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A brief introduction

The Robert ap Huw Manuscript (British Library Additional MS 14905) contains some 71 pages of Welsh Harp music. This music is part of a repertoire of over 300 pieces, catalogued in several 16th century manuscripts. The known composers of the music have been placed in a period ranging from c.1340 to c.1485. Some of the unattributed pieces may well be older, the titles of many of these have reference to pre-1320, and several pieces have reference to earlier times.

This music, known as Cerdd Dant, the music of string, belongs to the ancient bardic traditions of Wales.

The material was copied by Robert ap Huw from earlier sources including a book by Wiliam Penllyn, a 16th century master harper.

This is the oldest collection of harp music in existence and by far the oldest to contain both bass and treble parts.

The manuscript offers a unique window into an ancient style of music that once dominated the Celtic world.



First sections of Caniad y Gwyn Bibydd on page 36 of the Robert ap Huw manuscript reproduced by permission of the British Library


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last updated 17/04/06