Learning a Hymn (Ebenezer) in Welsh

I wonder if you could help me please.

I sing in a Male Voice Choir (OMVC in Grimsby North East Lincolnshire) and as part of our repertoire this concert season we are going to include “EBENEZER” and we would like to sing it in Welsh.

As one of the three welsh members of the choir (although not welsh speaking) I have been tasked with obtaining the welsh words and any phonetics or learning guides to teach the choir.

Can SSIW help please.

Any suggestions or guidance gratefully accepted.

Ian Williams (01472 233687)
Vice Chairman
Orpheus Male Voice Choir (Grimsby and Cleethorpes)

This isn’t a strength of mine, but we might have some others who can help track the right stuff down. :sunny:

How does it go in English?

Noswaith dda Ian. The words are as follows:

Dyma Gariad fel y moroedd,
Tosturiaethau fel y lli;
Tywysog bywyd pur yn marw-
Marw i brynu bywyd ni.
Pwy all beidio â chofio amdano?
Pwy all beidio â thraethu’i glod?
Dyma gariad nad â’n anghof
Tra fo nefoedd wen yn bod.

Ar Galfaria yr ymrwygodd
Holl ffynhonnau’r dyfnder mawr;
Torodd holl argaeau’r nefoedd
Oedd yn gyfain hyd yn awr;
Gras a chariad megis dilyw
Yn ymdywallt yma 'nghyd,
A chyfiawnder pur a heddwch
Yn cusanu euog fyd.

I can’t help with phonetics or learning guides but Welsh is a phonetic language once you know the alphabet - every syllable is pronounced and of course w and y are vowels. Try Youtube for the alphabet.


Thanks, much appreciated.
I’ll get down to the hard work now.
Ian Williams

Here is an English version “off You Tube.”
The second link is an “organ version”
There are other recordings on You Tube

Any help greatly appreciated.
Thanks very much for your interest.
Ian Williams

Thanks, much appreciated.
I’ll get down to the hard work now.
Ian Williams

Hi @ian_williams_7739814 I’ve found this recording of it sung in Welsh then English so should help you with pronunciation. It’s really beautiful!


And another version sung very clearly


These two versions feature the same modern folk singer - Cerys Matthews(?) and I’m sure that they use the modified tune of another famous Welsh hymn - Calon Lan. There are two traditional hymn tunes used for these lyrics, both are stirring and one of these is Ebenezer but I don’t know the name of the other. We had some tape recordings of a series of concerts in the 1970’s featuring 6000 Welsh voices in the Albert Hall. It featured many of the great Welsh hymns including Dyma Gariad but also Cwm Rhondda and Tydi a Roddaist and showcased the wonderful choral singing that is part of the Welsh musical heritage. Hackle raising and emotional stuff.

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Thanks very much, the words and pronunciation will be extremely useful.
Ian Williams

Thanks Dee,
They will both be great help.
Ian Williams

Hi Ian - Catrin did a recording of this to help give you more chances at figuring out the individual words:

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Llais ardderchog.

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Thanks very much for this, just the job, greatly appreciate your help.
Ian Williams

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Just to confirm: Guynicholson is correct. Neither of the lovely sung videos above uses the tune Ebenezer.

Words and tunes are distinct things in hymn-singing and can be endlessly mixed and matched. That’s why you’ll see notations on a hymnal page that look like “87.87.7” or “10.10.10” – it’s an instruction about how many syllables is in each line of the words used on that page, so you know you can use those same words with another tune with a matching set of numbers. Traditional hymnals of metrical indices at the back so you can find all tunes that fit a particular arrangement of syllables.

Okay, back to Ebenezer. This is one of those tunes that confusingly has two names in common use: Ebenezer = Ton-y-Botel.

As for the English words used to it, several sets are listed here:

I think of it mostly as “Once to every man and Nation,” but I think that’s a holdover from my C of E days, because in the modern Episcopalian hymnal it’s used instead for “Thy strong word did cleave the darkness” and “Singing songs of expectation.”

Here’s a performance of Ebenezer/Ton-y-Botel with the “Once to Every Man and Nation” words:

Now, what about Welsh words? Interestingly, the Welsh/English hymnal used at Cymanfa Ganu hymn sings in the U.S. (of which there are a surprising number) uses different words than those that Ian’s choir will be singing. Here’s the version in the hymnal:

Yn y dyfroedd mawr a’r tonnau,
Nid oes neb a ddeil fy mhen
Ond fy annwyl Briod Iesu,
A fu farw ar y pren:
Cyfaill yw yn afon angau,
Ddeil fy mhen I uwch y don:
Golwg arno wna I mi ganu
Yn yr afon ddofn hon.

and there’s another verse. Less stirring than Ian’s version, and more modern-sounding, but still pretty old – they’re credited to Dafydd Williams of Llandeilo Fach (1720-1794).

Oh, and by the way: the Episcopalian hymnal in the U.S. calls the tune by its Welsh name. :slight_smile:

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Thanks very much for the information, its good to get the background and the explanation to the various versions. The spoken version by Catrin (from Aran Jones) gives me a very good basis for the pronunciation required for the “Ebenezer” we are singing. This version is:
EBENEZER, by T J Williams arr: ERIC JONES
It differs from the wording kindly spoken by Catrin insofar it contains 3 verses (not the two spoken by Catrin, which are the 1st and 3rd verses) If anyone could provide me with a spoken pronunciation of this second verse it would be greatly appreciated.
O na by ddai cariad Iesu
Me gis fflam a nger ddol gref
Yn fy nghalon i’wchyn hesu
Fely carwn innau Ef
O nachawn i brofi ner thou
red dau’r Ys- bryd Glan
Fel y ga llwn yn was ta doi
Y lle cwy no sein io can

Many thanks indeed for all the interest an most helpful comments and contributions given so far.

Regards to all
Ian William

I’m very glad it was of help to you. :slight_smile:

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