Archive for Norwegian Diction

Episode 56

Posted in Podcasts, Swedish Diction, Norwegian Diction by thedictionpolice on March 9th, 2012

This week Swedish soprano Gisela Stille is with us to discuss the texts "Längtan heter min arvedel" and "I drömmen du är mig nära". We concentrate on the fun rounded H [ɧ], what I keep calling the C that turns back in over itself (but is officially called C with a curl) [ɕ], some of the differences between colloquial speech and lyric diction and a reminder of some spelling rules. At the end of the episode, I also compare some of the sounds of Swedish and Norwegian.

Both of our poets today were members of the Swedish Academy at the same time. "Längtan heter min arvedel" is by Erik Axel Karlfeldt, who was also a member of the Nobel Committee and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature posthumously in 1931. "I drömmen du är mig nära" was written by Tor Hedberg (Wikipedia doesn't have this article in English!) and set to music by Emil Sjögren.

On the episode, I refer often to Anna Hersey's terrific article in the NATS Journal of Singing (Jan/Feb 2012 edition) "An Introduction to Swedish Diction." If you aren't a subscriber to the Journal, the online link to the article shows up incomplete and with phonetic letters defaulting to regular letters, so if you are really interested in this topic it's important to get a copy of the actual article. Back copies of the Journal of Singing are also available for purchase.

A big thank you to Anna Hersey for letting me know about her article, and to the people who have recently written about their own diction books and dissertations! I'm always thrilled to have new resources and as I wade through all this material, I'll keep everyone posted on what I find!

Please contact me with questions, comments and suggestions (or new diction resources! :-) ) here, at the Facebook page, on Twitter @dictionpolice or directly at ellen@ellenrissinger.com

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Episode 53

Posted in Podcasts, Norwegian Diction by thedictionpolice on February 8th, 2012

This week, bass Ketil Hugaas talks us through the consonants and consonant clusters in Norwegian, through two songs by Edvard Grieg, "Sang til juletræet" and "En svane". The retroflex phonetic symbols that we talk about are RD [ɖ ], RL [ɭ], RN [ɳ] , RS [ʂ] and RT [ʈ], all with tails flaring off to the right. We also come across NG [ŋ] and GN [ŋn] as well as KJ and TJ [ç] (which I want to research more!).

"Sang til juletræet" is a Christmas song, with a text by Johan Krohn. The text was also published set to a folk melody in the Norwegian First  Reading Book for Elementary School back in 1892. "En svane" is a poem by Henrik Ibsen, one of the founders of modernism in theater. There are many recordings of En svane--on YouTube, I found Håkan Hagegård and Warren Jones and a live performance of Jussi Björling with Frederick Schauwecker along with many others.

As always, please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or suggestions here, at the Facebook page, on Twitter (@dictionpolice) or directly at ellen@ellenrissinger.com

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Episode 52

Posted in Podcasts, Norwegian Diction by thedictionpolice on February 2nd, 2012

Since the Swedish episodes were so popular, it's time to move next door in Scandinavia--for the next 2 weeks bass Ketil Hugaas discusses Norwegian Diction with us. This week we're focusing on vowels with the text "Mens jeg venter", a poem by Vilhelm Krag that was set by Edvard Grieg.

Grieg's Opus 60 is a set of 5 songs to texts by Krag and is available on IMSLP along with links to purchase a copy. I found one YouTube of Birgit Nilsson singing this song, and it can also be found on iTunes on the recordings Edvard Grieg Complete Songs Vol 1 with various artists, Grieg: Complete Songs Vol. 2 with Monica Groop and Ilmo Ranta (the entire Opus 60) as well as Grieg: Songs and Lieder with Anne Sofie von Otter and Bengt Forsberg (just "Mens jeg venter").

Most of the information that I gathered in preparing for this episode came from Wikipedia's Norwegian Phonology page as well as Omniglot. The phonetic letters are mostly standard, except for the barred U ].

Otherwise, we find

  • a [ɑ]
  • å [ɔ]
  • æ [æ]
  • e [ɛ, ə] according to the websites, there is also a closed [e], but not as closed as the German sound
  • i [i, I]
  • o [u, o]
  • ø [ø]
  • u [ʉ]
  • y [y]

Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or suggestions here, at the Facebook page, on Twitter @dictionpolice or directly at ellen@ellenrissinger.com

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