Popular Verse and Music

from the 17th-19th Century

  

  pic

 Photograph: Ben Stammers and Sarah Roberts

 

Bragod performing ' 'R Adar Bach' at Patricio Church

 

 

' 'R Adar Bach' (mp4)

Bragod at Patricio Church performing ' 'R Adar Bach' (extract).

This is a track from their album, 'Kaingk'.

 

' 'R Adar Bach' - Download - zip

About 1.8 MB

 

When Bragod perform music and poetry from Wales dating from the 17th century onwards, they draw on the sound world they have discovered through years of experiment, using Pythagorean tuning and careful copies of original instruments.

 

Their approach is strongly guided by the music and ideas found in Robert ap Huw's manuscript (written circa 1613 but containing music from the 14th century onwards), contemporary English and Continental musical treatises as well as late-medieval treatises in Welsh on string music (cerdd dant).

 

They draw on the printed and manuscript collections of the last three centuries for popular tunes and verse; sometimes choosing 'folk songs', sometimes a handful of more or less independent verses in the highly compressed form known as 'hen benillion'. ' 'R Adar Bach' is two such verses with an added chorus. Bragod has set the words to a tune from Canu'r Cymry, a folk-song collection by Phyllis Kinney and Meredydd Evans, 1984. Bragod's conservative use of Pythagorean tuning, though the verses may date from the 18th or 19th centuries, colours the tonal qualities heard in their performance. It is not impossible that Pythagorean tuning was used on the crwth until the instrument fell out of use in the late 18th century. The duo takes the liberty of using the combination of crwth and voice even when performing ritual music e.g.wassailing songs. Originally, these would have been sung by a handful of men. Bragod does not perform 'traditional Welsh songs' in the sense of carefully reproducing an orally transmitted repertoire or performing style. They knowingly drag later popular verse and music back into Robert ap Huw's sound world.

 

 

 

  

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