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Feb 26th, 2021, 11:42am 
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   Problem with the word "prayer" in english
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PaulL
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Re: Problem with the word "prayer" in english  
« Reply #15 on: Dec 19th, 2020, 3:14am »
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Re: Problem with the word "prayer" in english  
« Reply #16 on: Dec 20th, 2020, 12:32pm »
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The Oxford English Dictionary says of the word 'prayer':
 
'Monosyllabic pronunciations are suggested by metre from c1600, although disyllabic pronunciations are occasionally recorded in verse until at least the mid 17th cent.'
 
This particular phrase appears to be from a verse setting of a psalm, and in the original poem two syllables are required for 'prayer' in order for it to scan:
 
'Attend mine humble prayer Lord,
with thine attentive eare,
even in thy truth and justice Lord,
vouchsafe my sute to heare'
 
(https://www.lieder.net/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=67265)
 
(Ironically, 'even' has to be treated as a single syllable here.)
 
None of this necessarily means you have to sing it as two syllables in a modern performance, though. I suspect most English choirs would make it one syllable over two notes. But perhaps some specialist early-music choirs would use a two-syllable pronunciation.
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Steve Doerr
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