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sided over by King Cadwaladr ;-as it was a prerogative peculiar to the ancient kings of Britain to preside at the Eisteddfod or Congress of the Bards.

A curious circumstance is related by two Welsh historians, Dr. John David Rhys and John Rhydderch, as having occurred upon that occasion :-“King Cadwaladr sat in an Eisteddfod, assembled for the purpose of regulating the bards, of taking into consideration their productions and performances, and of giving laws to music and poetry. A bard, who played upon the harp in the presence of this illustrious assembly in a key called is-gywair, ar y bragod dannan (in the low pitch and in the minor or mixed key), which displeased them much, was censured for the inharmonious effect he produced. The key in which he played was that of Pibau Morvydd (i.e., ' Caniad Pibau Morvydd sydd ar y bragod gywair.-— The Song of Morvydd's Pipes is in the minor or mixed key.' He was then ordered, under great penalties, whenever he came before persons skilful in the art, to adopt that of Mwynen Gwynedd, 'the pleasing melody of North Wales,' which the royal associates first gave out, and preferred. They even decreed that none could sing or play with true harmony but with Mwynen Gwynedd, because that was in a key which consisted of notes that formed perfect concords, whilst the other was of a mixed nature.”

I am strongly impressed with the conviction that the above incident arose from a general desire to suppress an attempt to introduce into Wales the pentatonic, or so-called Scotch scale, where the fourth and leading notes of the key are omitted, which accounts for the peculiar, not to say startling effect, produced upon a cultivated musical ear by the Scotch bagpipe of the present day, upon which, the music written for it passes from major to minor, without the Jeast regard for the tonic and dominant drones of the original key, which still continue to sound on to the end of the performance.

The relation of the above incident also shows that the Welsh were already in possession of a scale or key, which, by eir own showing, consisted of notes that formed perfect concords ; whereas the other, which they objected to, was of a mixed nature-neither major nor minor, but a mixture of the two, which is not altogether an inapt way of describing the pentatonic, or Scotch scale.

I shall require to allude to this incident in connection with a subject to be mentioned later; but there is a word used in the relation of this account, in the original Welsh, which I may as well point out at once, as having a signification peculiar to the Welsh language. In ancient Welsh works, "to play upon the harp” is expressed“ to sing upon the harp” -Canu ar y Delyn. It is also the saine as regards the crwth, an old Welsh instrument, which was so popular in Britain in olden times as to have been mistaken, by historians of the sixth century, for our national instrument. This form of expression we appear to have derived from the Israelites; for we find in Habakkuk, iii, 19, that the Prophet dedicates his last prayer-"To the chief singer on my stringed Instruments”.

At this period, the seventh century, according to the Venerable Bede, the harp was so generally played in Britain that it was customary to hand it from one to another at their entertainments; and he mentions one who, ashamed that he could not play upon it, slunk away lest he should expose his ignorance.

In such honour was the harp held in Wales that a slave might not practice upon it; while to play on the instrument was an indispensable qualification of a gentleman. The ancient laws of Hywel Dda mention three kinds of harps : the harp of the king; the harp of a pencerdd, or master of music ; and the harp of a nobleman. A professor of this favourite instrument enjoyed many privileges ; his lands were free, and his person sacred.

It was the office of the ancient bard to sing to his harp, before and after battle, the old song called Unbeniaeth Prydain, or the “Monarchical song of Britain”, which contained the exploits of the most worthy heroes, to inspire others to imitate their glorious example.

Diodorus Siculus also says: "The bards stept in between hostile armies, standing with their swords drawn and their spears extended ready to engage, and by their eloquence, as by irresistible enchantment, prevented the effusion of blood, and prevailed upon them to sheath their swords."

In the eleventh century, Gryffudd ap Cynan, king of North Wales, held a Congress for the purpose of reforming the order of the Welsh bards; and he invited several of the fraternity from Ireland to assist in carrying out the contemplated reforms; the most important of which appears to have been the separation of the professions of bard and minstrel-in other words-of poetry and music; both of which had hitherto been united in one and the same person. In all probability, it was considered that both poetry and music would be greatly benefited by the separation, each being thought sufficient to occupy the whole and undivided attention of one person.

The next was the revision of the rules for the composition and performance of music. The twenty-four musical measures were permanently established, as well as a number of keys, scales, etc.; and it was decreed that from henceforth all compositions were to be written in accordance with those enactments; and, moreover, that none but those who were conversant with the rules should be considered thorough musicians, or competent to undertake the instruction of others. All these reforms were written down in books, in the Welsh and Irish languages; as is shown by a manuscript now in the British Museum, copied in the fifteenth century from another book dating from the time when the

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above reforms were instituted. In this manuscript will also be found some of the most ancient pieces of music of the Britons, supposed to have been handed down to us from the ancient bards. I have carefully studied the contents, and find that the whole of the music is written for the Crwth, in a system of notation by the letters of the alphabet, with merely one line to divide bass and treble.

Dr. Burney, after a life-long research into the musical notations of ancient nations, gives the following as the result: —“It does not appear from history that the Egyptians, Phænicians, Hebrews, or any ancient people who cultivated the arts, except the Greeks and Romans, had musical characters; and these had no other symbols of sound than the letters of the alphabet, which likewise served them for arithmetical numbers and chronological dates."

The system of notation under consideration resembles that of Pope Gregory's in the sixth century, and may have found its way into this country about that period, when he sent Augustine and a number of musicians into Britain to reformi the abuses which had crept into the services of the western churches.

The circumstance of Irish names being attached to the twenty-four musical measures in the ancient manuscript, has led many historians to the erroneous conclusion that Wales derived the whole of her music from Ireland, at the time of Gruffydd ab Cynan; when, as is alleged, the measures were constructed. Even Welsh chroniclers, such as Giraldus Cambrensis, Caradoc, Powel, and others, have made this statement in their works upon the strength of the circumstance alluded to; therefore, it is not surprising that modern writers, such as Gunn, Walker, Bunting, Sir John Hawkins, and others, should have been deceived by relying upon such apparently good authority. But, independently of the extreme dissimilarity of the Welsh and Irish music that


has been handed down to us, it so happens that other parts of the same document bear ample testimony to the contrary. The Welsh had their twenty-four metres in poetry as well as their twenty-four athletic games; and the following circumstance will show that they also possessed their twenty-four musical measures centuries prior to the Congress held by Gryffudd ab Cynan.

Among the ancient pieces included in the manuscript, is one bearing the following title, Gosteg yr Halen (“ Prelude to the Salt'), and at the end is the following account concerning it: “ Tervyn Gosteg yr Halen, yr hon a vyddid yn ei chanu o vlaen Marchogion Arthur pan roid y Sallter a'r halen ar y bwrdd.” “Here ends the Prelude to the Salt, which used to be performed before the knights of King Arthur, when the Salter was placed upon the table.”

As one part of the manuscript must be considered as authentic as another, the above composition takes us as far back as the middle of the sixth century—the time when King Arthur flourished; and the composition is written in one of the twenty-four measures-Mac Mwn byras may be seen by the copy which I have deciphered and published in the second edition of the Mycyrian Archocology. It is also asserted that even the keys used in Welsh music were brought over from Ireland at the same time as the twentyfour measures—that is, in the reign of Gruffydd ab Cynan. There are five keys mentioned in Welsh music :

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1. Is-gywair—the low key, or key of C.
2. Cras-gywair—the sharp key, or key of G.
3. Lleddf-gywair—the flat key, or key of F.

4. Go-gywair—the key with a flat, or minor third; the remainder of the scale, in every other respect, being major.

5. Bragod-gywair-called the minor or mixed key.

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