4.3 Harp Music and "Cerrd Dant"

The harp is a national symbol, for the Welsh live performances of this instrument can be heard at the eisteddfods but also in many pubs. The greatest performer is Ossian Ellis. Among the other best-known Welsh harpists [1] are Eleanor Bennett, Osian Ellis, David Watkins, Sian Jones, Ieuan Jones and Marie Goossens.

The “Queen of the Harp” Nansi Richards, an expert on both the triple and pedal harps, died in 1979. There has been a marked increase in harp playing, many young pupils being taught to play the instrument in schools. There is now an annual Nansi Richards Harp Scholarship competition for young harpists.[2]

In "Cerdd Dant"[3], the penillion or verses are set to music in a sophisticated way (see pre­vious reference). This art is still alive, especially at the Eisteddfods. Today it is not on­ly performed to the accompaniment of the harp, but also to that of other instruments, such as the piano.


[1] cf. recording with Rachel Ann Morgan (harp and voice) on the enclosed CD
[2]
cf. Daily Mail 18-05-1999
[3]
literally: "string music" (harp music)  cf. example on the enclosed CD (Leah Owen: "Lef dros y lleiafrifoedd")

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