Latin translation/opinion

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Latin translation/opinion

Postby NeilG » 01 Nov 2013 20:27

I am preparing a public domain score for Buxtehude's "Jubilate Domino". In the manuscript there are three versions of the same phrase from Psalm 97.
Most sources, including the Constantine Vulgate give the phrase as:

"in cithara, in cithara, et voce psalmi".

Buxtehude's scribe shows three different versions in this order:

cithera, cithera, et voci psalmi
cithera, cithera in voce psalmi
cithera, cithera, et voce psalmi

the word "in" before cithera is left out in the MS.

Does this change the meaning in any understandable way or might it just be incorrect? Thanks for any help.


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Re: Latin translation/opinion

Postby choralia » 03 Nov 2013 18:24

I studied Latin long ago, and I barely remember some grammar basics. But with the help of some google search... :roll:

- "cithera" is just a spelling variation of "cithara". The original Greek word was "kithara", so "cithara" is the most traditional form, "cithera" was probably used at the Buxtehude's time;

- omitting "in" before "cithara" shouldn't be a problem, as "cithara" is the Latin ablative case that, without any prepositions, maintains the "ablative of instrument" meaning, which is definitely pertinent in this context;

- "voci" is probably incorrect: the ablative of "vox" ("voice") should be "voce". "Voci" would be the dative case, and the "dative of instrument" exists in Greek, not in Latin. I don't think that it's a good alternative in this context, especially because it is strictly connected to an "ablative of instrument" like "cithara" by the conjuction "et", so it should normally maintain the same grammatical case.

Overall, I would prefer the "cithara, cithara, et voce psalmi" alternative, but it's just my opinion.


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Joined: 01 Nov 2013 20:17

Re: Latin translation/opinion

Postby NeilG » 04 Nov 2013 01:19

Thanks. The out-of-print Barenreiter edition I have and all the recordings I've heard use "et voce psalmi", so with what you tell me about Latin grammar, there seems to be no attempt at any cute grammatical play by Buxtehude. The manuscript is not in Buxethude's hand, and it's quite possible the scribe had little or no knowledge of Latin.


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