Janed ar Wern


Janed ar Wern



My instrumental adaptation for harp and flute of a Breton folk song. The title means  Janet from Guernsey.  One source says this is one of the oldest Breton melodies; the song's lyrics are about a witch. New revised version and audio file of 21 December 2022.

Comments as always welcome.

The audio file was created with software as a demo.

A demo score (watermarked, without ancillary material) is available in a public access file here. If anyone wants to see a full score, please pm me, or see my permissions page, link below.



The melody is adapted from Musiques Bretonnes by M. Duhamel 1913.
Please note that while this composition is based on a traditional melody in the public domain, this
adaptation is an original creative work under copyright. For performance permission, please see my permissions page:
Image: photo of Pointe du Raz in Brittany by S. Moeller


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  • I have been to Cape Breton. I only bring this up because I was exposed to some of the music there which is interesting because it has a french and an Irish element to it.

    This music is more of a lament in contrast. 

    This is probabably one of my favorites from you so far. The harp is very realistically done. I love the combination of harp and flute. The parts sit very well together.

    • Thanks for the comment, and I'm glad you like it.

      I think of it not so much a lament but a dream vision, like Keats' La Belle Dame.

      I tried to keep the harp within its tessitura as defined by the books on orchestration I've consulted.  The key signature was chosen because flats on an orchestral harp are open strings, which are more resonant.  Though the key signature is four flats, in effect there are five, since all the Gs are flat.  

      To clarify for those who may not be familiar with the subject, Cape Breton is an island off Nova Scotia which in the 17th and 18th century was heavily settled by Gaelic speaking immigrants from Scotland.  Their traditional music, featuring especially fiddle, developed into a distinct Celtic music tradition, one related to but different from Breton music strictly speaking, which is the music of Brittany in northwest France.  The melody my composition is based on is from Brittany.

      • Correction: should be 18th and 19th century (apparently I can't edit replies even on my own discussion.)

  • Does anyone want to comment on whether playing in a key with so many flats is difficult for flute?

  • Hi Jon,

    I definitely liked this.  This is my best choice in your ouvre

    that you have shared with CF.

    I wonder the lyrics of this song very much.  My first Symphony's

    second movement depicts the burning of a 'witch'.  It is a heart felt

    process that humanity has gone through and sometimes is still going


    I appreciate the feeling you have shared here.


    • Thanks for the encouraging comments.

      My source is the book listed in the score displayed at the MuseScore link.  I must have seen a copy on line, but now I can't find a link to it again.

  • Really Nice Jon!

    • Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.

  • New version of the audio file with the new MuseScore sound font of 21 December 2023.  The harp, I think, sounds much better, though I'm still aiming at a human performance as my bottom line. I don't play harp, but my study of orchestration books indicated, if I understand it, that if I wrote it in four flats the pedals could be set so that the only accidental in the score on the harp staff would be simply to flat all the Gs. I haven't posted the score on line since people tend to steal them (it has happened,) but if anyone wants to see it please post or pm and we'll figure something out.

    • It seems I can't edit the above reply, but I wanted to correct it to note that since it was written I have in fact posted a score; the link is in the text of the main posting.

This reply was deleted.