Pibddawns Rhif Wyth hornpipe

Also known as Figure 8, The Figure 8, Figure Eight, The Figure Eight, Figure Of 8, The Figure Of 8, Figure Of Eight, The Figure Of Eight, Number 8, Number Eight, Rhif Wyth.

There are 8 recordings of this tune.

Pibddawns Rhif Wyth has been added to 19 tunebooks.

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Two settings

Sheet Music333
Sheet Music333
Sheet Music33333
Sheet Music333
Sheet Music
Sheet Music3
Sheet Music3
Sheet Music33

Fifteen comments

“Rhif Wyth” ~ a lovely hornpipe / pibddawns

I know I’ve come across this elsewhere, but that light hasn’t lit bright enough yet to show me that particular corner. For the 7th measure and also for the 8th measure in both parts A & B you can use them interchangeably…

So you could use, as many do ~ | d>BG>B (3cBA F>A | in both instances for the 7th measures… I like the ‘2nd ending’ feel of using them both, as given in this particular transcription…

“Rhif Wyth”

Rhif = number, translated here as ‘figure’
Wyth = 8, eight

Rhif ~ hrrr-eev
Wyth ~ ooy-th ~ ‘th’ as in the English ‘both’ or ‘this’, unaspirated

Ceolachan - Can you explain what you mean by ‘unaspirated’?

The ‘th’ in ‘both’ and ‘this’ (at least, the way I pronounce them) represents two different sounds - unvoiced and voiced, respectively. I have always believed that, in Welsh, ‘th’ is voiced, whilst ‘dd’ represents the unvoiced equivalent.

Would the title be a reference to a particular dance figure, or did it just appear as the 8th tune in some book or manuscript?

I ‘sometimes’ lose it 😉 ~ ‘voiceless’ & ‘voiced’ / ‘aspirated’ & ‘unaspirated’

‘TH’ voiced = as in ‘the’ / ‘them’ / ‘those’ / ‘this’ / ‘that’ / ‘bathe’ / ‘breathe’

‘TH’ unvoiced = as in ‘thistle’ / ‘think’ / ‘thread’ / ‘thimble’ / ‘thorn’ / ‘theramin’ / ‘wreath’ / ‘bath’ / ‘both’ / ‘pith’

‘Voiced’ is when the vocal chords vibrate to create the sound, while ‘Voiceless’ is when the sound is made without the vocal chores ~ only using breath / air and the mouth, lips and toungue to shape the breath and tone… ‘Aspirated’ is when there is a puff of air, while ‘Unaspirated’ is when there is very little or none… There are varying degrees. Generally ‘both’ and ‘this’ are not the same ‘TH’… ‘This’ has the buzz in the throat while ‘Both’ does not, in general practice and across a lot of dialects and variations in English…

In regular practice there isn’t much that isn’t aspirated to at least some degree. Just to repeat things, ‘Voiced’ is when the vocal chords vibrate to make the sound, and ‘Unvoiced’ or ‘Voiceless’ is when they do not and the sound is just air moving from the lungs, through the mouth, past the tongue and lips and these act in a way of obstruction and direction to give them sound…

Aspiration is sometimes described as a stong burst of air, and one test of this is to place the flat of your palm in front of your mouth to determine that level of force, or a candle will do. It is really more applicable to the interaction between consonants and vowels ~ try ‘booth’ and ‘boast’, or ‘hoot’ and ‘hot’…

“Rhif Wyth” / “Figure of Eight” ~ some history

The following is from the work of Hugh Mellor, who collected and arranged Welsh music in the ealry 20th Century… He gave this tune as “Rhif Wyth” and his translation of this, and it may have been the other way around, was “Figure of Eight”, which does suggest association with a dance movement or figure. I’ll have to check through his work, which I think I’ve got here in the house somewhere. Here is a take on it closely based on his transcription, for which he says:

“As noted from Mrs. Gryfydd Richards, Llanover, 1926” ~

K: F Major
|: A>G |
F2 c2 B>AG>F | B>AB>c B2 A>G | F2 c2 B>AG>F | c>=Bc>d c>BA>G |
F2 c>F B>AG>F | B2 (3cde f2 e>d | C>AF>A B>GE>G | F2 A2 F2 :|
|: (3cde |
f>FA>c f>ed>c | B>df>d B>df>d | g>G=B>d g>fe>d | c>eg>e c>eg>e |
f2 (3ABc f>ed>c | d>DF>B d2 e>d | c>AF>A B>G (3EFG | F2 A2 F2 :|

To continue on the phonetic thread, my prior understanding of voiced/unvoiced and aspirated/unaspirated consonants agrees pretty much with your definition. But I don’t understand how the question is relevant to ‘th’. Is ‘th’ ever aspirated in either English or Welsh?


Unless you have some reason why you don’t make a distinction, there are two very different ways to sound ‘TH’, voiced and unvoiced, and the ‘voiced’ tends to be more aspirated that the unvoiced, which is where I first caused confusion… In English the ‘TH’ of ‘THE’ is very different from the ‘TH’ in ‘THING’. Don’t confuse it with the voiced sounds that follow the ‘TH’, or ‘~ING’… But, who knows, you may be an anomally that needs closer studying, especially if you only have the one way to sound ‘TH’…

“DD” ~ and not a brand for cattle…

The equivalent aspirated ‘TH’ sound yn Cymraeg / in Welsh is the double d ~

‘DD’ = aspirated ‘TH’… ~ like in Dafydd ( and the ‘f’ = ‘v’ )

“The ‘th’ in ‘both’ and ‘this’ (at least, the way I pronounce them) represents two different sounds - unvoiced and voiced, respectively. I have always believed that, in Welsh, ‘th’ is voiced, whilst ‘dd’ represents the unvoiced equivalent.”

I quote my own post from yesterday. I am in complete agreement with your explanation of voiced and unvoiced sounds.

The principal distinction I would make between the two sounds in question (in English) is one of voicing, not aspiration. I would not deign to argue with you over Welsh pronunciation, as I have only a rudimentary knowledge thereof.

“the ‘voiced’ tends to be more aspirated that the unvoiced”

The difference in degree of aspiration in the two ‘th’ sounds is not something I had given much thought to. However, I would have said the contrary - that the unvoiced is more aspirated than the voiced. As for Welsh, I should learn to order a cup of of tea before I start analysing the pronunciation.

‘dd’ is the voiced one and ‘th’ is the unvoiced…

As to ‘aspirated’ and ‘unaspirated’, yeah, there are degrees ~ and personal differences, nationally, locally and all on our lonesome ~ this is a good intro and explanation:


It is more about consonants, but I guess really the ‘th’ is that species…

‘Both’ is a good example of contrast, as also is ‘pith’. Hold you hand in front of your mouth and say both, the ‘b’ and the ‘p’ are obviously aspirated, slightly explosive, while the ‘th’ tends to bring the word to a close, though some folks ‘hiss’, unvoiced, afterwards, so the the air can continue to flow, but not exactly a ‘puff’ of air like is expelled in those initial consonants, a bit like the ‘t’ in ‘toke’ and ‘coat’, add the ‘h’ to make ‘th’ and one could make a corolation between ‘that’ and ‘path’… But I like the Wikipedia examples of ‘store’ and ‘tore’… Mind you, I could just be confused on the subject myself, since I was confusing ‘voice’ and ‘aspiration’…

But, about the Welsh, no, that’s not a confusion, ‘dd’ (‘ddrwg’) is voiced and ‘th’ (‘beth?’) is not, and neither is ‘rh’ (‘rhewi’)… Trust me… (HA!) 😉

“I was confusing ‘voice’ and ‘aspiration’…”

I’m glad you said that. Not that I wanted to outdo you - just that I was thinking there was something there that I always thought I understood but, in fact, didn’t.

“It is more about consonants, but I guess really the ‘th’ is that species…”

Absolutely. In phonetics, terms like ‘vowel’ and ‘consonant’ refer to the sounds themselves, not to the letters that represent them. The two (three, if we include words like ‘Thai’) sounds represented by ‘th’ in English are consonants in their own right - our alphabet no longer has seprarate letters to express them. It is most definitely not pronounced as a ‘t’ followed by an ‘h’, or an aspirated ‘t’ (except in some Irish accents).

I reckon ‘c’ is definitely confused 🙂

Nox ol’ budgie, yeah, I reckon it was the cidre…

Damn, now I can’t shake the image of an ‘old budgie’…another tale I’m not going to tell…