Archive for Hungarian Diction

Episode 24

Posted in Podcasts, Hungarian Diction by thedictionpolice on November 13th, 2010

We finish up our 2-part series on Hungarian diction this week, concentrating on Zoltán Kodály's "A csitári hegyek alatt" with Zoltán Nyári and Henrik Nánási. This week our focus is on the consonants, especially the fun combinations of GY [Ɉ], TY [c], NY [ɲ]  and LY [j]; and the variations of S [ʃ], ZS [ʒ], SZ [s], CS [tʃ] and C [ts].

Here is a link to the text for this week, and I also found these YouTube clips of it in performance as a solo with piano and as a duet with orchestra--there are also many other clips available including a pop/rock release of it!

As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions here, at the Facebook page or directly at


Episode 23

Posted in Podcasts, Hungarian Diction by thedictionpolice on November 8th, 2010

At least Episode 23 is up! Sorry for the delay, and for the static that you will sometimes hear on the podcast!

This week is the first of a 2-part series on Hungarian diction, discussing some text from Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle (Kéksakállú herceg vára) with conductor Henrik Nánási and tenor Zoltán Nyári. Here is a link to an online libretto--we chose the first two long passages of Kéksakállú and the first long passage of Judit. If you have downloaded this on iTunes, I added the text to the Lyrics tab under Get Info, hopefully it will go through for you. We focus on the 14 Hungarian vowels, which come in short and long pairs. The new phonetic symbol that we come across is [ɒ] for the unaccented dark "a".

Here are some links for anyone interested in finding out more about Hungarian language and music:

There is a 2-page article in the Journal of Singing with a short history of Hungarian music and a brief explanation of the diction. I also found Hungarian Reference, which includes sound clips of the alphabet, and a free online Hungarian course at the University of Kansas.

For Hungarian music on YouTube, I found the movie The Miraculous Circumstance, which is a film about the folk song tradition that Béla Bartok was trying to preserve. Other clips that I found include a scene from György Ránki's The Emperor's New Clothes (Pomádé király uj ruhája), György Kurtág's Four Songs to poems by János Pilinszky and some clips from Erkel Ferenc's opera Bánk Bán, "Hazám, hazám" and the Gertrudis duet.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions here, on the Facebook page or directly at


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