Welsh Traditional Music

Welsh Traditional Music

I Know that this site is designed to spread Irish Trad. Music
But I have a small collection of Welsh traditional music, would anybody mind if I posted it?

P.S.
Thanks to those who helped my with the 5yr old!!!

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

I wouldn’t mind at all. You just might want to note that it’s Welsh when you post it. There’s some great stuff there.

Frank

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Great idea! Ireland and Wales are separated by only a small strip of sea and there must have been a lot of cultural to-and-froing over the centuries, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Irish tunes are found in Wales and vice versa.
That fine old Welsh tune The Ash Grove appeared on this site in September, and I posted some Welsh lyrics to it about a week ago.
trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

I’m interested, so long as Jeremy doesn’t mind.

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Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Fine with me - as long as they fit into the meters we already have on the site; jig, reel, hornpipe, etc.

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

There’s a fantastic lot of Welsh traditional music around - in fact it’s inspired me to buy a Welsh triple harp to go with my Celtic and Paraguayan ones. While investigating Venezuelan folk music I was struck with some of the parallels with Welsh music.

I’m not an expert in the similarities but I’d be surprised if there weren’t lots of cross-connections particularly between anything you might describe as "celtic".

Mark

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

For people who don’t speak Welsh, it might be an idea to note the pronunciation of the names in the comments section as it’s not self-evident, even to speakers of Irish or Scottish Gaelic which are a completely different branch of the language family. It would also be nice to know what the names mean.

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

I have a book of Welsh Hornpipes, called ‘Tro Llaw’. Would anyone like it? I’ve given up on trying to learn tunes from books, I’m useless at it. (You could also read that as ‘too lazy to persevere…’)

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Re: Welsh Traditional Music - Welsh pronunciation

Unlike its Gaelic counterparts, Welsh spelling is reasonably phonetic, and what you see is more or less what you get.
If you take "Croen A Ddafad Felan" (the tune posted the other day) for example, the "oe" is as "oy" in "boy", the "dd" is pronounced as a hard "th" as in "that", and the single "f" is a hard "v" sound. My name in Welsh would be spelled "Trefor" but still pronounced "Trevor".
A double f - "ff" - is always pronounced as the "f" in "father", and "ll" is a sound peculiar to Welsh - it is a sort of whispered "l" where you let air escape down the side of the mouth (more or less!).
"w" is a "oo" sound.
Regarding "u" and "y" it is probably easier for non-Welsh speakers to use the southern Welsh pronunciation which, for both vowels, is either "ee" as in "deep" or "i" as in "dip". In North Welsh the sound of "u" and "y" can be more like a sound you get in Russian.
Other sounds shouldn’t present a much of a problem to most people.

As in the other Celtic languages, the beginning of a Welsh word may change according to the grammatical structure of the phrase. This is called "front mutation" and is, not unexpectedly, a pitfall for a beginner using a dictionary. For instance, "ddafad" in the tune above is the mutated form of "dafad", meaning "sheep".

I don’t propose to translate titles of Welsh tunes - that should be done by whoever posts them!

trevor (trefor)

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

We don’t seem to have the same kind of pride about our "National Music" than other countries. There’s a general feeling of "it’s god awful".

I’d love to see what you’ve got though, i’ll start to appreciate it again. =)

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Cait
Yes, it’s the old, old story of grass being greener the other side of the fence, or a prophet having no honour in his own country.

trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Trevor - Cait - how true! I posted the comment earlier about how wonderful Welsh / Venezuelan etc music is - but I don’t necessarily think that about traditional music from my own country (England)!

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Its true isnt it, I hate australian bush music, and so do most people I know. I havent heard enough welsh music to make up my mind yet which is funny cause my dads welsh and he plays irish and his dad played irish as well.

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Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Croen=Skin or Hide a=And, Ddafad=Skin, And for some strange reason even though I speak Welsh, I don’t know what "Felan" Means, anyone out there know? Thanks Trevor you really hit the nail on the head with the pronunciation!

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

What was I thinking: Ddafad=Sheep

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Dafydd
I haven’t been able to find "melan" (the unmutated form of "felan") in my Welsh dictionary but I’ll make a guess that it should have been "felen", which is the mutated form of "melen". "Melen" is the feminine form of the adjective "melyn" meaning "yellow" and would be grammatically correct because "dafad" is a feminine noun. So there may be some sort of sense in talking about a "yellow sheep". Perhaps "melan" is an old or rare form of "melen".

trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Hey Trefor thanks for the pronunciation guide!

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

David
Thanks for the input! "melan" meaning "melancholy" (same root I wonder?) makes even better sense. When it comes to the crunch you can’t beat the big dictionaries.

trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

I dunno, I think ‘yellow sheep’ makes more sense. If you look at the real colour, they’re nowhere near white, really - more of a grubby yellow in actual fact, especially on a nice wet muddy Welsh hillside.
How could you tell if a sheep was melancholy? They always look a bit dour…
And, I may be a bit worse for wear after my work Christmas lunch - but shouldn’t it be ‘Croen *y* ddafad felan’? Ah well, no point trying to remember my O level Welsh after half a bottle of Rioja…
Iechyd Da!

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Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Yes, Helen, I think you’ve cracked the puzzle. There must have been a misreading, mishearing or mistyping somewhere along the the line. If the "a" in that Welsh tune title is replaced by "y", then the whole thing makes grammatical and logical sense - "Croed y ddafad felan" = "Hide of the yellow (or sad?) sheep".
trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

The typo pixie strikes again! "Croen" not "croed" in my previous posting!
trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Thanks with the help with the tune title, I’ll be posting more tunes tomorrow, this time with easy to understand names (like "Ty A Gardd" (House and Garden). By the way, as I’m new to ABC notation, how do you make slurs or semi quavers in ABC?

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

It’s strange…

I always sortof thought Irish & Welsh were closely related (even though I don’t know much about Welsh) but the words mentioned & the words I know are really quite different.

The only one which is similar, which has been mentioned, is the word "Mawr" or Big in The Big Dictionary. It’s similar to the Irish word for big or great, "mor". Anyone out there speak both Irish & Welsh and can comment?

Just saw your note
Dafydd:Ty & T

ABC notation

Dafydd, for slurs use brackets, and use /2 to make your notes half as long. Before you go ahead and submit loads of tunes, I’d advise that you learn how to use ABC properly. Once you’ve submitted you’re passing on the tune to people worldwide who might not have access to other versions of it to compare (unlike most of the Irish stuff), and if the tune doesn’t represent what you play the whole point of submitting it is lost. (Remember that there aren’t that many people posting Welsh tunes on the net). Also, although you can edit the ABC after you’ve submitted, the sheetmusic is set in stone, so if you make a mistake, people who don’t read the ABC will get it warts and all. Try this link and have a good read:
http://perun.hscs.wmin.ac.uk/~jra/abcMIDI/abcguide.txt
Mark

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

…Also you could look at the ABC that other people have posted on this site and learn by example - that’s probably the best way.

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Searai

The Celtic languages, which once spread over a vast area of Europe and Asia Minor comprising the Roman Empire and way beyond, are today restricted to small areas of North-West Europe. Today’s Celtic languages are divided into two distinct families. The first comprises Irish, Scots-Gaelic, and Manx (extinct). The second comprises Welsh, Breton, and Cornish (died out 200 years ago but now revived and flourishing). Breton is not a remnant of Continental Celtic but comes from Cornish and Welsh settlers in Britanny in the 5/6th centuries AD.

The modern Celtic languages all share the same basic grammatical structure but nevertheless have clear-cut differences. For instance, where a Welsh word commences with p-, its Irish counterpart may well commence with a hard c-, as the Welsh word for "head" is "pen" whereas the Irish is "ceann". My former Classics tutor, a native Scots-Gaelic speaker, was of the opinion, based on personal experience, that Irish and Scots-Gaelic speakers can understand each other and read each others’ languages - a bit like the relationship between Spanish and Portugese. Cornish also is recognisably very close to Welsh.

The two Celtic language families, however, are sufficiently different from each other for it to be difficult for speakers from the two families to understand one another or to read each others’ language without further study. Spelling and pronunciation differences between Welsh and Irish are an obvious issue. Welsh pronunciation is fairly easy for a foreigner (i.e. an English person) to learn and has an immediate and obvious correspondence with the spelling. Irish pronunication, on the other hand, is not quite so easy and its correspondence with the spelling is not so obvious. But it should be significantly easier for a Irish speaker to learn Welsh, and vice versa, than it is for an English speaker to learn either.

Trevor

Apparently, there’s supposed to be a mysterious enclave of people in Patagonia who speak Welsh. Presumably descended from Welsh-speaking settlers.

Trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Yes - there was a 19th Century migration of Welsh settlers to Patagonia. They had a tragically hard time, but survived in the end and their descendents are still there. I was recently clearing through some stuff and found an O-level history essay I’d written on the subject… long-forgotten stuff…

Here’s a link to a bit of info:

http://www.patagonia-argentina.com/i/content/la_gente_galesa.htm

x H

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Re: Welsh Traditional Music

By the way - the book of Welsh tunes is on its way to Trevor, apologies to anyone else who wanted it. I’m sure he will post some choice tunes up from it, though! :-)

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Re: Welsh Traditional Music

That tune name is indeed "The Yellow Sheepskin" - I’ve just found some different versions of it by doing a JC’s search for "croen".

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

The ‘melan’ in melancholy comes from Greek, and means something like ‘dark’ or ‘black’ (cf. melanin, melanoma). Still, it’s all relative, and yellow is definitely darker than white, so there could be a connection. In Latvian, ‘melns’ means ‘black’, while in Lithuanian, its closest relative, ‘melynas’ means ‘blue’ - so imagine the scope for semantic divergence in languages as far removed as Greek and Welsh.

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

Classical Greek and Latin weren’t very well provided for when it came to describing colours. Of course, the Greeks and Romans could see all the millions of different colours in the spectrum, but they didn’t see any reason to have words describing a large number of colours, as we do. So there’s often some doubt about exactly what particular colour a word might refer to. For instance, the Homeric epithet "wine-dark" applied to the sea still causes problems today.

trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

…. I believe that in Welsh there is one word - "glas" - for both blue and green. I know that the Irish uses exactly the same word for green, but does it have another word for blue?

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

David, my Welsh dictionary gives "glas" for "blue", and "gwyrdd" for "green". For Irish, not having an Irish dictionary (yet!) I had a look in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland which gives the tune titles in Irish as well as English. From this I determined that the Irish for "blue" is "gorm", and for "green" it is "glas" - here is scope for confusion!

trevor

Re: Welsh Traditional Music

I’ve got some great Welsh tunes that we play around here in North Wales, some of which are in the hornpipe book Tro Llaw collated by that brilliant triple harp player Robin Huw Bowen. One that I love is Nyth y Gog - Cuckoo’s Nest…there are a few versions of this tune. I’d post them on site but I haven’t worked out how to do it? Help please. Re: glas, literary Welsh says ‘glaswellt’ for grass or gwellt so as a prefix it literally translates as bluegrass! Wendy

Welshj Traditional Music

On the subject of Welsh traditional music, maybe someone out there might like to know about CLERA which is the society for promoting the traditional music of Wales (Folk dance music). It has been going a few years but only recently raised its profile with a smashing concert at y Galeri, in Caernarfon last winter.

They run 3 workshops a year (1 each in North, mid and South Wales) - the next being in Aberystwyth this coming Saturday, 26th May. They favour workshops for Harps, Fiddles, Pibgorns, Crwth and Flutes/Whistles - as being more traditional. However, any one can go along to the evening Session (this time in The Orangerie) 7.30 onwards.

For info ring 01248 601030 or 07974 935755, or email tyddynuchaf@ukonline.co.uk