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Thread: Mândelyn

  1. #1
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    Default Mândelyn

    Welsh music doesn't often make an appearance on this forum - even though many Welsh tunes lend themselves very well to the mandolin. A few years ago, I was playing in a mandolin trio, specializing in Welsh tunes. We called ourselves Mândelyn - an ingenious name (for which I can take no credit) synthesized from the Welsh words mân - small and telyn - harp (the harp, of course, is of very strong cultural significance in Wales - the mandolin, rather less so).

    Sadly, one of the members, Chris Rendell (with the F-style mandolin), died very suddenly in October 2011, aged 62. He and I had been fellow Welsh evening class students, whilst the third member teaches Welsh; the trio was born out of giving a few short musical presentations to a group of Welsh learners. Unfortunately, this short clip seems to be the existing only footage of us. I hope you enjoy it.


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  3. #2
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Very nice recording and performance! I agree that many Welsh tunes sit beautifully on mandolin, and as I also live in Wales (albeit some distance from you) I have tried my hand on occasion. I recorded the same tune as you, Pant Corlan yr Wyn, a few years ago on solo mandolin. While it's usually played fairly swiftly (as in your recording), I've always thought that the tune works really nicely as a slowish air, played like the Irish would a Carolan harp tune. So, that's what I was aiming for:



    Martin

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    Registered User harper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Here are a couple of Welsh tunes I arranged for my band. We play them on fiddle, flute, accordion, clarinet, and guitar, but they work on mandolins.

    “Rhuddlan Marsh (Morvan Rhuddlan)” was collected by Edward Jones (Welsh Bards, p. 143) and notated with variations on a theme. According to Jones' note on the tune: that: “Morvan Rhuddlan, or the Red Marsh, on the banks of the Clwyd ub Flintshire, was the scene of many Battles of the Welsh with the Saxons. At the memorable conflict in 795, the Welsh were unsuccessful and their monarch Caradoc slain… This plaintive style, so predominant in Welsh Music, is well adapted to melancholy subjects. Our Music probably received a Pathetic tincture from our distresses under the oppression of the Saxons.” Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) composed a setting of this tune (Welsh Songs for George Thomson, Hob. 31b/49) for voice, violin, cello and keyboard. An instrumental arrangement of the tune with 9 variations for harp or piano appears in Richard Roberts’ Cambrian Harmony (pp. 15-24). The tune with song lyrics appears in Brinley Richards’ Songs of Wales (pp. 73-75) and Margery Hargest Jones’ Songs of Wales (pp. 52-53).

    “The Red Piper’s Melody (Digna y Pibydd Coch)” was also collected by Edward Jones (Welsh Bards, p. 156) and Haydn composed a setting of it for voice, violin, cello and keyboard (Hob. 31b/34).

    You can download some of Jones' books from IMSLP here: http://imslp.org/wiki/Musical_and_Po...Jones,_Edward)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rhuddlan Marsh EWB treble II final.pdf   Red Piper EWB treble II final.pdf  
    Harper (My other mandolin is a harp)

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Great arrangement of the trio, Whistler. It is really a shame there is no longer record of your playing, but a fine tribute to a fine musician nevertheless.
    Martin , you come up with a Jonas version yet again and as always it seems to work really well and is a good contrast to the trio playing.

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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Thanks to all for your comments an compliments.

    While it's usually played fairly swiftly (as in your recording), I've always thought that the tune works really nicely as a slowish air, played like the Irish would a Carolan harp tune.
    You have a slightly different version, Martin, in addition to the difference in tempo and rhythm. In fact, the slower pace and dotted rhythm is more like how I have heard it played on the harp. There's also another version with a longer B-part, which I think may come from the penillion repertoire.

    The speed at which I would choose to play it is actually a touch slower than in our clip - I think we were all a bit nervous.

    Harper - That looks like a nice arrangement of Morfa Rhuddlan, so far as I can tell without hearing it. Thanks for the historical info - I never knew that.

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Quote Originally Posted by harper View Post
    Here are a couple of Welsh tunes I arranged for my band. We play them on fiddle, flute, accordion, clarinet, and guitar, but they work on mandolins.
    Thanks a lot, Evelyn -- these look great and should work well for our group! I live in Flintshire and Rhuddlan is quite close to here, about 15 miles away (Rhuddlan is now actually in Denbighshire, although I believe part of historical Flintshire), so I feel I should learn than tune.

    Whistler -- thanks for the info. If I remember right, I learned my version from a TablEdit file at Mandozine, but on playing it I felt that I had known the tune all my life and that it had to be played just like this. I'm still trying to place where I would have come across it before. The nearest I've come is that it has a certain similarity, at least the first few notes, with the Eurovision Fanfare (the Praeludium of the Te Deum by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Link), but the similarity isn't that great and I feel I must have absorbed it from somewhere else.

    Martin

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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    The fiddler Sian Phillips has put together a collection of Welsh fiddle tunes, published by Schott. I can't seem to find it at the regular places, but it is available through her site.
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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    Thanks a lot, Evelyn -- these look great and should work well for our group! I live in Flintshire and Rhuddlan is quite close to here, about 15 miles away (Rhuddlan is now actually in Denbighshire, although I believe part of historical Flintshire), so I feel I should learn than tune.
    Further to the previous discussion, I have now got around to trying out the arrangement of Morvan Rhuddlan posted by harper. It's really very nice played on mandolins!

    I've recorded the melody line on my 1921 Ajr, with the descant on an Embergher bowlback and the harmony on my Mid-Missouri octave mandolin -- the MP3 is attached for download, and can also be played using the Cafe's embedded MP3 player:



    Alternatively, the same recording with some pretty pictures of Rhuddlan Castle:



    Thanks again, Evelyn!

    Martin
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Martin,

    Thank you very much for posting your playing of my arrangement of Rhuddlan Marsh together with the spectacular slideshow. I am happy that it works for mandolins. I especially liked when you moved the melody to the OM on the A part the second time through the tune. Someday I hope to see Wales myself, and the land and artifacts that inspired exquisite tunes such as this one.

    Regards,
    Evelyn
    Harper (My other mandolin is a harp)

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    I just ordered the Sian Phillips book from Amazon UK. I should get in any day.
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  16. #11
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Quote Originally Posted by harper View Post
    Martin,

    Thank you very much for posting your playing of my arrangement of Rhuddlan Marsh together with the spectacular slideshow. I am happy that it works for mandolins. I especially liked when you moved the melody to the OM on the A part the second time through the tune. Someday I hope to see Wales myself, and the land and artifacts that inspired exquisite tunes such as this one.
    Evelyn:

    I've now also recorded your arrangement of the second tune you've posted, The Red Piper's Melody (or Digan y pibydd coch). Played on Gibson Ajr (melody), Washburn F-style (descant), Mid-Missouri M-111 octave mandolin (harmony and intro), Ozark tenor guitar (rhythm).

    The pictures are of Ewloe Castle and the surrounding Wepre Gorge in Flintshire, North Wales. It's walking distance from my home and one of my favourite places to draw breath -- an open-access unstaffed castle ruin in the middle of a densely-forested gorge which changes dramatically in setting and mood through the year.



    Martin

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    Registered User harper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Thank you for making another lovely video, Martin. You indeed live in a spectacular place. I am attaching one more arrangement of a Welsh tune, "Blackthorn Blossom." It's in a collection of 50 waltzes and airs I have arranged and composed. Here are notes about the tune:

    “Blackthorn Blossom (Blodau’r Drain),” a.k.a. “Flowers of the Thorn” is a Welsh air included in Edward Jones’ Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh (p. 67). Jones translated the Welsh title as “The Blossom of the Thorns.” There are two common thorn bushes in Wales, the blackthorn and the hawthorn. The blackthorn blossoms in spring before having leaves, whereas the hawthorn flowers in summer after its leaves are out. I chose my title for its alliteration and reference to spring. The tune appears in Bill Matthiesen’s Waltz Book, vol. 1 (p. 23) as “Flowers of the Thorn” and in Peter Barnes’ English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 1 (p. 135) as “Waterfall Waltz II (Flowers of the Thorn).”

    I hope you enjoy the tune.

    Evelyn
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Blackthorn blossom EWB treble II Castiglioni.pdf  
    Harper (My other mandolin is a harp)

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Quote Originally Posted by harper View Post
    Thank you for making another lovely video, Martin. You indeed live in a spectacular place. I am attaching one more arrangement of a Welsh tune, "Blackthorn Blossom."
    Thanks, Evelyn. That looks like another good arrangement. We're playing your arrangements of Rhuddlan March and your own Masquerade quite regularly with our group now -- they're very popular with my colleagues, so I'll try out this one at our next rehearsal.

    I recorded an unaccompanied version of Blodau'r Drain a few years ago on my Mid-Mo:



    Martin

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    Registered User greenwdse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    So when are we putting together the Welsh tablature book? Beginners could start with Gee Ceffyl Bach and Cwm Rhondda and work their way up to more emotional Welsh songs. . .like Delilah.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    Some really good stuff.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User greenwdse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    I just checked out her facebook page. Sian has put together an enormous collection of songs. I'd like to listen to one of her shows now.

  22. #17
    Registered User harper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mândelyn

    There is a treasure trove of Welsh traditional music published in the late 1700s and mid 1800's available as pdfs online:

    A. Bennett's Collection of Old Welsh Airs Alawon fy ngwlad (The lays of my land) available from the Boston Public Library, vol. 1 http://archive.org/details/alawonfyngwladla01benn

    and vol. 2 http://archive.org/details/alawonfyngwladla02benn

    Joseph Parry Cambrian Minstrelsie (Alawon Gwalia): A National Collection of Welsh Songs (only vol 1 of 6 volumes available) available from Google Books vol. 1 http://books.google.com/books?id=btx...page&q&f=false

    Edward Jones Musical and Poetical relicks of the Welsh Bards - several editions are available from Google Books. Here is the 1794 version http://books.google.com/books?id=uaI...page&q&f=false
    and an 1802 version designated vol. 2 http://books.google.com/books?id=rWY...page&q&f=false.

    I am not sure these Google Books links will work, but you can find them by doing an advanced search on Google Books.
    Harper (My other mandolin is a harp)

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