Paul Dukas (1865-1935)

French Composers’ Names – Paul Dukas

This week’s composer was also known as a music critic, and orchestrator (for Saint-Saëns for instance): Paul Dukas.

The [u] in Dukas is, once again, the most probable difficulty in the pronunciation. Remember that in order to pronounce a nice French [u], one has to protrude one’s lips, and pronounce an [ee] sound…

The other source of confusion is the final S. Indeed, very few final consonants are pronounced in French (only the ones followed by an e—and hence not really final anymore!—usually are). Some say that the S is pronounced in Dukas, some say not. I’ve heard both, even among native French music lovers. This article from a BBC blog sates that “Dukas, is in fact pronounced due-KASS, and not due-KAA. This pronunciation was passed on to the pronunciation unit in 1955 by a friend of the Dukas family, who assured us that this was the composer’s own pronunciation.

So following this last tip, here it is:


Link to MP3 – Paul Dukas

The foodies will have noticed that the composer’s name is then pronounced like the famous French Chef Alain Ducasse, photographed here by my friend Axel Dupeux.