Simon Chadwick's
Early Gaelic Harp Emporium

Ancient Irish and Scottish Gaelic harp music
played on replica instruments strung with brass, silver or gold wire


Medieval Welsh music books

Pencerdd's Toolkit

Pekka Toivanen
The Pencerdd's Toolkit
Jyväskylä Studies in the Arts 78, 2001
This academic study of the music preserved in the Robert ap Huw manuscript is subtitled “Cognitive and Musical Heirachies in Medieval Welsh harp Music” which indicates its sometimes dense and convoluted style. But in many places its understanding of the ancient oral tradition, and its analysis of it, is brilliant. The audio CD attached to the back cover includes examples of the music played by the author on a medieval-style harp, along with medieval fiddle and Welsh singing, in some strict and some more speculative interpretations of the music. More...

Music in Welsh Culture

Sally Harper
Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650: A Study of the Principal Sources
Ashgate, 2007
This scholarly study lays out the surviving evidence for music in Wales from medieval times to the 17th century. The three sections cover cerdd dant (the medieval learned harp and crwth music), medieval liturgical music, and English style music played in Wales. There are a number of interesting manuscript facsimiles, as well as full text and translation of some key theoretical texts. Hardback. More...


Sally Harper (ed)
Hanes Cerddoriaeth Cymru: Welsh Music History
University of Wales Press
The following issues of this scholarly journal are available:
Vol 1, 1996 English theory in Welsh music secondhand, £45
Vol 2, 1997 Bangor Pontifical & Gerald of Wales, s/h, £45
Vol 3, 1998 Robert ap Huw Studies; nine essays on medieval Welsh harp music, cerdd dant, and Robert ap Huw. secondhand, £55 sold
Vol 4, 2000 Medieval composers & Robert Peilin's Josseffüs. shd, £45
Vol 5, 2002 An appreciation of Peter Crossley-Holland shd, £45
Vol 6, 2004 A Parallel between Scottish Pibroch and Early Welsh Harp Music & two other Robert ap Huw essays. New, £25
Vol 7, 2007 Cerdd dant harmony s.h, £45
contact me to enquire about availability & postage. More...

Bill Taylor: Sources

Bill Taylor
Sources for Fingernail Harp Technique from Wales and Ireland
Wire Branch of the Clarsach Society, 2003
This slim booklet presents Bill's practical interpretations of the lists of fingernail techniques given in the Robert ap Huw manuscript and in Bunting's 1840 publication. More...


Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies
issue 42, Winter 2001
Contains a 26 page article by Sally Harper, 'So how many Irishmen went to Glyn Achlach? Early accounts of the formation of Cerdd Dant'. This study details the mythical Irish origins of medieval Welsh music, the meeting at Glendalough in about 1100 AD, suggested Irish etymologies for the names of the 24 measures of Welsh string music, and the way in which these old oral traditions of the history of the music were written down and transmitted from the 16th century onwards. More...

D. Roy Saer
Y Delyn Yng Nghymru Mewn Lluniau - The Harp in Wales in Pictures
S/H paperback, £40
This slim but excellent book, published 1991, presents 40 old images of Welsh harps and harpers from medieval times right up to the 20th century. The picture captions are in both English and Welsh. Extremely useful and informative, long out of print and now very hard to obtain. contact me to enquire about availability & postage.

Osian Ellis
The Story of the Harp in Wales
University of Wales Press
First edition, 1980, S/H pbk, £25
A brief overview from medieval times to the 20th century. Includes some illustrations. Parallel text in Welsh and English.
Second edition, 1991, S/H pbk, £16
English text only, also includes some (not entirely accurate) transcriptions of music from Robert ap Huw's manuscript.
contact me to enquire about availability & postage.

The Bowed-Harp: a study in the History of Early Musical Instruments

Otto Andersson
The Bowed-Harp: a study in the History of Early Musical Instruments
Secondhand, £40.
Published in 1930, this pioneering study looks at the bowed lyres of Scandinavia (jouhikko and tallharpa) and analyses their origins, including a substantial chapter on the Welsh crwth. Illustrated with many line drawings and photographs, including a fine colour frontispiece of the famous wedding scene with tallharpa. Apart from the rejection of Andersson's terminology 'bowed harp' in favour of 'bowed lyre', his work has stood the test of time very well. contact me to enquire about availability & postage.

The Bowed-Harp: a study in the History of Early Musical Instruments

Otto Andersson
The Bowed Harp of Trondheim Cathedral and Related Intruments in East and West
Offprint from Galpin Society Journal, Vol XXIII 1970
Secondhand, £12.
A summary of Andersson's previous work on Scandinavian bowed lyres and their relationship to other ancient European traditions including Welsh crwth. contact me to enquire about availability & postage.

Matins, Lauds, and Vespers for St. David's Day

Owain Tudor Edwards
Matins, Lauds, and Vespers for St. David's Day
Secondhand hardback, £40.
published 1990, this book covers the Penpont Antiphoner, the earliest notated music from Wales, with facsimile, transcribed music, and extensive discussion. contact me to enquire about availability & postage.

Medieval Welsh CDs

The modern revival of medieval Welsh music lags behind the Irish and Scottish early harp movement - not least because, whereas Irish and Scottish museums preserve important historical harps dating from the 15th century, there are no comparable Welsh instruments extant. The nature of the early Welsh instruments is open to speculation, with some authorities suggesting early Irish harps were used; others maintain that Wales preffered to import the latest continental fashions. Hence of these four CDs, two are performed on early Gaelic harps, and one on the common medieval and Renaissance European gothic bray harp with gut strings. One avoids the issue by using the crwth (the early Welsh bowed lyre).

Cruit go nÓr

Ann Heymann
Cruit go nÓr - Harp of Gold
Clairseach Records, 2006
The long-awaited masterpiece from the world's greatest living performer on early Gaelic harp includes just one medieval Welsh track - but it is the best. Played with astonishing proficiency on a replica of the medieval Irish 'Trinity College' harp with gold and silver wire strings, the programme includes Gaelic songs performed by Charlie Heymann, and courtly 17th century consort music with viol and lute, as well as stunning solo Gaelic harp variation-sets. This is the definitive early Gaelic harp recording. More...


William Taylor
Two Worlds of the Welsh Harp
Dorian DOR-90260 CD 1999.
This CD showcases Bill Taylor's mastery of the medieval Welsh solo harp repertory from the Robert ap Huw manuscript, performed on a buzzing bray harp, intermixed with later Welsh music from Edward Jones's published collections. Excellent early harp music, superbly played, highly recommended. This is the definitive recording of a key parallel repertory to the Gaelic harp tradition.

Music from the Robert ap Huw Manuscript

Paul Dooley
Music from the Robert ap Huw Manuscript
Self-published, PDCD002, 2004
Paul Dooley's second solo record consists entirely of six pieces from the 17th century Welsh mauscript of Robert ap Huw. He plays them on a wire-strung harp he built himself, based on the medieval Trinity College harp. The extensive notes make explicit the link between the formal "cerdd dant" music of medieval Wales and its legendary Irish origins, and daringly but temptingly suggest that by interpreting the material on the early Irish harp, Paul is recreating the Irish music heard and described by Giraldus Cambrensis in the 12th Century. For comparison, the medieval repertory preserved in the manuscript can be heard played on medieval Welsh instruments, on recordings by Bragod (crwth and voice) and Bill Taylor (bray harp). I especially enjoyed Paul's Gosteg Dafydd Athro which retained interest over its almost 10 minute length; but I wondered if some of his other tracks became slightly wandering. This CD would be a good addition to any collection of Gaelic harp or Robert ap Huw recordings. More...


Self-published, c,2004
This excellently well-produced double CD features Mary-Ann Roberts's wonderfully ancient singing, accompanied by Bob Evans on crwth and lyre, in adventurous reconstructions of historical Welsh songs and instrumental music from the Gododdin through Robert ap Huw to 19th century traditional material. Highly reccommended. More...