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Entertain, Educate, Encourage

Friday, October 28, 2016

How to pronounce "Singerreise"

At rehearsal this evening, a good friend and colleague, who happens to be German, asked me about the word "Singerreise." It seems that not even 24 hours had gone by before I had shown every friend, acquaintance, and relative exactly how rusty my German is...

It's a play on words, of course. As explained in the first video, it's meant to resemble the word Winterreise, the song cycle by Franz Schubert. Winterreise means "Winter Journey," and "Singerreise" was supposed to mean "Singer Journey." It tracks the journey of the singer as he works his craft, specifically as he is learning the piece Winterreise. I thought it was very clever...

... except that "Singer" is not a German word. "Sänger", however, is. So, one could say "Sängerreise," and as a German word, it would make sense, but it would make less sense to the average speaker of English. It also deviates further from the original word, Winterreise.

So I'm keeping it as "Singerreise." I'm kind of already committed, anyway, with the domain name and the graphics and various websites.

Really, though, when you think about it (even as I'm doing now, after the fact), having the word this way represents what I'm trying to do with the project. It's a mashing together of differences; different languages, cultures, musical composition, and so on. It's about an American "Singer" going on a German "reise" through Winterreise. We're putting a bunch of things together, and sometimes those things don't seem like they should be together, but when they are, magic happens.

So where does that leave us with pronunciation. Well, I'll just say that I made a choice in the first few videos, and now I'm going make a different choice. Instead of "Zing - ere - rye - suh," I'm going to go with "Sing - er - rye - suh", to make it even more clear that the first part of the word is, indeed, English, and the second part is, in fact, German. I'll even go for that uvular "r" on "reise," a skill which I only picked up this last summer.

This change is a direct result of feedback from those of you who are out there paying attention to this project. I'm listening to your comments, so keep up the good work.

Thanks to my great colleague for keeping me honest!


  1. Love this! You go, dude! :-) Karen

  2. Way to go Karen! I think you're the first person to respond to anything on this blog. :)