Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650 : A Study of the Principal Sources book cover
1st Edition

Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650
A Study of the Principal Sources

ISBN 9781138252356
Published March 6, 2017 by Routledge
462 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

Music in Wales has long been a neglected area. Scholars have been deterred both by the need for a knowledge of the Welsh language, and by the fact that an oral tradition in Wales persisted far later than in other parts of Britain, resulting in a limited number of sources with conventional notation. Sally Harper provides the first serious study of Welsh music before 1650 and draws on a wide range of sources in Welsh, Latin and English to illuminate early musical practice. This book challenges and refutes two widely held assumptions - that music in Wales before 1650 is impoverished and elusive, and that the extant sources are too obscure and fragmentary to warrant serious study. Harper demonstrates that there is a far wider body of source material than is generally realized, comprising liturgical manuscripts, archival materials, chronicles and retrospective histories, inventories of pieces and players, vernacular poetry and treatises. This book examines three principal areas: the unique tradition of cerdd dant (literally 'the music of the string') for harp and crwth; the Latin liturgy in Wales and its embellishment, and 'Anglicised' sacred and secular materials from c.1580, which show Welsh music mirroring English practice. Taken together, the primary material presented in this book bears witness to a flourishing and distinctive musical tradition of considerable cultural significance, aspects of which have an important impact on wider musical practice beyond Wales.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I The Sources and Practice of Medieval Cerdd Dant: Cerdd Dant: a Welsh bardic craft in context; Mastering the bardic crafts: oral and written sources; Harp and crwth in early medieval Wales; The players of Cerdd Dant and their social code; Gathering the documentation of Cerdd Dant; Historical and theoretical sources of Cerdd Dant; The Robert ap Huw manuscript and other Welsh tablature. Part II The Latin Liturgy, its Chant and Embellishment: Sources for the medieval Welsh liturgy: an overview; The early Welsh Clas institutions; Anglo-Norman liturgical reform; Shaping a new liturgy: the adoption of Sarum Use in Wales; Sources with music I: the Penpont Antiphoner; Sources with music II: the Bangor Pontifical; Late medieval evidence I: the institutions; Late medieval evidence II: musical practice. Part III Welsh Music in an English Milieu c.1550-1650: Mirroring England: cultural imitation and infiltration; Domestic and popular music-making I: the context; Domestic and popular music-making II: the repertory; A Welsh translation of John Case's Apologia Musices; The post-Reformation church I: parish and people; The post-Reformation church II: cathedral and household chapel. Appendix of manuscripts; Bibliography; Index.

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Sally Harper is a senior lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Studies in the School of Music, University of Wales, Bangor, where she also directs the Centre for Advanced Welsh Music Studies and edits the bilingual journal Welsh Music History / Hanes Cerddoriaeth Cymru. Brought up in the West Midlands, she moved to Anglesey in 1991, and now speaks Welsh fluently. She has written widely on music and culture in medieval and early modern Wales, although her first book was a study of Benedictine medieval liturgy, and she continues to work in this field. She also has interests in the music of the contemporary church.


’This is an important addition to our understanding of Wales's rich musical heritage.' South Wales Evening Post ’The book is excellent in its way - congratulations on the author for her labours...’ Early Music Review ’This substantial publication is the first modern, and only major, study to provide a comprehensive overview of Welsh music history from the earliest written evidence up to the mid-seventeenth century.... erudite yet highly accessible, thorough and well laid out.... Harper's survey is an ambitious one, and not one that many scholars could have attempted, let alone succeeded in carrying out with such conviction. This book will long remain a milestone not only for students of the history of music in medieval Wales, but as a model-setting example of Insular musicological research. We are very much in her debt.’ Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland ’Sally Harper has taken a gigantic leap forward in this largely unknown territory... the story of one musical culture yielding to another has been repeated all over the world. When it is actually happening it can be observed by ethnomusicologists. When it lies in the past, it has to be unearthed from documents, a difficult process which Sally Harper has accomplished in exemplary fashion.’ NABMSA Newsletter ’This is a pioneering work in the study of early Welsh music... This is a truly remarkable work of Welsh music scholarship and one that will serve a wide and demanding readership for many years to come.’ Renaissance Quarterly ’This study is consummate in its scope and in the thoroughness with which each of its aspects is addressed. It is generously illustrated with images, maps and tables, and it also contains a useful catalogue of liturgical manuscripts in the Appendix. This clear and well-ordered presentation, together with a very detailed index, makes the book both accessible and extremely useful for investigating specific topics ... (Harper) has ... provided musico