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Phonograph Cylinders collected by Lady Ruth Herbert Lewis

Unable to write notation or sol-ffa, Lady Herbert Lewis would certainly have been severely hindered in her work were it not for her Edison Standard Phonograph, on which all songs were recorded. The first of these revolutionary machines, which both recorded and reproduced speech, were invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison. The portable 'Standard' appeared in 1898 and constituted the most popular model amongst the general public for several years. Phonographs were unfamiliar to most of the rural population of Wales, however, and not surprisingly some interviewees were rather wary of singing into such a machine and needed considerable coaxing before doing so. Once persuaded they sang into the phonograph's trumpet, which was held either close to the mouth or on one edge rested on the chin. Following the recording songs were transcribed by the young musician friend of Lady Herbert Lewis, Morfudd Llwyn Owen, who would often then perform them to her own accompaniments at recitals.

The performers and titles of the retrieved songs, as written on the cylinder boxes, are listed below.

  1. Jane Williams - i. Ffarwel i wlad; ii. O bachgen wyf (RealAudio 16.0Kbps)
  2. Jane Williams - ?
  3. Mr Roberts - Hela'r llwynog (RealAudio 16.0Kbps)
  4. R.Roberts, Smithy, Rhydyrarian - Cân llwynog
  5. Ifan Edwards, Nantglyn - Hen llanc (sic)?
  6. Miss Phillips, Castell Newydd Emlyn - Draw mi welodd
  7. Miss Phillips, Castell Newydd Emlyn - Cân yn nofio
  8. Mr George Nichols - Calls
  9. Rev. H.T. Jacob, Miss Harris; Rev. Symmonds - Y fwyalchen
  10. Male voice party - ?
  11. JHL (J.Herbert Lewis?) - Chanties (sic)
  12. ? - Mari Lwyd
An Edison 'Standard', similar to that used by Ruth Herbert Lewis
An Edison 'Standard', similar to that used by Ruth Herbert Lewis

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