Pronunciation of some common music tech terms has been a source of debate. Generally, though, there’s only one right answer. I had hoped to kick off a pronunciation guide yesterday or today, but now I really can’t resist – not with none other than Tegan & Sara getting together to debate the right way to say Moog.
Don’t get me wrong. I love cows, and the sound “moo.” I suggest if you have something you want to name Moo, you should, like your own MooVerb max patch or something. However, here goes, a few of my favorites:
Moog: Rhymes with “brogue” or “rogue,” not the sound a cow makes. Don’t say “Moooooog” unless you want to get funny looks from synth nerds, or if you’re teaching synthesis to livestock in a dairy.
Monome: The community-based, (partly, at least) open-source controller rhymes with “MA gnome,” not the Spanish-sounding “Ma gnome ME.” You should not be able to use it in a couplet with paper mache. Get it? Two syllables. Sure, this pronunciation varies, but the two-syllable version is what the device’s co-creators call it.
OSC: Pronounce the letters of the open communications protocol, as in “O.S.C. / oh ess see”, not “osk” – though that would have been kind of cool. Think, “Rah, rah, rah, Give me an O! Give me an S! Give me a C! What’s that spell? Better than MIDI! Time-based messages, higher resolution, transport-independent high-speed networked communication with auto-discovery, gooooooooooOOOOO O.S.C.!” (People sometimes say this site is geeky. I have no idea what gives them that impression.)
And for now, O.S.C. stands for Open Sound Control, even though in one spot on the JazzMutant website it’s called “Open-Source Control.” Just get ready for this to change – because OSC really isn’t specific to sound, it may need a new name, like Open System Control. (A recent paper suggests dropping the “sound” in the name.)
MIDI: Rhymes with G. Gordon Liddy, or P. Diddy, or Tweetiebird saying “Piddy.” And, actually, it occurs to me I’ve never heard anyone mispronounce this. Fascinating – an acronym that’s actually intuitive. Oh, but “C.C.” stands for “Control Change,” NOT “continuous controllers” — look at the CC specs; most aren’t continuous. There. I got to be anal about something anyway. Updated: consensus is actually that “mee-dee” is a mispronunciation for native-English speakers, but likely makes more since than “mi-dee” in other languages — particularly if you speak French. So, in other words, it’s an acronym, and makes the most sense to pronounce in the natural way you would in your native tongue. (For English speakers, who knows what vowel sound is appropriate given how screwy our language is, but the creators of MIDI all say middy.)
Maschine: Native Instruments’ drum machine software and controller is German-engineered, so say “muh SHEEN uh,” three syllables, as if you grew up in Berlin. Now, granted, Maschine’s own promotional videos — outsourced to the US — anglicize this to “machine” / “muh SHEEN”, but the engineers and product folks who built the thing use the German pronunciation and think you should, too. And, anyway, it sounds cooler, just as I have to admit a currywurst is tastier than a Nathan’s dog.
I’m sure this is only a small selection of potential mispronunciations. Other candidates? We’ll have to release a full pronunciation guide soon.