Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/452

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


436

��WELSH MUSIC.

��coincide, as in the case of the plaintive air ' Morva Rhuddlan 1 (Rhuddlan Marsh). 'At this time,' says Parry in his 'Royal Visits,' 'a general action took place between these parties, upon Rhuddlan Marsh, Flintshire. The Welsh, who were com- manded in this memorable conflict by Caradoc, King of North Wales, were defeated with dread- ful slaughter, and their leader was killed on the field. All who fell into the hands of the Saxon Prince were ordered to be massacred. According to tradition, the Welsh who escaped the sword of the conqueror, in their precipitous flight across the marsh, perished in the water by the flowing of the tide.' Tradition says that the plaintive melody, ' Morva Rhuddlan,' was composed by Caradoc's Bard immediately after the battle, A.D. 795.

Morva Rhuddlan. (The Plain of Rhuddlan.) Mournfully.

�� ��One of the finest melodies of this class is Davydd y Garreg Wen David of the White Rock ; and although there is no historical account concerning it, it is, nevertheless, supposed to be very ancient. Tradition says that a Bard of this name, lying on his deathbed, called for his harp, composed this touching melody, and desired that it should be played at his funeral.

Davydd y Garreg Wen. (David of the White Rock.) Plaintively.

��WELSH MUSIC.

The following is also one of the most pathetic melodies, and supposed to be very ancient.

Torriad y Dydd. (The Dawn of Day.) Andante. tr

���There is no denying that Welsh music is more artistic than either that of the Scotch or the Irish, and on that account it may, to a superficial observer, appear more modern ; but to those who are acquainted with the harp, the national in- strument of Wales, with its perfect diatonic scale, the apparent inconsistency disappears. This is admitted by the most eminent writers on music, among others, by Dr. Crotch. In the first volume of his Specimens 1 of the various styles of music, referred to in his course of lectures, he writes as follows :

British and "Welsh music may be considered as one, since the original British music was, with the inhabi- tants, driven into Wales. It must be owned that the regular measure and diatonic scale of the Welsh music is more congenial to the English taste in general, and ap- pears at first more natural to experienced musicians* than those of the Irish and Scotch. Welsh music not only solicits an accompaniment, but, being chiefly com- posed for the harp, is usually found with one; and, indeed, in harp tunes, there are often solo passages for the bass as well as for the treble. It often resembles the scientific music of the 17th and 18th centuries, and there is, I believe, no probability that this degree of refinement was an introduction of later times. . . . The- military music of the Welsh seems superior to that of any other nation. ... In the Welsh marches, ' The March of the men of Har.lech,' ' Captain Morgan's March,' and also a tune called 'Come to Battle,' there is not too much noise, nor is there vulgarity nor yet misplaced science. They have a sufficiency of rhythm without it* injuring the dignified character of the whole.

We give the melodies of the three marches mentioned.

Rhyfelgyrch Gwyr Harlech. (March of the Men of Harlech.) 2

��� �� ��i See vol. 111. p. 648-650.

a Many alterations have recently crept Into the ordinary version*, of this tune ; but the above is the form in which It Is given by Edward Jones in his Bellclu of the Welsh Bards,' 1791.

�� �