Welsh Guitar

Contains transcriptions from the CD of all 42 Welsh aires, dances & harp pieces arranged for solo guitar.  Easy to moderate difficulty.  Includes: Grey Cuckoo * Sailor’s Grave * Sweet Richard * Missing Boat, etc.   All music in staff notation and tablature.  CD available £22.00                                            23cmsx30cms  64 pages

(Michael was born in Cardiff, of Lancastrian parents, but moved to Staffordshire at the age of three in 1941 returning to Wales to complete his school education at Towyn Grammar School and became Midlands Decathlon Champion in 1954.  He held a life-long interest in the legendary Owain Glyndwr.)

The national music of Wales falls into three main categories: folk song and dance proper, harp music and hymn tunes.  The hymn melodies are magnificent and world renowned.  For the most part they are Welsh folksong aires, somewhat tamed and regularised for communal singing by Non-conformists in the mid 18th century.  However, these same “men of the chapel” suppressed the majority of folk songs and dances and not until the early years of the 20th century was a serious attempt made to collect and preserve them.  Much must have been lost and some are badly debased, but amongst what has been saved are many beautiful and melancholic pieces thought by scholars to be of pre-Celtic origin.  This is the music of the man in the field and the farm.


The Welsh have a long tradition of aristocratic minstrelsy and chief amongst them were the harpers.  Welsh music has a quality that sets it apart from its Celtic and Anglo-Saxon neighbours. Though the Welsh speak a Celtic tongue they are predominantly of an older, pre-Celtic, Iberian blood stock – a people of short stature, with dark hair and a melancholic disposition.  No music in Britain is older, deeper in its roots than theirs.


As to myself, I am not Welsh.  My ancestors hailed from Nottinghamshire and Cumbria, but I was born in Cardiff and educated at Towyn (near Aberdovey).  I have a feeling for the Welsh and hope that my dabblings with their musical heritage does not cause offence. I have published many books of English, Irish, European and American pieces but none have given me more satisfaction than the Welsh music I have worked on.


The technical difficulty of the arrangements in this collection do not exceed Grade IV.  This is not to belittle the music.  It is the quality of the music that counts, not the degree of difficulty required to perform it.  Likewise it is better to play an easy piece well than a difficult piece badly.  The beauty of the guitar lies in its ability to express mood and emotion, to tug at the heart with a single pained note.


Michael Raven – Summer 1994


Price £18.00

ISBN 978 0 906114 38 4