Revealing the Objects: Music

Collections / Digitisation - Posted 17-08-2018

As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog series – ‘Revealing the Objects, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.

Here’s a selection of published music that will be digitized as part of the project.


Ann Griffiths (edited by Thomas Charles) – Casgliad o Hymnau: gan mwyaf heb erioed eu hargraffu o’r blaen (1806)

Ann Griffiths was a renowned hymn-writer and her compositions are major landmarks in the history of Welsh women’s writing. This volume is a compilation of her early works. Griffiths was a committed member of the Methodist Society and her hymns expressed her personal spiritual experiences. Calvinistic Methodism encouraged members to develop a personal relationship with God and this experience was explored and discussed in the Methodist ‘seiat’ (fellowship). Her main inspirations included the intense language of the seiat and folk poetry. It must be noted that Griffiths was an oral composer and her hymns were not intended for congregational purposes. Griffiths’s maid, Ruth, memorised her compositions and eventually recited them to her husband, the preacher John Hughes, who noted them on paper. ‘Casgliad o Hymnau’ was edited by Thomas Charles from the Bala.

John Roberts (Ieuan Gwyllt) – Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol (1859)

John Roberts was a Calvinist Methodist minister and musician. The publication of his book ‘Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol’ (‘A Book of Congregational Tunes’) was an important milestone in the development of congregation singing in Wales. After laboring for six years, he published the volume in 1859.

John Owen (Owain Alaw) – Gems of Welsh Melody (1860)

John Owen, or Owen Alaw, was an award winning musician. His famous volume ‘Gems of Welsh Melodies’, published in 1860, was a compilation of popular musical pieces. This collection, edited by Owen, proved very useful and was widely used in Wales. Welsh classics such as ‘Hên Wlad fy’n Nhadau’ and ‘Ar hyd y Nos’ appear in this collection.

Want to see more posts from this series? See below:


Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer

This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project

This post is also available in: Welsh

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