This week’s composer might be one of the most famous French composers: Claude Debussy.
One could see two difficulties in pronouncing his last name: the unaccented e, and the u. When a French e is unaccented and not in front of a double consonnant (as in belle, steppe, gemme, etc. in which case it will sound like an è), its sound is very similar to an American [uh] sound, with a little bit more lips involved (protruded). We have already covered the u sound in this series when we talked about Tristan Murail. Remember that you have to pronounce an [ee] sound with your lips protruded (like a smooch). The -ssy is really easy for American speakers—no problem here.
Alright, here it is:
Irrelevant trivia: Claude Debussy used to be on our 20 Francs bank notes before the Euro was adopted on January 1st, 2002. As a kid I was fascinated by this small brown note, that also represented a lot of pocket money (~US $3)!
Note the background, reminiscent of his famous symphonic sketches…
Was this helpful? Is there any other name (composer, piece, instrument, etc.) that you would like to see on these pages? Just post a comment or find me on Twitter: @tonalfreak.