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A dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) online

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The following melody has the peculiarity of
each part ending on the fourth of the key.

Dadle Dau.

(Flaunting Two.]
-n - 'V — ^

— ^— N-



-1 — .'-•'—«-









1 '

1* 1 !

1 1



1 answer |

~T~i 1~

^■^ r

-1 — ^ — *■

-.-f— -


Of the Dance Music of the Welsh, the Jig ap-
pears to be the favourite. Of these there are
many interesting examples, from which the fol-
lowing are selected : —

Hoffedd Modryb Marged. (Aunt Margaret's Favourite.)





■a — ■'' — I— ■ — •-

: -,-ii- r -L J='


GyrrxCr B^d o'm Blaen. (Drive the World before us.)
JiQ. ^^









The most remarkable feature in connection
with Welsh music is that of Penillion singing, —
singing of epigrammatic stanzas, extemporaneous
or otherwise, to tlie accompaniment of one of the
old melodies, of which there are many, very
marked in character, expressly composed or
chosen on account of their adaptability for the
purpose, and played upon the harp. This prac-
tice is peculiar to the Welsh, and is said to date
from the time of the Druids, who imparted their
learning orally, through the medium of Penillion.
The word Penill is derived from Pen, a head;
and because these stanzas flowed extempore from,
and were treasured in the head, without beino-
committed to paper, they were called Penillion.
Many of the Welsh have their memories stored
with hundreds of them ; some of which they have
always ready in answer to almost any subject
that can be proposed ; or, like the Improvisatore
of Italy, they sing extempore verses ; and a
person conversant in this art readily produces a
Penill apposite to the last that was sung. But
in order to be able to do this, he must be con-
versant with the twenty-four metres of Welsh
poetry. The subjects afi'ord a great deal of mirth.
Some of these are jocular, others farcical, but
most of them amorous. It is not the best vocalist
who is considered to excel most in this style of
epigrammatical singing ; but the one who has the
strongest sense of rhythm, and can give most
eflfect and humour to the salient points of the
stanza — not unlike the parlante singing of the
Italians in comic opera. The singers continue
to take up their Penill alternately with the harp
without intermission, never repeating the same
stanza (for that would forfeit the honour of being
held first in the contest), and whichever metre
the first singer starts with must be strictly
adhered to by those who follow. The metres of
these stanzas are various; a stanza containing
from three to nine verses, and a verse consisting
of a certain number of syllables, from two to eight.
One of these metres is the Triban, or triplet;
another, the Atcdl Gywydd, or Ben Ganiad, —


the ode-measure or the ancient strain ; anotl
what in English poetry would be called anapses

There are two kinds of Penillion singing ;
most simple being where the singer adapts
words to the melody, in which case words i
music are so arranged as to allow of a burden,
response in chorus, at the end of each line of
stanza, as in the following example : —


With spirit.


Nos Golan. (New Year's Eve.)

Hob y Deri Vanno. (Away, my herd, to the Oaken Gto

As sung in North Wales.
Cheerfully. Solo Burden

r^ q ' * >


^-g-g =


Hob y Deri Dando. (Away, my herd, under the Green Ol J
The same song as sung in South Wales. i

Cheer/idly. Solo Burden j





— J » » " I

« ;P=i-

» ■ I

■ r ^


— . • I * • « I . a _J I 1 ^ -S-»-— •— Z

— —»—• — ■-' — i — i — •— •-1 — • * ^7 ■ ■ • * * • ;

The most difficult form of Penillion sin*
ing is where the singer does not follow t ■
melody implicitly, but recites his lines on a:
note that may be in keeping with the harmony
the melody, which renders him indifferent as >



sther the harper plays the air or any kind of
ation upon it, as long as he keeps to the
iamental iiavmony. In this style of Penillion
ing there is no burden or chorus, the singer
ing the whole of the melody to himself, first

second part repeated. What renders it more
cult, is the rule that he must not begin
1 the melody, but, according to the length of
metre of his stanza, must join the melody at
1 a point as will enable him to end with it.
he following examples admit of the introduc-

of two of the most famous melodies in con-
ion with this style of singing.

r. ' Pen Rhaw.' (The name of a Harper.) i Penillion.




-m ■ — ' — • —*-■ — \ -9 — >— i» — > — » — i jr:

leth sy dda gan i, Cael rho-dio ger-ddi gwyrddion, A

pheth sy dda gan i, Cael rho-dio ger-ddi gwyrdd:

N-J 1 ' ij-

• 1

_j — 1 J 1 T"-

J • 1_

q^-— N— N— V S K '

1 f jnych fod yn mysg Tr hyddysg, fawr ddysg feirddion ; Tn

ntado amjnt gydagnenYn Canu'r hen be-nil-lion.

-^ * * *-R -' ^J -


■wjnion gl&n Meirionjdd.

Air. ' Serch HudoV (Love's Fascination.) Penillion.


/ ^



Maen yw llun, a Mwyn yw Uals, T del-yn tarnais newydd.


— •— • • — m—z 1

_u-u — ^-> ' ; » ^

— •-

•— • -p—P—^—fL^

Haeddal glod am fod yu fwjn.


ydyw Uwyn llawenydd:

-?^'^^^-t^,— -i

; -'■' r— — ' — !— W — ^

— •-

' « J J » — ir

1 Mb ^^

— • — * ^ « * • »

' ' ' — ^'— ^ —


am bfrrs y cybydd :

Mwyn y can o ddeutu'r tin, Mor-


T. Rhys's Grammar makes mention of a Bard named Gruffydd
Rhaw ; and probably this tune was composed about the begin-
of theloth century, or at leasi acquired this title at that time.—
ird /onu' Belief of the WeUh Barde, p. 165.




Until within the present century, very little
Welsh music was known beyond the Principality ;
ami even then, for the most part, through an un-
favourabJe medium. For example, the graceful
'Llwyn onn ' (The Ash Grove), appeared in a
mutilated furni as 'Cease your funning,' in Gay's
♦Eeggar's Opera,' A. D. 1728.

Llwyn onn. (The Ash Grove.)

-^ — r


■I — • — ^■
■p •■










■» — B —Sl— — i

Gay's version, as ' Cease your funning.'





The melodious 'Clychau Aberdyfi' (The Bells
of Abeidovey) was caricatured iu Charles Dib-
din's play 'Liberty Hall,' a.d. 17S5.

Clychau Aberdyfi. (The Bells of Aberdovej'.)


^Y- w i* g-^ — I V : — g^JCJ


-A — t — •— •- -' -t-l — =1— '-F*-, — ■— •— j—t^-f^* — .S



■•-Ti— #-^=^






J*-^^. — Ps-Sij:



The bold and warlike strain, 'Y Gadlyi
(The Camp), suffered the degradation of beia
wedded to Tom Durfey's doggrel song 'Of nobl
race was Shenkin,' introduced into 'The Bidl^
mond Heiress,' A.D. 1693.

T Gddlys. (The Camp.)

The beautiful little melody, *Ar hyd y nos'
(All through the Night), was introduced into a
burlesque, under the title of ' Ah ! hide your
nose.' It is often known as ' Poor Mary Ann.'

Ar hyd y nos. (All through the Night).


-•-T-^ 1-

■— •-

ȣ^E^ ^^^^Eg|




:=i -


Even Handel was not above introducing the
spirited air, ' Codiad yr Haul" (The Rising of the
Sun), into 'Acis and Galatea,' as a duet and
chorus, under the title of ' Happy, happy we.'

The following is the ori2;inal air : —




E ^^^^^^^^^^







"^^r-'- fj^l

aidel's version is as follows : —

Happy, happy ice. (Duet.)
resto. tr

■^ ^-

-»-f-«— i- — r— •— i-J ^


^1 ■-* ■* ' .. .' 1— .-




— ^t-« — ^— i ■' ' ■ — ^•^-

id ! 1 1 • ^ - .^ • ■


1 1 i

rt_; ' .'^ '-r-f=f:r:M=^

_.-!.. . .

-•■— 1

e opening bar of the chorus imitates the
lal nielody still more closely: —

^Pr~ ' ^^ - i

[ - -\

Hap - py, hap - py.

-ft — I — i — 1 — ^'-b-*-

^^^^-^1^ —

^, , etc

,ndel als.', turned this air into a gi^ue (' Suites
feces,' 1st collection, p. 43, Leipzig edition).



• *'■


• i * g»^»»-j

•"-tzi-. ' =ts::j

ft !»

If — Ty

P^-t 8-4-

-'^— :•— — sn


^_=n= ^ ^^^

■: — ^— ^




It it must be admitted that the beauty of
Briginal theme has been greatly enhanced by
" asterly treatment.

According to a Welsh manuscript of the time
of Charles I, now in the British Museum —
which though itself of the 17 th century was doubt-
less copied or compiled from earlier records ^ —
Gryffudd ab Cynan, King of North Wales, held
a congress, in the nth century, for the purpose
of reforming the order of the Welsh bards, and
invited sever^J of the fraternity from Ireland to
assist in carrying out the contemplated reforms ;
the most important of which appears to have
been the separation of the professions of bard
and minstrel — in other words, of poetry and
music ; both of which had before been united
in one and the same person. The next was
the revision of the rules for the composition and
performance of music. The ' 24 musical measures'
were permanently established, as well as a num-
ber of keys, scales, etc. ; and it was decreed that
henceforth all compositions were to be written
in accordance with those enactments; and that
none but those who were conversant with the
rules should be considered thorough musicians,
or competent to undertake the instruction of

In this manuscript wiU also be found some
of the most ancient pieces of music of the
Britons, supposed to have been handed down
from the ancient bards. The whole of the music
is written for the Crwth, in a system of notation
hj the letters of the alphabet, with merely one
line to divide bass and treble. Dr. Burney, after
a life-long research into the musical notation of
ancient nations, gives the following as the re-
sult : —

It does not appear from history that the Egyptians,
Phoenicians, Hebrews, or any ancient people who culti-
vated the ax-ts, except the Greeks and Komans, had
musical characters ; and these had no other symbols of
sound than the letters of the alphabet, which likewise
sewed them for arithmetical numbers and chronological

The system of notation in the manuscript
resembles that of Pope Gregory in the 6th
century, and may have found its way into this
country when he sent Augustine into Britain to
reform the abuses which had crept into the
services of the western churches.

St. Gregory's Notation.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, a, b, c, d, e, f, g, aa, bb,

cc, dd, ee, ff, gg.

Notation in thb Ancient Welsh Manuscript.

cc dd ee fF gi ai b| C| d| Cj f| g a b c d e f

g- a' b- c* d" e' f-

A close resemblance to the ancient Welsh
notation is to be found in a work entitled
Masurijia,^ seu prao-is muaicae, illius piimo
quae Instrumentis agitur certa ratio, ab Otto-

1 The prose contained in the MS. is to be found In Dr. John David
Ehjs's Welsh and Latin Grammar of 1592.

2 Nut to be confounded with the 'Musurijia' of Klrcher. [See
vol. li. p. 4i*<.| Ottomaro Lusciiiio was a Itarned Benedictine monk,
ami native ol Stra^buru. His work is in two parts; the first con-
taining a description of the Musical Instruments in his lime, and
tiin Mther thi^ rudiments of the science. To these are added two
cummeiitai-ies, cuiitaiUiUg the precepts of polyphonic music.




maro Luscinio Argentina duohus Lihris ahsoluta. i keys of the organ (which instrument wag
Argentorali opud loannem Schoftum, Anno vented about the middle of the 7th centu
Christi, 1536. The following is a facsimile with additional marks for the flats and sha
of the specimen alluded to, as applied to the I in keeping with the rest of the notation ; —


f g a


cfi d=

fe G" b


C« de

f'G^ b

c d

f IK



cc= dd«

cc dd ee


The circumstance of Irish names being
attached to the 24 musical measures in tlie
British Museum MS. alluded to, has led to
the erroneous conclusion that Wales derived the
whole of her music from Ireland, at the time
of Gryffudd ab Cynan ; when, as is allegeil,
the measures were constructed. Even Welsh
chroniclers, such as Giraldus Cambrensis, Caradoc,
Powel, and others, have made this statement in
their works upon the strength of the circumstance
aUuded to ; it is, therefore, not surprising that
Gunn, Walker, Bunting, Sir Jolin Hawkins,
and other modern writers, should have been de-
ceived by relying upon such apparently good
authiirity. But, independently of the extreme
dissimilarity of the Welsh and Irish music that
has been handed down to us, it happens that
other parts of the document bear ample testi-
mony to the contrary. The Welsh had their
24 metres (or measures) in poetry, as well as
their 24 athletic games ; and the following
circumstance is in favour of their possessing their
musical measures centuries prior to Gryffudd ab
Cynan. Among the ancient pieces included in
the manuscript, is one bearing the following title,
and written in one of the 24 measures — Mac Mien
hyr — Gosterj ijr Halen (,' Prelude to tlie Salt ' ), and
at the end is the following account concerning it :
'Tervyn Gosteg yr Halen, yr hon a vyddid yn ei
chanu o vlaen Marchogion Arthur pan roid y Salter
a'r halen ar y bwrdd' — 'Here ends the Prelude
to the Salt, which used to be performed before
the Knights of King Arthur, when the Salt-cellar
was placed on the table ' — that is, if the tradition
can be sustained, the middle of the 6th century,
ivhen King Arthur is supposed to have flourished.
In the manuscript, the notation is as follows : —

Dec^ -p Gosteg yr Halen.

Bys hyd y Marc :
a'r diwedd yma
sy ar ol pob

o'r diwedd
etto hyd y-
ma, a'r ail
tro hyd y
marc, ac
velly ter.
vyn y di-

»• a"

g' g-

f f

f f



a c

c c

a c a

a c a

fi ff fi

g cog




CI 01

Cl -CI

ai ai

g" gi

ai ai

ai ai

g- a- a- 1

f i

fifffi ff


3 e
f g-di fi c


c d d c

e f e
c d e c

g cc g CC
Cl Cl

gl gl

fi fffi ff

C 1 Cl

ai ai

gcc gcc

Cl Cl

gl gl

The above specimen consists merely of the thgi
to which there are twelve valuations ;
althouffh the counterpoint is very primitive,!
the whole is written for the Crwth, it is
without interest, as having been handed do
from a remote period, and being thus, perhaps,
most ancient specimen of music in existei
Those who wish to look further into the ma)
will find the theme and variatious, with the
musical measures, etc., transcribed into mod
notation and published in the second edition
the ' My vj'rian Archaeology of Wales.'

It is also asserted that even the keys used
Welsh Music were brought over from Ireland
the same time as the twenty-four measures. F
keys are mentioned in the manuscript : —

1. Is-gyioair — the low key, or key of C.

2. Cras-gyivair — the sharp key, or key of C

3. Lleddf-gyioair — the flat key, or key of]

4. Go-gywair — the key with a flat or mi]
third ; the remainder of the Scale, in every oi
respect, being major.

5. Bragod-gywair — called the minor or mb

A curious circumstance is related by two We
historians. Dr. John David Ehys and John Bl
dderch, as having occurred in the middle of the '
century : — ' King Cadwaladr sat in an Eiste
fod, assembled for the purpose of regulating '
bards, and taking into consideration their p
ductions and performances, and of giving lawi
music and poetry. A bard who played upon '
harp in. presence of this illustrious assembly!
key called Is gyivair, ar y iragod dannau (in
low pitch and in the minor or mixed key), wh
displeased them much, was censured for
inharmonious effect he produced. The key
which he played was that of Fibau Morvy
i.e. "Caniad Pibau Morvydd sydd ar y brai
gywair." (The song of Morvydd's Pi_
in the minor or mixed key.) He was t)
ordered, under great penalties, whenever
came before persons skilled in the art, to ad
that of Mtoynen Gwynedd, " the pleasing meli
of North Wales," which the royal associates i
gave out, and preferred. They even deer
that none couid sing or play with true harm'
but with Mwynen Gwynedd, because that wa;
a key which consisted of notes that formed ]
feet concords, whilst the other was of a mi
nature.' This incident possibly arose frou
general desire to suppress an attempt to in
duce into Wales the pentatonic, or so-ca
bcotch Scale, where the foui-th and leading )


;he key are omitted, a fact which accomitg
the peculiar effect produced upon a cultivated
by the Scotch bugpipe of the present day.where
music passes from minor to relative major, and
k, without the least regard for the tonic and
linant drones of the original key, which con-
letosound. The story, if true, would show that
Welsh were already in possession of a Scale or
J, which, by their own showing, consisted of
3S that formed perfect concords ; whereas
other, which they objected to, was of a mixed
jre, neither major nor minor, but a mixture
he two — which is not altogether an inapt way
[escribing the pentatonic or Scotch Scale.
lie ' Caiiiad Pibau Morvydd' (The Song of
rvydd's Pipes), above alluded to, is also in-
led in the ancient manuscript,
'he 'twenty- four measures 'consisted of a given
iber of repetitions of the chords of the tonic
dominant, according to the length of each
.sure, and are represented by the following
ks, 1 standing for the tonic chord, and
the dominant : —

Long Measure (Mac y Mwn Hir.)
nooooioioiiuooooiou or iiu iru 1 1 1 1 im xui 1 1 1 1-



1 modem notation


4— I— 1— L

t^283h*-S~«~»~F:g — g — *— »d
— ' " > * ■ ~*~i~ « ■ — • — S^

Short Measure (Mac y Mwn Byr.)

ft X ft
uoomi or u u im-

positions of the chords are arranged so as
tdmit of their being played on the open
igs of the Crwth.

hese measures do not appear in Welsh music
p the date to which the manuscript refers,
rcumstance which may be considered most
jnate ; for, though well adapted to their
)ose at that early period, viz. for the guid-
i of performers on the Harp and Crwth
le latter being used as an accompaniment
he Harp — had such rules remained in force,
' would have rendered the national music of
es intensely monotonous and uninteresting,
thoroughly destroyed all freedom of imagi-
on in musical composition ; whereas, it is
arkable for its beauty of melody, richness of
nony and variety of construction.

Printed Collections of Welsh Melodies.

cient British Music. John Parry of Ehuabon.
li. 1742.

[ilsh, English, and Scotch Airs. John Parry of
|ibon. Vol. ii. No date.

itish Harmony, Ancient "Welsh Airs. John Parry
inabon. Vol. iii. 1781.

Eelicks of the Welsh Bards. Edward Jones (Bardd y
Brenml. Vol. i. 179+.

Bardic Museum. Edward Jones (Bardd y Brenin)
V ol. 11. 1,502.

Cambro-British Melodies. Edward Jones (Bardd y
Brenin). Vol. iii. No date.

Welsh Melodies. John Parry (Bardd Alaw). 1809.
TOO, ® "^elsn Harper. John Parry (Bardd Alaw). Vol.i.
183 ) ; vol. 11, 1848.

Original Welsh Airs, arranged by Haydn and Bee-
thoven George Thompson, Edinburgh. Vol. i, 1809 ;
vol. 11, ISU : vol. iii, 1814. = • .

British Melodies. John Dovaston, Dublin. Parti.
1S17 ; part ii. 1820.

Welsh Melodies. J. Thompson. 1817
^^Cambrian Harmony. Eichard Eoberts of Caernarvon.

The Ancient Airs of Gwent and Morganwg Miss
Jane Williams of Aberpergwm. 1844.
The Cambrian Minstrel. John Thomas of Merthyr.

Welsh National Airs. John Owen (Owain Alaw) of
Chester. 1st series, 1860 ; 2nd series, 1861 : 3rd series
1SC2 ; 4th series, 1864.

Welsh Melodies. John Thomas fPencerdd Gwalia) of
London. Vols, i and ii, 1862 ; vol. iii, 1870 ; vol. iv, 1874.

MS. Collections.
The Welsh manuscript mentioned in the fore-
going article as in the British Museum is in Add.
MS. 14,905. The writing shows it to be of the
date of Charles I. It came to the Museum
from the ' Welsh School.' The book contains
the name of Lewis Morris 1742, and Richard
Morris, Esq., 1771, and the following MSS.

Fol 3. Cerdd Dannan. Extract from an old Manu-
script of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn.

3a. Copy of an order by Elizabeth as to the bestowal
of a Silver Harp on the best harper. 1567.

4a. Drawing of the harp 1I6 strings). Title— 'Musica
neu Beroriaeth. The tollowing Manuscript is the
Musick of the Britains, as settled by a Congress, or
Meeting of Masters of Music, by order of Gryffudd ap
Cynan, Prince of Wales, about a.d. 1040; with some
of the most antient pieces of the Britains, supposed to
have been handed down to us from the British Druids;
in Two Parts (i. e. Bass and Treble) for the Crwth. This
Manuscript was wrote by Eobert ap Huw of Bodwigen
in Anglesey, in Charles ye Ists time. Some Parts 01 it
copied then, out of Wm. Penllyn's Book."

The MS. up to f. 10 (including the above) is in a later
hand, apparently written about 1783, which date occurs
in it. At f. 10 the old music begins, the writing is
about the early part of the 17th cent. The music is in
tablature— the words are Welsh. At fol. 58 is (appar-
ently) a draft of a letter in English, dated 1648. At fol. 59
the later hand begins again, with extracts from Welsh
works, and MSS. relating to Welsh Music. The whole
MS. contains 64 ff.

The portion containing the Ancient Music is
printed in vol. iii. of the ' Myvyrian Archaeology
of Wales' (1807). See Transactions Cymmro-
dorion Soc. i. 361.

Other collections of Welsh music in the Mu-
seum are, Ad. MS. 14,939, 'Collections by R.
Morris, 1779.' ^°- I5>02i, Account of the Old
Welsh Notation. Do. 15,036, Tracts on ancient
Welsh Music transcribed by Hugh Maurice for
0. Jones, from a MS. by John Jones. [J.T.]

WELSH TRIPLE HARP {Telyn dair-r7ies\
This instrument has three rows of strings ; the
two outside rows being tuned in unison, accord-
ing to the diatonic scale, and the inner row tuned
so as to supply the flats and sharps required to
complete the chromatic scale.

The Welsh Triple Harp is the only instrument
of its kind that has ever been known with the
strings on the right side of the comb ; thereby



necessitating its being tuned with the tuning-
hammer in' the left hand, which is exceedingly
Awkward to any one who is not left-handed.
This also explains why it is held on the left
shoulder, and played upon with the left hand in
the treble and the right hand in the bass, so
as to leave a full view of the strings ; otherwise
■the comb would inconveniently intercept the

Vincentio Galileo, in his 'Dissertation on An-
cient and Modem Music,' published in Florence
in 15S1, states that adouble
harp (or harp with two rows
of strings) was common in
Italy in his day. It con-
sisted of a diatonic scale on
the right side from the upper
part down to the centre of
the instrument, with an-
other row of accidentals on
the opposite side, to be
played, when required, by
putting the finger through ;
and the diatonic scale con-
tinued on the left side from
the centre to the lower part
of the instrument, with tlie
accidentals on the other row
on the opposite side. This
shows that it was played on
with the right hand in the
treble and the left in the

Galileo alleges that Italy
derived this instrument from
Ireland ; but it is difficult
to conceive how the Irish
could have possessed such a

Online LibraryGeorge GroveA dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) → online text (page 106 of 194)