Crwth is the Welsh name for this instrument. The crwth evolved as a member of the lyre family. After the invention of the musical bow (ca. 800 A.D.), a fingerboard was added and it evolved into a bowed lyre. At one time, it was widely used in Ireland, Scotland, and on the Continent, but by 1800 crwth playing could be heard only in the Celtic highlands of Wales. There has been a recent revival of crwth playing in Early Music ensembles.
There are four pairs of strings over the fingerboard which can be stopped. There is also one pair of bass drones that can be bowed or plucked by the left thumb. Several historical tunings for the crwth have been discovered in the limited research available. The Taylor crwth is tuned to an open G in octave pairs. In this tuning Mr. Taylor plays Early Music, as well as traditional fiddle tunes.
The back, sides, and yoke are made of walnut. The top is spruce. The fingerboard and tailpiece are maple. The original construction and placement of the tuning pegs made it difficult to keep the instrument in tune. Mr. Taylor has solved this problem by using modern fine tuners, which makes the crwth more enjoyable to play. All other aspects of the instrument are traditional. This model is based on the crwth in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Historical Instrument Collection. The decorative motif
carving is Mr. Taylor’s design.