Crwth [chorus, crot, crowd]
- Bethan Miles
- and Robert Evans
[chorus, crot, crowd]
A Welsh term for a plucked and, from about the 11th century, a bowed lyre. The name is cognate with the Irish crot, cruit, which originally denoted a plucked lyre but was ultimately used for a harp. The Middle English crouthe, crowd(e) is a late 12th-century borrowing of the Welsh crwth. For related north European lyres see Rotte (ii), Stråkharpa, and Scotland, §II, 8.
Three 18th-century six-string Welsh crwths have survived: the Foelas crwth (fig.1 ), made in 1742 by Richard Evans (fl 1736–56); one held at the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery; and a third at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. A small number of modern makers now make exact copies of crwths, and playing techniques are being rediscovered through experimentation and in the light of the evidence of 16th-century treatises.