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date: 20 January 2020


  • Geraint Lewis,
  • Lyn Davies
  •  and Phyllis Kinney


A principality in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Wales was a separate country from 613 to 1282, when it came under English rule. It is largely a highland area with a traditionally pastoral economy, although in parts of lowland south Wales agriculture is also important, and investment from outside Wales brought new industries to the principality in the late 20th century. The population includes descendants of various pre-Celtic, Celtic and other stocks, and about a quarter are Welsh-speaking. As a result, the Welsh are actively conscious of their Celtic heritage, and this is reflected in their music and in the late survival of archaic forms and instruments. Despite a long history of traditional music, it was not until the 19th century, when the development of coalfields in north-east and south Wales created dense urban centres, that art music, outside the church, began to develop.

After the long and slow alignment of the Celtic Church with Rome, the Latin period was fully established by Norman times (11th century) and it continued until the Reformation. Archbishop Peckham (...

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Current Musicology
London, British Library
Music & Letters
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Aberystwyth, Llyfryell Genedlaethol Cymru/National Library of Wales