Language and Music

Language and Music


It’s no surprise that I recognise it 

whenever I hear it spoken

like I did that Boxing Day 

at M&S in Bath, though I hadn’t 

heard it for years, and couldn’t 

pick out a word - diolch, diawn,

and not at that time of day nostar.


My dad thought it was Polish

but I knew it to be Welsh,

for I used to listen to it spoken

every day in the shops, on the bus,

in Sospan Fach. But it’s a mystery to me

how just recently, whenever Monteverdi

comes on the radio unannounced


or I tune in half way through,

somehow I guess it is him 

and guess right as I learn

when the music ends

or from the text on the screen

or by saying to my phone

What’s this song? 


The only tune I know is Pur Ti Miro, 

perhaps not in fact written by him.

He’s on none of my CDs 

or old tapes. With other composers

I often guess wrong.

What does this reveal about me

except how long I've listened to Radio 3?


◄ Curlew

Great-Aunts ►


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Uilleam Ó Ceallaigh

Thu 11th May 2023 21:29

Thank you so much Peter for this.
What a rich tapestry of language and music we have, in this small space which is the British Isles; Irish (Gaeilge), Scottish (Gàidhlig), Welsh, Cornish, Manx, etc.

I'm no monarchist, but I was moved by Bryn Terfel's Welsh "Kyrie Eleison".

Purely as a very amateur musician, I have long been interested and amazed by, the connection between language and music; especially the effect music has on the well-being of those with dementia. and related conditions.

Just my opinion, but keep listening to radio 3; far better than the commercialised saccharine dross which is Classic something or other, posing as culture!😊

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