Good Anglicans would tell you that the contraction is, in fact, "Sprit" (sp^r-IT), as dorky as you might feel singing it.
    Thanked by 3MarkS Carol CHGiffen
  • Spreet of Truth
  • f you mean that you need one syllable to cover 2 notes, you simply keep hitting the dash/hyphen button, until you wish to place the next syllable. If it's the last syllable, you just keep hitting the space bar until you are ready to start the next word.


    CCooze is quite correct. If going in the other direction to provide 2 vowels on the same syllable (I suppose more if you are Italian!), use an uppercase I with the font set to EngraverFontSet to create the elision.

    I apologize to Richard R - my scores use improper word divisions because a) they are for my choir, not publication and b) I'd rather be clear at communicating via the music where I want the division to occur rather than having to take the rehearsal time to keep clarifying over and over again. :)

    Were I Anglican, I would find it necessary to sing "Sprit". As a Catholic, I have no compunction on singing Spi-rit as it works with the elision.

    Someone once exclaimed to me... "They wouldn't have done it like that in the XYZ century." Fair enough. I'm not trying to duplicate what was done in the XYZ century. In an university setting, perhaps that would be my goal.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,109
    You can find monosyllabic spirit in any dictionary under "sprite", which tends to make good Anglicans squirm a bit.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    My dear Richard, I've always regarded you as a sprite for truth (justice and the....nevermind, ) and as you're so effervescent, you also may indeed be the Spritz of Truth!
    Thanked by 2Richard Mix Carol
  • Thank you, to the person who said "cho-irs"—that solved it, and I am grateful.

    ---

    As to some of the other comments (“no sane person would do this” etc.) I can only say that the one who did is Fr. Edward Caswall, an Oratorian, who is more famous than any of us will ever be; so I don't feel a need to defend what he has done.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • The examples you give end with 'r's, and you are making a syllable out of the 'r'. This is the worst thing to do. One should prolong the vowel (in this case 'kwah') as long as possible and pronounce the swallowed 'r' at the very end of the last note of the word. This applies as well to your other word, 'inspires', which has two, and only two, syllables. This advice is good on all inner-word syllables as well as end-of-word ones. Never, ever, make a syllable out of an 'r'. 'Choir' has but one syllable. 'Inspire' has but two. Keep the vowel open and don't even begin to form the swallowed 'r' until the very last moment of the beat. This applies, as well, to other consonants.
  • Never, ever, make a syllable out of an 'r'. 'Choir' has but one syllable. 'Inspire' has but two.


    Again, your difficulty is with Fr. Caswall—and his credentials are pretty well established.

    (It is okay for you to have a different opinion than Fr. Caswall.)

    He certainly doesn't need me to defend what he's done.
  • I said 'never, ever make a syllable out of an 'r'. There is, however, one circumstance in which one should do this, and that is when one is giving a performance in the 'authentic' style of a back woods or countrified choir.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,983
    'authentic' style of a back woods or countrified choir

    I recall how Pres. Kennedy pronounced 'hair' to rhyme with the way I would pronounce layer.
  • in the second verse of "To Jesus' Heart All Burning"

    "O Heart, for me on fie - yerr"

    is like fingernails on a blackboard. As CD, this pronunciation is a soapbox issue for me.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen JL
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    Which Caswall hymn has the offending "choi-rs" and "in-spi-res" examples? I cannot seem to recall seeing it.
  • Carol
    Posts: 560
    I think the question here was really how to show in the lyric line that the word is slurred over 2 notes- not that the choir (or "kwah" if you prefer) should sing a hardened r sound for the second syllable/note. Some have indicated that this way of showing the slur should not be necessary for a well trained singer, and that may be true, but for some of us who are frantically looking up and down from notes to lyrics any hints such as this are welcome.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 866
    I'm not sure that's the case.
    However, it's a singer/musician's job to make his score more accessible to himself, and not the composer/editor's job to supply unnecessary supplements.
    -----
    I can't tell you how frustrating it is to receive a score/part that has been either written on in pen, and/or photocopied with others' personal notes.
    We don't all notate or make personal markings the same way, anyway.

    So, just a reminder: be kind to future singers by using an erasable pencil for any notes you may deem necessary to your own performance.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,109
    Of course one shouldn't sing like a pirate. The solution is to modify the vowel: "Kwai-uhz". Nor does one sing Campion's two notes as a melisma "fah-eyer". Not unless one is a dangerous fanatic ;-)
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 712
    Just to clarify, I do not offer my opinion based on relative fame, merely on choral experience. If there exists a legitimate tradition of showing slurred syllables by dividing them into two (visually odd) halves, and if your choir responds to such mnemonics (without turning "r" into the fifth or sixth vowel sound), have at it. Like all disciplines, choral singing, conducting, and score writing have developed more preferred ways of doing things. I wonder if it does a singer any good to rely on scoring conventions he will most likely never see again anywhere. Never mind the work required to score that way.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Actually, 'choir' displays a diphthong and requires carefull delivery. The diphthong is '-oi-', and is properly pronounced 'ah---ih' plus 'r'. Both the second sound of the diphthong and the consonant that follows it are reserved for the very last moment of the note(s) on which it is sung. It is not sung as two syllables. This is standard performance practice for all diphthongs, and for all consonants within words or at the ends of them.
    Thanked by 2Carol MarkS
  • You keep referring to Caswall. Can you at least show us the hymn you're talking about?
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen eft94530
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    I've done some searching, mostly at Hymnary.org, and I found the following four anomalies with three Caswall hymns/translations. In two of the four instances the (normally single) syllable is hyphenated, and in the other two there is no hyphenation, so that a slur seems to be implied. I did not find "cho-irs" or "inspi-res".

    Spotless Anna! Juda's Glory!:
    st. 2: Saintly Kings and priestly Sires__

    Whither Thus, In Holy Rapture?
    St. 2: She in thee, with lips inspi-red

    He Who Once, In Righteous Vengeance:
    St. 2: In place of thorns and bri-ers
    St. 3: May this blood in that dread hour__
    (I've known this hymn with a different variant of the translation that does not have these idiosyncracies)
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • ...with lips...
    Chuck -
    If I saw 'inspired' printed as you show it I would assume that it was to be given the historic English pronunciation of 'inspi-red' - three syllables ('in-spy-red'), not two. Is this what you intend? (Certainly, no musician would ever sing 'in-spy-errd'.)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    Jackson ... yes, pronouncing the two syllable "in-spired" as three syllables "in-spi-red" ... I was only highlighting the offending syllable(s).

    The cathedral in Speyer
    Is topped with a spi-re,
      And a tenor's flyer
      somehow caught fi-er
    While he was singing in cho-ir.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 866
    The diphthong is '-oi-', and is properly pronounced 'ah---ih' plus 'r'.


    That sounds odd to me.
    Shouldn't it be more of an "oo-ah(r)?"
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • There was a young lass in the choir
    Whose voice went up hoir and hoir
    Till one starry night
    It rose out of sight
    And they found it next day in the spoir.


    Obviously not choi-yerr, high-yerr, and spi-yerr. I rest my case :-)
  • I've done some searching, mostly at Hymnary.org, and I found the following four anomalies with three Caswall hymns/translations. In two of the four instances the (normally single) syllable is hyphenated, and in the other two there is no hyphenation, so that a slur seems to be implied. I did not find "cho-irs" or "inspi-res".


    Be careful of Hymnary.org - it has some absolutely fantastic stuff, but is severely deficient in other ways.

    An example of Fr. Caswall:

    Thou to whom a Child was given
    Greater than the sons of men,
    Coming down from highest Heaven
    To create this world again:
    By the hope thy name inspires,
    By our doom, reversed through thee,
    Help us, Queen of Angel choirs,
    Now and through eternity.


    I notice that several forum members got confused about my initial question, which was how best to typeset this particular example to match the other stanzas. I was not seeking individual opinions about choral diction, etc. That Fr. Caswall has written a 87.87D text is not up for debate, and I apologize that some were confused by this.

    As to the assertion this hymn is actually 87 87 77 77, I just cannot agree. The other verses prove it. For example:

    Thine the province to deliver
    Souls that deep in bondage lie;
    Thine to crush, and crush for ever,
    Life-destroying heresy;
    Thine to show that earthly pleasures,
    All the world’s enchanting bloom,
    Are out-rivalled by the treasures
    Of the glorious life to come.


    No, it is clearly 87.87D
  • As you have given them, stanza one is 87 87 77 77, and stanza two is 87 87D.
    The only way that stanza one could be 87 87D would be to sing 'choi-ers' and inspi-ers, which only an illiterate singer would do. There does seem to be a problem with Fr Caswall's verse. Perhaps this is a not-very-golden example of 'poetic license'?
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • M. Jackson Osborn wrote:

    As you have given them, stanza one is 87 87 77 77, and stanza two is 87 87D. The only way that stanza one could be 87 87D would be to sing 'choi-ers' and inspi-ers, which only an illiterate singer would do. There does seem to be a problem with Fr Caswall's verse. Perhaps this is a not-golden example of 'poetic license'?


    M. Jackson Osborn, the choir you direct should of course do whatever you instruct them to do.

    For my part, I believe this hymn (every verse) is in 87.87D—and I have seen nothing in this post to convince me otherwise.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    The tune is indeed 87.87.D. And the hymn in question is Holy Queen! We Bend Before Thee, the fourth stanza (at the bottom of the hymnal scan) being the one with "inspires" and "Choirs" sung to two notes.

    The proper way to underlay the text is simply to put "-spires!" and "Choirs!" under the first of the two notes, with an (underline) word extension to carry each through the second of the two notes. It was (is) poor underlay to try to break "spires" and "choirs" into two syllables. This sort of problem occurs elsewhere (as I pointed out in my previous post in this thread).
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    I think Good Score Engraving Practices have been presented above.

    purple=ON

    BUT regarding pronouncing R ..

    The Great Gildersleeve
    https://archive.org/details/GG_S_01
    Episode 15 (1941-12-07) Cousin Octavia Visits (timestamp 17:55 ff)
    Episode 16 (1941-12-14) Iron Reindeer (timestamp 15:00 ff)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,050
    An earworm reminded me of a contrasting American pop way of dealing with this issue: what is likely to be considered the emblematic power anthem of the decade, fun's "We Are Young" (Sept 2011), especially in the Glee cover that quickly followed its release, which not only helped zoom that song to chart heaven but managed to obscure the original for a good bit of time, during a short period particularly flush with what are likely to remain new pop standards (such peak periods typically come in short waves, like the mid-60s (for the Boomers), mid-80s (for Gen Xers), and then 2010-2012 (for Millennials)).

    "Fire" as two-syllables for the sake of slant rhyme:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm5RvtLD0xI

  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    Don't forget the (secular) madrigal "Fyer, fyer" by Thomas Morley.
    Thanked by 1Liam