Friday, August 19, 2011

The Crwth

I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, and I’m too lazy to check. But I was doing some research into my last name and I found out that my last name means something close to “the player of the Crwth.” The Crwth? Never heard of it. It sounds like something made up by Lovecraft, but it’s a real thing. Turns out a Crwth is a musical instrument. It kind of looks like a lute, or a guitar, depending on how you want to stretch it. It looks like this:

According to some of the things I've read, it’s a Welsh instrument, popularly used in music for about a thousand years. It was played with a bow, like a violin, but it had a flat bridge, so you couldn't play it one note at a time like a violin. That means it was probably used primarily to accompany a singer or another instrument. It’s probably the violin that killed off the Crwth because you could play melodic lines, so it was a more versatile instrument.

I thought I’d buy a Crwth and learn to play it. Makes sense, right? But the cheapest one I could find is a box Crwth for about $500 dollars. A real Crwth, carved out of a large piece of wood, can run you about $3000, and usually has to be ordered from England.


If you don’t know me personally, it is fitting that my name is about a person who plays a musical instrument. I have been involved with music almost my entire life. And it’s a big part of my heritage. My grandfather was a string player. He played violin, or “fiddle” as he would have called it, as well as guitar and banjo. The story goes, in the family, that he tried out for the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee, but the pay wasn’t enough so he refused and took a job at the factories in Detroit instead. It’s stunningly frustrating to think about. I can totally relate to his situation. Music don’t much pay de bills.

So I’m thinking about taking my name back to the original. It would be something like “McCrwther.” I love that. But I wouldn’t really change my name. Another way of pronouncing it is the last name “Crowder,” which is from the same root, so David Crowder and myself might be related. Ya know. Talent running in the family and all. Heh heh. Maybe I can use that as a cheap excuse to get him to record one of my songs.

I’m reminded at this point of sir Michael Jackson, who said, and I quote: “You keep dreamin’”

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

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