See also:medieval stringed instrument derived from the
See also:lyre, characterized by a sound-chest having a vaulted bath and an open space
See also:left at each side of the strings to allow th
See also:hand to pass through in
See also:order to stop the strings on the
See also:board . The Welsh crwth, which survived until the end of the 18th century, is best represented by a specimen of that date preserved in the
See also:Victoria and
See also:Albert Museum, and described and illustrated by Carl Engel) . The instrument consists of a rectangular sound-chest 22 in. long, 92 in. wide and 2 in. deep; the
See also:body is scooped out of a single
See also:block, the
See also:flat belly being glued on . Right through the sound-chest on each side of the finger-board is the character- istic open space left for the hand to pass through . There are two circular sound- which lies obliquely across the belly, passes through the left sound-hole and rests inside on the back of the instrument . Six
See also:catgut strings fastened to a tail-piece are
See also:round pegs at the top of the crwth; four of these strings lie over the sound-board and
See also:bridge, and are set in vibration by means of a
See also:bow, while the two others, used as drones and stretched across the left-hand aperture, are twanged by the thumb of the left hand . The shape and shallowness of the bridge make it impossible to sound a single
See also:string with the bow; the arrangement of the strings suggests that they were intended to be sounded in pairs . The instrument is tuned thus: =9- ` - zJ- At the beginning of the 19th century,
See also:William Bingley2 heard a Welsh
See also:peasant playing
See also:national airs on a crwth strung as follows: L
See also:asa that in his
See also:time there was still a Welshman living in Anglesea who understood how to
See also:play the crwth according to traditional usage .
See also:Jones' and Daines
See also:Barrington s both give an account of the Welsh crwth of the 18th century which agrees substantially with Engel's; the
See also:illustration communicated by Daines Barrington shows the strings of the crwth
See also:drawn through holes at the top, and fastened on the back, as on the Persian
See also:rebab and other
See also:Oriental stringed
See also:instruments . On these somewhat scanty authentic records of the instrument, several historians of
See also:music 1 See Early
See also:History of the
See also:Family (
See also:London, 1883), pp . 24-36 .
See A Tour round
See also:Wales (London, 1804), vol. ii. p . 332 . 3 History of Music (London, 1766), vol. ii. bk. iii. ch. iii., description and illustration . ' Musical and Poetical Relicks of Welsh Bards (London, 1794), illustration of crwth, also reproduced by Carl Engel; see note above . Archaeologia. vol. iii . (London, 1775) . " Romanusque
See also:lyra, plaudat tibi Barbarus harpa, Graecus Achilliaca, chrotta Britanna canat." The bow is not mentioned by Fortunatus, and there is no ground whatever for believing that the Welsh crwth was played with a bow in the 6th century, or indeed for several centuries after . The stringing of the Welsh crwth with the two
See also:drone strings still twanged, the
See also:form of the body without incurvations, the flat bridge which rendered bowing, even in the most highly
See also:developed specimens of the 18th century, a difficult task, together with what is known of the early history of the chrotta and rotta derived from the lyre and cithara and like them twanged by fingers or plectrum, all make the claim untenable . Carl Engel was probably the first to expose the fallacy in his
See also:work on the violin.'
See also:British lexicographers all agree in deriving the words crwth,
See also:crowd and other forms of the name, from some word meaning a bulging protuberant bellying form, while in German the etymology of the word Chrotta is given as Chrota or Chreta, the O.H.G. for Krote=
See also:toad, Schildkrote=
See also:tortoise . This word Chrotta was undoubtedly the German
See also:term for the lyre of Hermes, having as back a tortoise-
See also:shell, gtws in Greek and testudo in Latin . Chrotta was also spelt hrotta, and it is easy to see how this became rotta . A thoughtful and suggestive treatment of the whole subject will be found in Engel's work, to which reference has been made .
Just as the lyre and cithara, which appeared to be similar to the casual observer, and are indeed still confused at the
See also:day, were instruments differing essentially in construction"; so there were, during the early
See also:middle ages, while lyre and cithara were still in transition, two types of chrotta or rotta . (I) The rotta or improved cithara had a body either rectangular with the corners rounded, or guitar-shaped with incurvations, back and sound-board being nearly or quite flat, joined as in the cithara by ribs or sides . This rotta must be reckoned among the early ancestors of the violin before the advent of the bow; it was known both as rotta and cithara, and with a
See also:neck added it became the guitar-
See also:fiddle . (2) The tortoise or lyre chrotta consisted of a protuberant, very
See also:convex back cut out of a block of
See also:wood, to which was glued a flat sound-board, at first like the lyre, with- out intermediary ribs . This instrument became the crwth, and there was no further development . The first step in the transition of both lyre and cithara was the incorporation of arms and
See also:bar into the body, the same outline being preserved; the second step was the addition of a finger-board against which the strings were stopped, thus increasing the compass while restricting the number of strings to three or four; the third step, observed only in the rotta-cithara, consisted in the addition of a neck,' e Venantius Fortunatus, Poemata,
See also:lib. vii. cap . 8, p . 245; see
See also:Migne's Patrologia Sacra, vol . 88 . ' Op. cit. chapters " Crwth," " Chrotta," " Rotta." 8 See Kathleen Schlesinger, Orchestral Instruments,
See also:part ii., " The Precursors of the Violin Family " (London, 1909), pp . 14 to 23, with illustrations . 9 See also Kathleen Schlesinger, op. cit. ch. vii., " The Cithara in Transition," pp .
111-135 with illustrations . 1° See Auguste de
See also:Bastard, Peintures et ornements
See also:MSS. de France, and Peintures, ornements, eec., de la bible de
See also:Charles le Chauve, in facsimile (
See also:Paris, 1883) . 11 See J . O . Westwood, Photographic Facsimile of the Bible of St Paul (London, 1876) . 12
See also:Hawkins 3 relates as in the guitar . The crwth, Peinlur Drawneset from aorpinate inementsde t Augusteode Bbible astard de 's crowd, crouth did not undergo Caarles le Chauve . this third transition even when FIG . 2.—Early Crwth, the bow was used to set the 9th century . strings in vibration . The earliest
See also:representation of the crwth yet discovered
See also:dates from the Carolingian
See also:period . In the miniatures of the Bible of Charles the Bald,10 in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, one of the musicians of
See also:David is seen stopping strings on the finger-board with his left hand and plucking them with the right (fig .
2); this crwth has only three strings, and may be the crwth trithant of Wales . A second example occurs in the Bible of St Paul," another of the magnificent MSS. prepared for Charles the Bald, and preserved during the middle ages in the monastery of St Paul extra muros inRome (now deposited in that of St Calixtus in Rome) . Other representations are in the miniatures of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries . To Edward
See also:Allen (De fidiculis opuscula, viii., 1895) is due the
See also:discovery of a representation of the Welsh crwth, showing the form still retained in the 18th cent . On the seal of Roger
See also:Wade (1316) is a crwth differing but little from the specimen in the Victoria and Albert Museum . The 14th-century instrument had four strings instead of six, and the
See also:foot of the bridge does not appear to pass through the sound-hole—a detail which may have escaped the
See also:notice of the artist who cut the seal . The
See also:original seal lies in the
See also:room at
See also:Castle in
See also:Gloucestershire attached to defeasance of a bond between the crowder and his debtor
See also:Warren de 1'Isle, and a
See also:cast (see fig . 3) is preserved at the British Museum . The British Museum also possesses two interesting MSS. which concern the crwth: one of these century Seal. contains an extract made by
See also:Morris in 1742 from an
See also:ancient Welsh MS. of " Instructions supposed to be wrote for the Crowd "; the other (Add . MS . 15036 if . 65b and 66) consists of tracings from a 16th-century Welsh MS. copied in t6to of a bagpipe, a harp and a krythe, together with the names of those who played the last at the
See also:Eisteddfod .
See also:drawing is crude, and shows an instrument similar to Roger Wade's crowd, but having three strings instead of four . The genealogical
See also:tree of the violin given below shows the relative positions of both kinds of rotta and chrotta .
See also:Italian' viola French
See also:vielle or viole Violin The Welsh crwth was therefore obviously not an exclusively Welsh instrument, but only a
See also:late 18th-century survival in Wales of an archaic instrument once generally popular in
See also:Europe but long obsolete . An interesting article on the subject in German by J . F . W . Wewertem will be found in Monatshefte fur Musik (Berlin, 1881), Nos . 7-12, p . 151, &c . (K .
CROWBERRY, or CRAKEBERRY
EYRE EVANS CROWE (1799-1868)
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