Yiddish: lyrics in sheet music

Forero

Senior Member
USA English
I am using music software to format a version of the song טום־באַלאַלײַקע for a balalaika club. I need to put in the lyrics to help me keep track of where I am in the song, but I would like to do it in some sort of universal way.

Is there a standard way for putting Yiddish lyrics into sheet music?

Music, I think, always goes left-to-right, but Yiddish goes right-to-left. Alternatively, Yiddish can be transliterated, but is there a standard way to unambiguously distinguish, for example, ײַ from יי?
 
  • origumi

    Senior Member
    N/A
    The usual way is writing the syllables from left to right. Inconvenient yet follows the universal standard in regards to the notes.

    Hebrew poses the same problem, with the same solution. I wonder how it's done in Arabic.

    See for example this, taken from this blog post.
     

    übermönch

    Senior Member
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    Music, I think, always goes left-to-right, but Yiddish goes right-to-left. Alternatively, Yiddish can be transliterated, but is there a standard way to unambiguously distinguish, for example, ײַ from יי?
    ײַ is an ay.
    יי is an ey.

    There are two standards of Romanization. The latest one, YIVO, demands you to write everything as it was English. Previously it was more common to romanize into German, in that case with an ei and an ej. The Yiddish typewriter is an online service which can help you to romanize semitic words as well. Music goes from left to right and the words are split in syllables.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Thanks, everyone.

    I have seen "zayn" and "zeyn", "keyn" and "kayn". So Romanization is probably confusing either way.

    I can see why the syllable extenders (long dashes) are on the right, since they show that the syllable continues to multiple notes, but I find it interesting that commas and hyphens are also written on the right rather than at the end of the syllable.
     

    übermönch

    Senior Member
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    Thanks, everyone.

    I have seen "zayn" and "zeyn", "keyn" and "kayn". So Romanization is probably confusing either way.
    It isn't confusing at all. In standard orthography "keyn", "kayn", "zeyn" and "zayn" are four different words - "towards", "no", "see" and "be". Standard orthography is mostly based on the Baltic pronounciation. In Western Poland ey might've been pronounced as ay. In Odessa ay, conversely, might've been pronounced as an ey. This doesn't change a thing about proper romanization.
     
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