The crwth in Wales

The crwth

One of the oldest of traditional Welsh instruments.

The crwth is a form of stringed lyre which uses a bow to play the strings. There is archaeological evidence to suggest that similar instruments were in use 5,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.

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BBC Radio Wales, The Traditional Music of Wales

The range of notes is limited, with a range of just a single octave, and all the strings are played at the same time. The sound created has a droning quality, which can be strange to the unfamiliar ear.

There are a number of crwth players in Wales, including Cas Meurig, who continues to develop the crwth repertoire, and Robert Evans, who with vocalist Mary-Anne Roberts, recreates 'cerdd dafod', literally 'dance of the tongue'.

Cerdd dafod was a form of singing with crwth accompaniment, which flourished in Wales from the beginning of the 14th century to the end of the 16th century.


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