Why this section? I can tell you, that I learned about Classical Music only by reading about it in my Standard Treasury record set, and had no mentors who knew about it.  I learned to mispronounce many of the Names and Terms. This was very embarrassing later in life when I did have experts around me. I grew up in the sticks (the farming area of the US), and my parents had no interest or knowledge of Classical Music. I didn't learn a lot about it in school.

One music teacher was Mr. Stamm, who spent the whole time talking about his role as the King in the nearby production of "The King and I". We of course took a field trip to attend a performance, that was required. Okay, he was absolutely excellent as the King, especially if you expected to see Yul Bryner play the part.

I did have a history teacher in 6th grade, Mr. Nail, who drilled into us the correct pronunciation of the major Cities of France. In fact, he was absolutely obsessive about it! Over and over, making us each respond back, again and again, whew! He had a large pull-down map of France (and only France!) He must have been fluent in French, because he never taught us the pronunciation of any of the German or Italian Cities, etc. Oh, Mr. Nail.

So, this section is to help you with pronunciation as you read, so you won't be embarrassed like I was.

The English historically have had the habit of changing both the spelling and pronunciation of European names of Europe's Cities and Countries. Everybody seems to accept this as fine, but I find it arrogant to do this.

"Green Acres" TV Show
"Green Acres" TV Show

I came to this opinion when I traveled to Europe, and found out the "real" names. I do not see why we English-speaking people cannot use the same names that the Europeans do.

That is the purpose of this section of my web site. I don't want you to be embarrassed when you travel, or when you talk with real experts on Classical Music. Of course the people of Europe are used to this quirk of the native-English speakers, but it seems to me that it is discourteous to the Europeans to use the English names.

This is not an attempt to make other people "hoi-polloi", and myself elite - it is just common sense, and better.

The order below is 1) English Spelling, 2) European Spelling {if different}, 3) Phonetic Pronunciation with [xxx] A middle dot "·" within a syllable separates phonetic words, but the whole is still one syllable. An apostrophe indicates an accent, except when there are quotes. The quotes are the major accent, and the apostrophe is a minor accent. There is 4) Definition, when the meaning is not obvious. My phonetics may not be technically perfect, but you WILL sound very good to the natives.


  • Austria - Österich [Erster'-rye·sht]
  • Bavaria, Germany - Bayer [Buy'-er] not like the asperin
  • Bayreuth, Germany - [Buy'-royt] town of Wagner Festival and theatre
  • Belgium - Belgique- [Bell-jeek'] (French way)
  • Cologne, Germany - Köln [Kurln]
  • Germany - Deutschland [Doych'-land]
  • The Hebrides - [He'·bri·deez] (islands off West coast of Scotland, Mendelssohn Overture)
  • Järvenpää, Finland - [Yar'-ven-pah-ah], town of Sibelius's home "Ainola" [Ā'-in-o-la]
  • Paris - Paris [P·ah-ree']
  • Rome, Italy - Roma [Rome'-a] (like the tomato)
  • Switzerland - Schweis [Sh·vise]
  • Venezia - Venice [Ven-eet'-ts·ia] (ts like in cats)
  • Vienna, Austria - Wien [Veen]


  • Bach - [Baa·ck]
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven - [Lewd'-vig Fahn Bay'-tove-en]
  • Bernstein - [Burn'-stine] (not Steen)
  • Bizet - [Bee-zay']
  • Borodin - [Bore'-a-deen]
  • Bruch - [Brew·ck]
  • Chopin - [Show-pan']
  • Copland - [Cope'-land]
  • Debussy - [Deh''-b·you-see']
  • Delibes - [Deh-leeb']
  • Dukas - [Due-kah']
  • Dvorak - [Duh-vore'-sha·ck]
  • Manuel de Falla - [Mahn-well' duh Fīe'·yah]
  • Faure - [4'-a]
  • Franck - [Frahh·nk]
  • Ginastera - [Gi'-na-stair''-a] (like Gina Lollobrigida, not Hee'-nah-stair''-ah, @ his insistance)
  • Gluck - [G·look] (not rhyming with Duck)
  • Göthe or Goethe - [Gert'-teh] German author
  • Grieg - [Greeg]
  • George Handel - [Gay'-org Hen'-dell] (a little bit of both "hen" and "han")
  • Franz Joseph Haydn - [Frahn·ts Yo'-seff  Hi'-den] (ts like in cats)
  • Kodály - [Ko-die']
  • Kondrashin - [Con-drah'-shin]
  • Olivier Messiaen - [O-liv'-vi-ā Mess'-see-en]
  • Moussorgsky - [Moo'-sorg-ski]
  • Mozart - [Mow·ts'-art] (ts like in cats)
  • Prokofiev - [Prro-kō'-fee-ev] (roll the "r")
  • Puccini - [Poo-chee'-knee]
  • Rachmaninoff - [R·rock-mahn'-yin-off] (roll the "R")
  • Ravel - [Rah-vell']
  • Camille Saint-Saen - Cam-meal' S·ann-sahn'] (like Ann)
  • Schönberg or Schoenberg - [Shern'-berg]
  • Shostakovich - [Show'-sta-kove'-vich]
  • Jean Sibelius - [Sh·ahn Sih·bale'-ee-us]
  • Bedrich Smetana - [Bed'·dreek Smit'-tan·uh]
  • Tchaikovsky - [Chay-kove'-ski] or [Chī-kahv'-ski] (1st is Russian, 2nd is English)
  • Varese - [Ver-rez']
  • Ralph Vaugham Williams - [Ray·f Vawn Williams]
  • Richard Wagner - [Ree'-kard Vag'-ner]


  • Les Preludes - [Lay Pray-lewd']
  • die Meistersinger - [dee My''-ster-zing'-er]
  • Coq d'Or - [Coke-door] young golden rooster
  • Götterdammerung - [Gert''-tur-dam'-er-rung] Wagner opera (Twilight of the Gods)
  • das Rheingold - [DOS Rhine-gold] (like old PC operating system)