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Welsh Music     Michael J Lewis    Penillion    Triple Harp    Cwrth

Wales is a part of the United Kingdom but is a culturally distinct Celtic country.  Welsh folk music has distinctive instrumentation and song types, and is often heard at a twmpath (folk dance session), or noson lawen (traditional party or ceilidh). Modern Welsh folk musicians have sometimes had to reconstruct traditions which had been suppressed or forgotten.

Wales is often known by the phrase "the Land of Song" (Welsh: Gwlad y Gān) and its people have a renowned affinity for poetry and music.

In the Language of Heaven

Perhaps the most well-known musical image of Wales is that of the choir, in particular the male voice choir (Welsh: cor meibion). While this is certainly a part (though of greatly diminished importance) of the current musical life of the nation, it is by no means the only or the oldest part, and the choral tradition does not really stretch back much before the 19th century.

The Romantic Splendour of Wales

Much older is the tradition of instrumental folk music. The harp has been closely associated with Wales for a very long time, and one kind of harp, the triple harp is uniquely Welsh. It has three rows of strings, with every semitone separately represented. Other specifically Welsh instruments included the crwth and the pibgorn, though both fell out of general use by the end of the 18th century. For many years, the church frowned on traditional music and dance, though folk tunes were sometimes used in hymns. The instrumental folk tradition fell into decline through the 19th and early 20th centuries, but has since seen a revival and is now arguably as strong as ever. The principal instruments are the harp and the fiddle, but many other instruments are used, and both the crwth and pibgorn are again being played by a small but growing number of people. The fiddle (or violin) is an integral part of Welsh folk music.

Since at least the twelfth century, Welsh bards  and musicians have participated in musical and poetic contests called eisteddfodau.

Penillion is a form of Welsh poetry employed by Welsh bards. It has been
documented only since the 18th century.
Please see Penillion page.

See page on Michael J Lewis - his Celtic and orchestral music and film and TV music.
Also pages on the triple harp and the cwrth.

Also see www.bluediamondmusic.com