“Bwlch Llanberis” / “Difyrrwch Pawb a’i Clywo”
My preference for this is to play it more like an air or a slow march, but I have also played it as one of a set of waltzes, and I’ve played it in another set with swing ‘>’ as a pols / mazurka. For some idea of tempos, it can range from a low of approximately 70 beats per minute to a high of around 150 bpm. Examples of both ends would be ‘Cilmeri’ who take it light, leisurely and sweet as compared to the bouncier waltz take on it by ‘Saith Rhyfeddod’…
Bwlch = gap, pass, notch
Llanberis = the place, a placename
Pronunciation ~ a rough guide ~
Bwl ~ ‘bull’
ch ~ akin to the German ‘ch’ in Bach, back of the throat, tongue rattling against the soft palate like a growl
Ll ~ it’s the double ‘LL’ again, a kind of hiss, but out the sides of your tongue instead of straight forward ~ put the tip of your tongue on the hard palate behind your upper front teeth, then blow "UNVOICED" (no vocal chord vibrations) till the air escapes out both sides of the tongue ~ a hiss with a marked ‘L’ quality about it. Another way to think about it is say ‘L’, which is ‘VOICED’, then keep your tongue where it has gone, and just hiss without the vocal chords, just air passing out both sides of the tongue…
an ~ as ‘an’
ber ~ ‘bear’
is ~ issss (this time hour hissing up front, the ‘s’ unvoiced, not the ‘is’ in English, but ‘hiss’ without the ‘h’…
About the other title, I decided that will remain as an alternate, just so I don’t have to break down the pronuniciation… ;-)
What’s a pronuniciation? ~ some kind of initiation?
A tribute to the easiest cycle route in wales - 3 miles uphill and 8 miles downhill (travelling SE to NW). This July, I set out cycling from Chester to Holyhead. It dawned on me a mile or two outside Chester that I had not used my bike in almost two years. I endured 2.5 days of thigh cramps (and a sore back from my fiddle case), negotiating the unending succession of 1:5 hillocks, before reaching the Pass of Llanberis. After a nice steady climb of a few miles, I sat down for lunch at the foot of Snowdon (which was not being snowed on at the time) then rolled down the other side.
I’ve heard this tune before, either in Bangor or Llanidloes, or both.
SPOON!!! ~ RESPECT!!!
BBC Pronunciation ~ :-(
Please, please, please ~ don’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Difyrrwch Pawb a’i Clywo”
Difyrrwch = amusement / entertainment / recreation
Pawb = everybody / everyone
a = that
‘i ~ refers back to ‘Pawb’ / everybody / everyone
Clyw ~ Clywed = hearing / earshot / to hear
a’i Clywo = that hears it
~ Everyone’s delight that hears it…
Note on the transcription ~ 3 Xs
In case it needs explaining, the trainscription is once through the tune in D, then once through with swing along the lines of a mazurka / pols, then back to straight and once through in G, with some few alternate choices given as they go…
I’m no phoneticist, but I think a ‘LL’ could be described as an *aspirated* ‘L’.
Well, I did a course on phonetics at uni and from what I remember, the Welsh "ll" is a voiceless alveolar unilateral fricative, where voiceless = no vocal cord vibration, alveolar = the tongue is in contact with the alveolar ridge (as it is for the letter t or s), unilateral = air escapes from the side of the tongue (and, contrary to what ‘c’ said, one side only), and fricative = hissing sound made by air forced through narrow channel (the term "aspirated" is generally reserved for voiceless plosives p, t and k). And I just read a vaguely interesting piece of research that someone has done which concluded that the proportion of Welsh people who say ll through the right side of their tongue vs the left side is 3 to 1.
Noxious - You mean to say you’ve been sitting back watching us laypersons bicker over cod-phonetics for days while, all the time, you were a phonetics expert? No doubt you’ll be showing it to your linguistic cronies for a bit of light entertainment. All right - how much do we owe you to preserve our dignity?
” ~ voiceless alveolar unilateral fricative ~ “
Hmmmmm ~ I thought Jeremy had some sort of filter for swearing and cursing?
~ alveolar ridge ( as it is for the letter T or L )
No, it isn’t ONE SIDE ONLY ~ unless you’ve got your tongue sewed shut on one site, sorry Nox…course or not, you’re wrong here, at least from the point of those native Welsh speakers and teachers I’ve had walking around with two miniature cameras either side of their tongues… Also ‘S’ doesn’t close the tip of the tongue to the ‘alveolar ridge’ so is a poor comparison here…
Yeah, research my arse, and all my native Welsh speaking relatives and the folks I’ve talked to at the University of Wales are aliens and anormal??? ~ Hmmm, maybe they are?
But yeah ~ ‘aspirated’ it is, and apologies for getting confused and confusing others…
“LLLLLLLLLLLL ~ ” ( me hissing! )
It is ‘possible’, that more air may escape one side or the other ~ and maybe there are left and right-sided ‘LL’-ers? I am giving the ‘LL’ as I’ve been taught it by native speakers, and as they described it to me, including at the University of Wales, both the Lampeter and Aberystwyth campuses… That does mean that my education there is predominately of the Dyfed dialect, but I also have family that are Gogs, from the North, and also native speakers, Hwntws, from the South valleys as well…and a few whose specialty is their language, beyond just being native speakers. Hey, I even have a few fluent speaker friends, including Irish speakers who speak Welsh… And there’s all the damned books I’ve got scattered around here on the Welsh language… Anyway, this should be an interesting topic of discussion to raise with them all… :-/
~ starting with my native / first language Welsh / wife…
I love being wrong, so I will report back if I discover left-handed folk hiss out the left side of their tongue and right handed folk hiss out the right side ~ after I check a representative number of LL-ers… Hey, I’ve just been trying it and I get two completely different sounds now. I think the right side has more ‘rrrrrr’ about it… :-/
When I pronounce ‘LL’, most or all of the air does seem to come out on one side of my tongue (the right, just for the record). I am not, of course, a Welsh speaker, or even Welsh, but I was taught to say "Llanfairpwllgwyngychgogerychwyrndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch" at an early age - albeit by my Jewish mother who grew up in Liverpool (She was taken on holiday as a child to none other than Llanberis, whence her father, a keen hillwalker, would take her up Snowdon). Anyway, in order to produce what, to me, is my closest approximation to the ‘LL’ sound, I position my tongue in such a way that air escapes from only one side. I *can* do it with my tongue in a central postion, allowing air to flow equally on both sides, but it doesn’t happen naturally that way. Maybe I’m doing it all wrong.
“LL” ~ is coming around again, the next tune…
On the ‘aspirated’ and ‘voiced’ confusion ~ I should check things more often, as the way my brain is wired I can confuse things, especially in the same subject area, and worse since there can be correlations as well, such as ‘voiced and aspirated’…
I could never pass a test in my life. I keep at hand here a number of texts because of that, though I should use them more frequently. It isn’t an excuse, but it is a level of very high frustration for me that my brain doesn’t always work as I wish it would, definitely not on demand, especially with memory, to the point that a barrage of tests has me ‘certifiable’ ~ as ‘dyslexic’, primarily to do with memory. I still have a bad habit of calling myself or things I do ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’… And for certain folks close to me it was at times ‘dumb sh*t’, which still makes me wince… No, I don’t trust my memory, but I don’t check things as often as I probably should. Mind you, working with related terms I should know better. So, apologies again…
~ Das Shlllllllllllllllub… :-(
Left, Right & Both Sides Now ~ an ambidexterous Llyll-er!
Spoon ~ having played with ‘LL’ all three alternate ways, it shouldn’t matter, all three give a decent account for the sound. It does have me curious now though, as I’ve never questioned all those folks who’ve taught me ~ . I think it is grand if it is more open and varied than I’d been told, and maybe the choice will make it easier fro some folks, like maybe folks who can’t roll their tongues are incapable of ’ both sides’? I’d feel awful if I was limiting anyone’s ability to get to grips with Welsh. I would prefer to get it right, just in case someone really would like to pronounce the tunes yn Gymraeg…
I suspect the majority may be fed up with my attempts at giving a guide to pronunciation, but I feel that obligation, and if someone doesn’t like it they can just pass over it and just take the melody for what it is…
I hereby place a bet with ‘c’
"But yeah ~ ‘aspirated’ it is, and apologies for getting confused and confusing others…"
Aspirated it isn’t, which was my whole point. It’s a fricative. In fact, it’s a voiceless alveolar fricative, just like the letter "s" ;-p
I "love being wrong too", ‘c’, so ask your native speaker friends and relatives if they close up (not sew!!) one side of their tongue so that it’s flush with the base of the teeth and then let the air rush out the other side. I bet you find that they do this at least in the context of conversation or fast speech, since it takes less effort to articulate, even if they use both sides when demonstrating the sound in isolation to a non-native speaker.
Right: I bet you 2 pints of beer or beverage of equivalent alcoholic content that most people only use the right side. Try and find out before my UK trip, and don’t lie about the result just to get the beer - I want an honest answer :-D
One of my favourite tunes.I sometimes play it in G.I can’t remember where I learned it,perhaps from 4 Yn Y Bar.
By the way,I always enjoy Ceolachan’s Welsh lessons.
I should have scrolled down,shouldn’t I?
Stereo Llylling ~ !!!
I think a ‘fricative’ is a ‘spirant’ ain’t it? But I was following on from you, I guess I misunderstood what you’d said about it being or not being an ‘aspirant’ / ‘spirant’?
Anyway, I kept the specifics out of it and said an ‘anonymous someone’ raisted the issue about ‘LL’ being out one side of the tongue… Anyway, I won’t repeat some of the things that were said, like where to ‘shove’ that study… Anyway, we may be the weird ones, maybe an anomaly to study in itself? ~ but so far it is ‘STEREO’!!! My wife in fact tried to do it out only one side or the other and so far can’t… While I am managing it all three ways with amusement…but I’m easily amused… I will keep asking though.
About that study, was it some American over here on a two week sabatical with the University of Boogle? ;-)
I mentioned ‘Dyfed’ as an influence above, well, I forgot to mention it went through several name changes and the last one we had while living there was ‘Ceredigion’… But of course family are an influence too…
" ~ it takes less effort to articulate ~ " ~ oh yeah, that got a few harrumphs too…
There is a word, stumbled upon by a perpetual student friend of mine, ‘lollification’, meaning ‘the process of an "R" mutating into an "L"’, i.e. the process by which ‘mandore’ became ‘mandola’, and ‘mandorino’ became ‘mandolino’. Is there a similar word denoting the mutation (not necessarily in the Welsh grammatical sense) of ‘L’ to ‘LL’, as I think has happened with some Welsh words borrowed from Germanic and Romance languages?
Another question to ask, but maybe your man Nox will have a clue on that one. There are other double ‘L’s’, ‘LL’, and the Slavic version has, at least in my mind, some similarity with the Welsh in the placement of the tongue and the ‘bilateral’ escape of tone ( ;-) ) ~ such as for Llubljana, but it is ‘voiced’ ~ even when you’re swimming from their fine hospitality and too much of their fine wines…
I think we’re swaying off topic, maybe? ~ the tune ~ the music ~ maybe the phonetics and phonemes and mutations can be better pursued via emails. While I’ve never taken a course focusing on this topic, it has always fascinated me and my attention is perked whenever the subject is raised ~ but my ignorance is always eager for the cure… If I get a response of any use on the L to LL question I will email you… My wife studied the language at uni, though her primary focus was early Welsh and Irish literature, and I know some folks still in the business of teaching that history, if I can find their emails after the great hard disk meltdown here.
Dafydd ~ yes! ~ I’mfond of this melody too…
Further clarification ~ I don’t always or necessarily ‘love’ being wrong, but I do LOVE learning something more, or dissolving away any ignorance or misinformation that might have gathered like plague in the dark corners or on the throughways in and out of my brain. Sometimes I wish there were a simple and safe way to give your mental faculties an enema… :-/
It’s okay, ‘c’, we know you don’t really love being wrong :-)
It’s the da thing Nox, it always reminds me of being treated as if I were stupid, useless, clumsy, in the way ~ a dumb s**t in other words, and there is a little pain and defensiveness still holding on over the whole damned thing. But, I am working on it. At least I am aware of that potential poison… Did I say ‘poison’, hmmmm, now what synonyms might there be for that? :-/
Hmm, well, I’d tend not to assume that people would necessarily know about alveolar lateral fricatives even if they’re not a dumb s**t… Just stop being so hard on yourself, ‘c’. If you beat yourself up anymore your face will be so lopsided and misshapen that the only sound you’ll ever be able to make is the Welsh ‘ll’ out of one side of your mouth:
8 -P ~~~~ "LLLLLLLL!!"
How did you know? ~ only it’s through the holes I bit in my cheeks that time I was wacked really hard on the head with a cricket bat… Now you know why I’m a recluse and a hermit…
But it’s still in stereo…
Much as I know you hate being wrong, C, I think I should point out that ‘Ljubljana’ isn’t spelt with a ‘LL’ - but that’s a minor detail. I don’t recall hearing it pronounced by a Slovenian, so I can’t comment on it. However, during my travels through Spain last year, I met many Spanish speakers from various places, and discovered that there is considerable regional variation in the pronunciation of ‘LL’ in both European and American Spanish. While the usual phrasebook approximation is "like ‘ll’ in ‘million’" (which is close enough to *one variant* to be understood), I came across pronunciations similar to English ‘J’ and ‘SH’ (or Portuguese ‘CH’, with which Spanish ‘LL’ is cognate: llave-chave [key], llamar-chamar [to call]) and not unlike Welsh ‘LL’. Another interesting pronunciation of ‘LL’ is to be found in Icelandic, which, to my ear, resembles ‘tl’ in ‘little’ or ‘dl’ in ‘middle’.
Great stuff spoon ~
You’re right, ‘LJ’, but the correlation with the ‘LL’ is there, as both were in my tongue and tutilage ~ as incomplete as either might be, not being a ‘native’ Slovenian, and with endless other distractions going on. I see similarities, having formed both sounds with my tongue… Again though, I can only say that from how folks showed me how to make the sound, both a ‘kind of’ ‘L’, with the tip of the tongue on that ledge, one unvoiced and the other voiced, but similar, at least to me… Now, Spanish, hmmm, I had that as a kid, but I don’t remember much about it except that the way I was taught that the tip of the tongue didn’t close on that ledge, and it was a kind of almost ‘Y’ sound, like in ‘yes’, or as you put it, a good example, ‘million’… I’d forgotten about that until you raised the issue, thanks, I think… :-/ ?
Icelandic? ~ Wow! I’d love to get lessons in that. Their sagas are favourites, but sadly I gave my copies away as gifts and this house is poorer from the lack of them… I really should learn to stop giving away things I love and value… The wife has slowed that exodus of prized possessions…
I have always assumed that the ‘LJ’ in ‘Ljubljana’ was pronounced "like ‘ll’ in ‘million’". I could be wrong. But I think ‘J’ is used to represent the English ‘Y’ sound in all those East European lanugages that use the Latin alphabet. I would be intereseted to know the origin of the name ‘Ljubljana’, as the ‘ljub-’ element resembles Slavic words relating to ‘love’. (Russian любыть (lyubit) = to love).
Back to Welsh and LL-ing and tongues, I wonder which side of their tongues the sub-Equatorial (Patagonian) Welsh LL out of.
‘LJ’ & ‘LL’ ~ ljuljing and llylling ~ to voice and not to voice,
that is the question, whether it is wise to p**s into the wind or to resist until you find a conveniently sheltered wood…
It’s the other way around in Pategonia, don’t you know, like the swirling of water down the plug hole… :-)
Yes, ‘LJ’ in Ljubljana is akin to the ‘ll’ in million and Spanish! ~ but if you then make that unvoiced, and ‘aspirate’ (heh, heh, heh) it becomes like the ‘ll’ in Llanelli ~ or ‘sh’ out the sides of the tongue ~ sssssss, or lllllllll…left, right or stereo…
I’m still thinking about your move spoon and wishing you the best… Send me an email when you get there and when you’ve settled in…
I haven’t had much response on my question about ‘llylling’ and which side of the tongue folks use, except abuse and disbelief. My wife came up with what she saw as several possible useful or rude things to do with the report. She still can’t do it out only one side of her tongue, but has since given up trying…
Croeso a hwyl fawr!!!
In our house there are two who use both sides of the tongue for the "ll".
I see the cleaners have been in ~ good job too… ;-)
Video of pipes and fiddle
Ceri Rhys Matthews on pipes and Christine Cooper on fiddle playing Bwlch Llanberis followed by a tune gan ainm (que es gan ainm as Cymraeg?)
X: 2 & X: 3 - “Bwlch Llanberis”
# Added by ceolachan - November 15th, 2006
- as X: 1 in these 3 different takes, now separated out to three individual submissions…