Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ich Liebe Dich

This morning I've been preparing for teaching today's voice lessons. I'm considering assigning a piece by Beethoven, to be sung in German, but I wanted to be sure that I had the pronunciation correctly (you know, before I teach it). :)

Being a true product of the age, I checked YouTube for a performance.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that YouTube is a multinational phenomenon. And so instead of finding a performance of Beethoven's art song, I found lots of scantily clad girls telling their (boyfriends? I assume?) that they love them.

Perhaps I'd better warn my student NOT to look this piece up online!


Jennifer said...

Hi Emily : )

We were stationed in Germany for three years, and I got a chance to learn some German (it actually starts to sound like English before too long : ).

If you're still needing pronunciation help (after getting YouTubitis), it's like this:
1) Ich: eech. But not hard, as in "each". To say "Ich", start off saying "eek", but instead of closing your throat all the way when you have to make the "k" sound, leave your throat open enough so that you can pass air out of your mouth. It's half-way between a hiss and blowing.
2) Liebe: LEEB-eh. Much easier. : )
3) Dich: deech. And again, it's that funny back of the throat blowing, very soft "ch" dipthong.

When you say the whole thing together, spoken, it sounds like "eech LEEB'deech".

Of course, sung, I would guess that it'd be high German, with deliberate pronunication. But that's only a guess--I don't know what foreign language conventions are used in choral pieces.

It sounds wonderful what you want to do with your students; good luck, and blessings for a great year.

ACN said...

Up here in Berlin (where they speak standard German, sometimes called Hochdeutsch, as opposed to Southern/Swiss/Austrian dialects), the pronunciation would be:

Ich: the vowel sounds like "ick" (as in, gross, ick), and the ch is like sh.

Liebe: I agree with the above pronunciation, but without clipping off the "eh"/"uh" at the end. It's the upsidedown e sound, whatever that thing is called.

Dich: dish. Like the broken dish.

As a pianist who works frequently with singers, singing enunciation can definitely differ from spoken pronunciation. Thus, the "ich" and "dish" has a slightly more "eek" vowel. Somewhat in between.

I guess this is why singers spend for years at conservatory in diction classes! Good luck. :)

ACN said...

Four years, not for years. Sorry!