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Wales

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No. 32 Sept. 1958

O'r frest : Otherwise extempore or improvised.

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Times and the suggestion from Mr Osian Ellis, reproduced there, that
a small music pavilion would be a great help. It would indeed! And Mr
Ellis's notable success as an exporter and promoter of Welsh material
to the English market should stimulate other Welsh musicians to take
a little more pride and interest in exportable native material, if only for
economic reasons.
It is strange that Cerdd Dant, better known to music dictionaries as
penillion-singing, for long the vehicle for virtuosity in improvisation,
should now, when its following is so numerous, have suppressed the
extempore performer almost entirely. Cymdeithas Cerdd Dant mem-
bership has risen to 850 from 351 in seven years, and some excellent
expositors of its skills are to be found. But whereas, at one time, by a
kind of knock-out competition, calling for instant wedding of differ-
ent poetic metres to successive airs on the harp, extemporisation of a
counter-melody was the ultimate test, to-day all competitors sing
counter-melodies which are prepared and learned by them before hand
and sung by rote.
Cymdeithas Cerdd Dant, having so successfully won adherents to this
apparently unique attention to the wedding of music and verse, must
surely now concern itself with ways and means to develop the greater
facility where extemporisation can add profoundly to the wealth of
attraction Welsh men and women appear to have re-discovered in
this form of music.
For Eisteddfod music it is high time that advantage be taken of the
opportunities now available as a result of the elevation of the Welsh
language to its proper place in a Welsh festival.
Past subservience to the English language went far to stultify Welsh
musical expression at the Eisteddfod. The tremendous influence of
English tastes and habits has now been modified but we still await a
positive attitude which will seize upon music from all and every
country, if it is at all amenable to necessary adaptation.
Local music Committees need to have at their disposal a flow of
works ready for selection as test-pieces or for Concert-performance.
However enterprising they may be, time does not permit either the
necessary research or the subsequent adaptation for them to launch ex-
peditions into the remoter realms.
Only the Eisteddfod Council can initiate such a venture and that
body has the right to expect ready co-operation from any institution
or organisation which professes to serve Wales and its people.
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