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Praise and performance : congregational and choral music in the Nonconformist chapels of North-east Wales and Liverpool during the 19th century

Williams, Godfrey Wyn (2011) Praise and performance : congregational and choral music in the Nonconformist chapels of North-east Wales and Liverpool during the 19th century. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to explore the transition of congregational singing from Christian praise to competitive choral performance in relation to the counties of Denbighshire, Flintshire and the Welsh community on Merseyside during the 19th century. At the heart of the working-class communities were Nonconformist chapels that provided free education in the Sunday schools, and with the formation of Yr Ysgol Gdn (singing schools) the religious curriculum was extended to include singing. Through this faculty, indigenous Welsh composers were trained as language, religion and culture became the dominant social influence that underpinned the development of the choral tradition. During the mid-1830s the social blight of drunkenness prompted the Temperance Movement to begin its campaign for reform, and the attractions of the tavern were challenged by means of choirs, eisteddfodau and a repertoire of popular Welsh melodies. A competition for unpublished airs at the Llangollen Eisteddfod of 1858 revived interest in Welsh traditional music and inspired John Owen (Owain A law, 1821-1883) to publish his Gems of Welsh Melody. In the following year, Ieuan Gwyllt (1822-1877) published a collection of hymn-tunes, Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol that swept across Wales in step with the Great Religious Revival of 1859. Curwen introduced Tonic Sol-fa to the worshipping communities in Liverpool and in turn, Eleazar Roberts (1825-1912) promoted the method throughout Wales with the help of Ieuan Gwyllt, who launched his Welsh language music journal, Y Cerddor Cymreig [The Welsh Musician], in 1861. This thesis also evaluates the contribution of the two American evangelists, Moody and Sankey, who sang the Gospel story to the people of Liverpool with unfettered melodies which Gwyllt adapted to Welsh hymnody in his Swn y Juwbili (1874). From the 1880s, elaborate pipe organs were being installed in chapels and cymanfaoedd canu became 'showcase events', while eisteddfodau gratified the obsession with competitive singing until the religious revival of 1904-05 when Welsh choral singing returned to its spiritual roots.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of Music
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 14 May 2015 05:21
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2016 09:18
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/4531
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