[Smt-talk] German christmas hymns.

reinifrosch at bluewin.ch reinifrosch at bluewin.ch
Thu Dec 12 08:53:36 PST 2013

Dear colleagues,
In the You-Tube performances of "Zu Bethlehem geboren" that I found via google  there are three different pronunciations of "ei" in "eia": "wide", "rain", and "see" (Günter Wewel). The List has sent me eleven answers (merci beaucoup): one rain, one wide or rain, and nine wide. I shall sing "ei" as in "wide".
Wishing you a peaceful holiday, 
Reinhart Frosch,
CH-5200 Brugg.
reinifrosch at bluewin.ch .
----Ursprüngliche Nachricht----
Von : wguerin at indiana.edu
Datum : 11/12/2013 - 22:46 (MZ)
An : smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org
Betreff : Re: [Smt-talk] German christmas hymns.
Dear List, 
While opinion seems to be converging on "eye-ya", I'm in a bit of a contrarian mood today, so I'll make a case for "eia" as including the long ? here (or, if you'd like, something that would rhyme with OutKast's 2003 hit "Hey Ya!") 
While standard Hochdeutsch undoubtedly pronounces "ei" as rhyming with "my", I suspect that the word "eia" here may be Latin, not German. Certainly vernacular carols and other songs of medieval origin freely mix in Latin interjections (ave!, gaude!, etc.)
I think of two familiar examples of Latin "eia" as a Latin interjection: the 12th century Aquitanian carol "Verbum patris umanatur o o" (where it is spelled with the greek Y), and the song "Stetit puella" from the Carmina burana. 
Surely when Marie sings "Eia popeia" it's pronounced like "eye", but as "eia popeia" seems to be nonsense rhyme, I suspect that it's not really the same word as the Latin "eia" that one sees in medieval songs.
This is all just conjecture, but it's also worth noting that if you were to browse YouTube performances of the hymn "Zu Bethlehem geboren" cited by Dr. Frosch below, almost all performances done by actual Germans pronounce "eia" as rhyming with "Hey Ya!"  Its
 being a Latin borrowing would perhaps account for this.
Best wishes, 
William Guerin
Ph.D. Candidate, Music Theory, Indiana University
Software Developer, Web Systems
Music Information Technology Services
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
wguerin at indiana.edu
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