Annotation:March of the Men of Harlech

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X:1 T:Gorhoffedd Gwyr Harlech T:March of the Men of Harlech M:C L:1/8 S:Jones - Welsh Bards (1794) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:C {C/E/G/}c>BAB cdec|fedc BABG|{C/E/G/}c>BAB cdeg|g<e d>c c4:| |:d>cB>c dd z2|g>fe>f gg z2|g>fe>f g>fe>f|g>fe>f gg ze| f>ag>g f>fe>e|df/e/dc BABG|{C/E/G/}c>BAB cdeg|g<e d>c c4:|

MARCH OF THE MEN OF HARLECH (Gorhofedd Gwyr Harlech). AKA - "Men of Harlech," "Ymdaith Gwyr Harlech." Welsh, March (4/4 time). C Major (Jones): B Flat Major (Balmoral). Standard tuning (fiddle). The music was first printed in Edward Jones' Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards (London, 1784). Different sets of words have been set to the tune. It was published in Gems of Welsh Melody (ed. John Owen, "Owain Alaw", 1860), the Welsh lyrics by "Talhaiarn", the English by W.H. Baker. Another lyric, by John Oxenford, appears in The Songs of Wales, (ed. Brinley Richards, 1873). Welsh words were also added to the tune by the poet John Ceiriog Hughes and published in his 1890 volume Cant O Ganeuon (One Hundred Songs); an English translation followed a few years later.

The march was supposed by some to have been composed during the Wars of the Roses, when Harlech Castle (nine miles north of or Barmouth, and two hundred twenty three miles west-north-west of London) was besieged by the forces of Edward IV during the years 1468–1469, defended by Dafydd ap Ieuan. The castle was a celebrated Welsh fortress, having been built c. 530, and it is perhaps the oldest British fort whose remains are still standing. Bayard (1981) found a southwestern Pennsylvania fifer's version of the tune called "Nixon No. 2." "Men of Harlech" was the regimental march of the South Wales Borderers. It was the first tune Gloucestershire fiddler Stephen Baldwin (1873–1955) learned from his father.

Classical composer Sir Edward German (1862-1936) used the song as the climax of his Welsh Rhapsody, a commission for the Cardiff Festival in 1904. The music and song are featured in the 1964 film Zulu, although there is no evidence it was ever sung by the British defenders of that 1879 event. They were the 2nd Warwickshire Regiment, and the Regimental Quick March of the era was "Warwickshire Lads (The)", a tune (originally "The Warwickshire Lad") composed by the popular composer and dramatist Charles Dibdin (for a Shakespearean celebration in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1769). "Men of Harlech" was adopted as the Regimental Quick March of the South Wales Borderers in 1881.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Cole (Pocket Companion for the Flute, Flageolet or Violin, vol. 5), 18--; p. 4. J. Edward Jones (A choice collection of 51 Welsh airs), 1863; p. 5. Kenyon Lees (Balmoral Reel Book), c. 1910; p. 36. Wier (The Book of a Thousand Songs), 1918; p. 314.

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