WALES. Vol. II] AUGUST, 1895. [No. 16. THE CULTIVATION OF WELSH MUSIC AND SONG. By Dr. Kuno Meyer, The University College, Liverpool. OU will under¬ stand that my opinions and conclusions are those of a foreign student of Welsh poetry and music, and can¬ not pretend to be based on the same familiarity with the subject, which many, if not most of you possess. The only interest that may perhaps attach to them is that they come from one who is, at any rate, unbiased by national prejudice or patriotic enthusiasm. The Welsh nation has indeed received a glorious heritage of a long and remarkable past, in the treasure of national life and institutions handed down, and it is surely their duty in their turn to hand down this heritage uncurtailed to their descendants. There is first of all your language. I need not say anything as to the desirability of keeping it up, and I believe its future is assured. Nor do I doubt the continuance and growth of your literature. Within the very last years it has assumed greater pro¬ portions. New fields are beginning to be cultivated. The first Welsh novels have been written. And the nation which has but lately produced a John Ceiriog Hughes need not fear the imminent decay of the art of poetry. It is true of any nation that there is no better means of becoming acquainted with its character and genius than by studying its art, its literature, and its music, in which a nation gives us a truer picture of itself, of its life, of its ideals, and aspirations, of all that it cherishes and all that it hates, than could be obtained from its history or from its politics. Still more must this be the case with a nation like the Welsh, whose whole intellectual life for many centuries was under the influence of the two sister arts of music and poetry, whose whole life, the life of the nation, of the clan, of the family, of the individual from the cradle to the grave, with all its traditions and customs, was inseparably bound up with these arts. But I feel less sure as to the future of Welsh music and song. And I wish to plead here particularly for the cultivation of your national music, for your national instrument,—the harp,—and for an art esteemed slightly by many, but which is one of the most characteristic, as it is one of the most ancient, that of canu gyda'r tannau. I think a decay of popular music among the Welsh would be a calamity, the extent of which cannot easily be gauged. Even now there are indications of such decay. Some of the oldest and finest melodies are on the point of dying out. John Ceiriog Hughes was able to count up more than 1,100 Welsh airs with their names, and though quite a number of these appear twice or even three times under different names, yet the number of known tunes may safely be rated at about 600. But how few of these are now known except to a few enthusiasts ? And where is the harper now to be found, and where the datceiniad, who can play and sing the 50 cdawon datganiadol, which Idris Vychan in his essay on penhillion singing enumerates ? And alas ! the most beautiful are lost first, because they are often the most difficult of performance. Thus the grand strain called Ffarwel Philip Ystwyth, which Idris 22 337