This is from a collection in the National Library of Wales (Tro Llaw). Taken at speed this should be a lively and wild hornpipe.
Just a guess, but I wonder if the title of this tune is a reference to the Napoleonic Wars between the UK and France in the 19th century.
Perhaps the reason Welsh traditional music isn’t quite as popular as Irish is simply that the tunes are too damned difficult to play…
Not all the Welsh tunes are necessarily all that difficult, as I hope you’ll see in due course; it’s just that the last two I’ve posted have been among the more spectacular of their kind. There’s far more technically difficult stuff in the Irish corpus - one or two of the variations in The Mason’s Apron come to mind.
I think some of the apparent difficulties in Welsh music for instruments other than the fiddle may be because many of these tunes were written by or adapted by harpists, in which case it must be quite permissible to make suitable modifications to the tune to suit your instrument - composers and players have been doing this for centuries. Let’s see a version for the mandolin posted here sometime!
From what I’ve seen so far of the Welsh hornpipes - some of which have obvious Irish and Scottish equivalents - there are none that are beyond the capabilities of a fiddle player. It’s just that some require the player to use the 4th position and to be familiar with arpeggios. That’s no big deal, fiddle players should aim to have the ability to play in higher positions in their technical baggage, and scales and arpeggios are an essential part of everyday practice.
If you are a member of The Session, log in to add a comment.
If you aren’t a member of The Session yet, you can sign up now. Membership is free, and it only takes a moment to sign up.