Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/458

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��maro Luscinio Argentina dudbus Libris absoluta. Argentorati apud loannem Schottum, Anno Christi, 1536. The following is a fac-simile of the specimen alluded to, as applied to the


keys of the organ (which instrument was in- vented about the middle of the 7th century), with additional marks for the flats and sharps, in keeping with the rest of the notation :


G? b_

�� ��III

f e G e b

�� ��d


�� �� ��cc 6 dd



��The circumstance of Irish names being attached to the 24 musical measures in the 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 alleged, 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 alluded to; it is, therefore, not surprising that Gunn, Walker, Bunting, Sir John Hawkins, and other modern writers, should have been de- ceived by relying upon such apparently good authority. 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 byr Gosteg yr Halen (' Prelude to the 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 roidy 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, when King Arthur is supposed to have flourished. fn the manuscript, the notation is as follows :

Declire Gosteg yr Halen.

��a* a'

�g* r

�i f

�f ?

� �f


� � � �c c

�c c

�a c a

�a c a

�Byu hyd y Marc :

�fi ff fi

�g ocg

�fi fffi


�a'r diwedd yma sy ar ol pob

�Cl C|

�C| Cl

�Cl C|

�Cl 'C|


�ai ai

�gl gl

�ai ai

�ai ai

� �**



�Bys y cwbyl

�g' a- a- g-

�5 e

�1 1

�ef e

�o'r diwedd

�f f

�f g'di fi c

�c d d c

�c d e c

�etto hyd y- ma, a'r ail

�fiff fi ff

�g oc g cc

�fi fffi ff


�tro hyd y marc, ac

�Cl Cl

�Cl Cl

�Cl Cl

�C| C|

�velly ter-

�ai ai

�Si gl

�ai at

�gl gl

�vyn y di- wedd.

��The above specimen consists merely of the theme, to which there are twelve variations; and although the counterpoint is very primitive, and the whole is written for the Crwth, it is not without interest, as having been handed down from a remote period, and being thus, perhaps, the most ancient specimen of music in existence. Those who wish to look further into the matter will find the theme and variations, with the 24 musical measures, etc., transcribed into modern notation and published in the second edition of the ' My vyrian Archaeology of Wales.'

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

1. Is-gywair the low key, or key of C.

2. Cras-gywair the sharp key, or key of G.

3. Lleddf-gywair the flat key, or key of F.

4. Go-gywair the key with a flat or minor third ; the remainder of the Scale, in every other respect, being major.

5. Bragod-gywair called the minor or mixed key.

A curious circumstance is related by two Welsh historians, Dr. John David Rhys and John Rhy- dderch, as having occurred in the middle of the 7th century : ' King Cadwaladr sat in an Eistedd- fod, assembled for the purpose of regulating the bards, and taking into consideration their pro- ductions and performances, and of giving laws to music and poetry. A bard who played upon the harp in presence of this illustrious assembly in a key called Is gywair, ar y braffod dannau (in the low pitch and in the minor or mixed key), which displeased them much, was censured for the inharmonious effect he produced. The key in which he played was that of Pibau Morvydd, i. e. "Caniad Pibau Morvydd sydd ar y bragod gywair." (The song of Morvydd's Pipes is in the minor or mixed key.) He was then ordered, under great penalties, whenever he came before persons skilled in the art, to adopt that of Mwynen Gwynedd, " the pleasing melody of North Wales," which the royal associates first gave out, and preferred. They even decreed that none could sing or play with true harmony but with Mwynen G-wynedd, because that was in a key which consisted of notes that formed per- fect concords, whilst the other was of a mixed nature.' This incident possibly arose from a general desire to suppress an attempt to intro- duce into Wales the pentatonic, or so-called Scotch Scale, where the fourth and leading note

�� �