Hyphen at the border is pushed back

I have an hyphen that is pushed back into the syllable, I moved the note head but the piece of lyric won’t move. How can I solve the problem and get an “optical alignment”.
I know “exurgite” can be also syllabified as “ex-ur-gi-te” which is grammatically more correct but I think this way it is easier for those who don’t know the Latin language.

Switch to graphic editing mode, select the last syllable, press Alt-left arrow to nudge it. You can do the same with the hyphen.

You could also set the alignment of that syllable to right or center.

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Thank you, I did try before but clicking on the lyrics had no effect. Now I fixed it, thanks!

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I’m a terrible nerd, but I prefer the correct grammatical syllables, even in venerable dead languages… If you know how to do it properly, please do it properly. The syllabification rules for Latin aren’t even that complicated. E-xur- looks really awful. It’d give me the impression you have no idea what the text is about.


Totally agree. Hyphenation is not up for debate!


Oh my, I did write the Latin lyric!
I have seen in baroque music similar “debates” and the same author used different systems to set the words. I wish I could remember where, but there was a compound word with “ex-” (maybe exultate) and in some places he used “e-”. I don’t remember the word nor the piece of music but I made a mental note. Now it has faded a little bit, but I’ll go and look for the original music.
Probably I’ll change and follow your advice, I’ll just ponder a little longer.

Actually syllabification and hyphenation are two different processes, the former is about the sequence of units of sounds while the latter follows the orthographic rules. So hyphenation is not for debate, but syllabification is. Liturgical Latin texts follows a liturgical syllabification, but I am o expert, I only noticed it here and there.

Yes, I’d hyphenate as ex-ur. Also sp is usually kept together, so a-sper-. (Check out any setting of “Asperges me”.

The purpose of ‘word division’ by any name is to make the meaning, and therefore the pronunciation, clear. And nothing else!


You’re right, I mixed up the words. I meant the orthographic aspect, i.e. the hyphenation.

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Just a little addition to the Latin syllabification process.

In my case “ex-ur” is indeed the best solution here, but I wrote “e-xur” to be consistent with a previous long melisma over the “E-” where I followed a solution that I found in a mass used for “e-xul-ta-te”. And yet I did find the same word “hyphened” in different ways in the same piece of music.

Which is sloppy editing from the original engraver/copyist.

This is one of those cases where I freely make editorial decisions when creating a new edition. It messes a singer up when they are used to seeing words hyphenated a particular way in every other work based on the same text, and then all of the sudden a “historical” version is different… they will sing it different by accident or they will point it out to you. (Likely both, at the first rehearsal.)

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I know it happens (“improper” editorial decisions), and now, with digitised copies, it happens even more, probably.
Latin is somewhat prone to a gap between syllabification and hyphenation.
My reference was to some music by Zelenka, which I still couldn’t find, in the edition most probably by Breitkopf & Härtel, so I guess they thought it carefully and followed the manuscript .
Anyway, to prove your point right, I managed to find a divergence between the Suprahon edition and the available manuscripts at IMSLP for the Magnificat ZWV 108 by Zelenka. At around ms. 79 the manuscripts hyphenation for “exaltavit” is “ex al ta-vit” while the Supraphon edition prefers to go for “e-xal-ta-vit”.
To tell you the truth I did not expect this turn of syllabification/hyphenation.

I would NOT necessarily rely on either a manuscript or an edition for authority, when it comes to hyphenation.

Ex is a prefix, and so is usually split off by itself. Otherwise, X is usually at the start of the next syllable.

Note that ‘where the syllable is sounded’ is NOT a consideration.


Agreed. It’s more important for the singer to understand and recognize the word quickly; (on the whole) they will naturally parse out where the consonants go. Much more rehearsal time is lost — at least in my experience — when the edition is wonky. Making corrections takes longer than just telling to place the “x” sound on the next syllable (which most people do naturally since they sustain the vowel sound anyway).

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