Dafydd y Garreg Wen “David of the White Rock”

This lovely piece is traditionally said to have been composed in the mid 17th century by the harpist David Owen, on his death bed. It is sad, yet has a touch of pride throughout.

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David Owen (January 1712 – August 1741) was a Welsh harpist, best remembered as the composer of this popular song.

According to the Welsh tradition, Owen was believed to have just died, but, suddenly reviving, told his mother that he had just heard one of the sweetest songs of heaven. He asked for his harp, and after it was given to him, he requested that this the piece to be played at his funeral. As the last note was dying away from the performance, David died along with it. The melody was preserved from memory by his mother, who was herself a good harpist.

Special notes are included, featuring the first extant publication of the piece.

Key: E minor

Mood: sad, proud

Pedagogy: fingering, dynamics, ritardando


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