This is an unusual
passage in that the normal position of the hands is reversed.
It will be noticed that some chords in the lower stave which are
missing or misplaced in the tablature have been restored. The
digits of the measure (0011 0011) are here marked in green; the
words "bis dechre" at the end of the first line mean
that the first half of the line (up to the spiral mark) has to
The movements which
are numbered in red in the facsimile above are worthy of special
1 Plethiad y
wahynen a single backstroke with the middle finger.
2 This figure is
a scribal error: it should look like a letter z, and is a single
backstroke with the ring finger.
3 An extended version
of crafiad sengl, which normally consists of only three
notes. The two highest notes are struck together.
4 Tafliad y
bys ("throwing of the finger") - a composite movement
which takes its name from the fact that the second finger has
to play three notes in all, requiring it to leap from one string
5 Ysgwyd y bys
a single backstroke with the index finger.
In order for the
reader to follow the allocation of note lengths in the above transcription,
two principles should be borne in mind:
1. The first note
of each plethiad movement comes immediately before the
2. The single-note
(backstrike) crychiad movements: plethiad y wahynen,
the z movement, and ysgwyd y bys come immediately
before the plethiad movements they anticipate.
The various movements
in the upper part fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle;
Peter Greenhill has noted that certain combinations of movements
occur very frequently, and it is difficult to imagine any other
way in which they could be pieced together so comfortably. In
the transcription above, to illustrate the fingering, where two
numbers for fingering are placed one above the other, the upper
number is for the finger which strikes the string, and the lower
one for the finger which damps it, as the next string is struck.
Notes which are struck with the back of the nail are marked in
the transcription with a bar (|) above the note. The fingering
technique works in such a way that the hand rarely has to shift
position, and then usually between phrases.
While the transcription
given above shows the order in which the notes are played, and
their positions relative to the main beats, the note values should
not be taken literally. Peter Greenhills study of the rhythms
of Welsh poetry, and those of some British traditional music,
such as Lancashire hornpipes, have led him to the conclusion that
the shorter notes should not be played evenly. Pairs of semiquavers
in the transcription should be played long-short, as quaver-semiquaver
triplets. This gives the music a spring, or bounce; if played
as written, these passages would sound rather dead. This is one
element which gives Paul Dooleys performances their lightness