This week's documentary tracing the development of an oral tradition in Wales which dates back to the Middle Ages shows that even today it still causes controversy.
Adrodd: Yr Hanes follows the development of the craft of recitation in Wales, noting important changes along the way, including a huge change in 1992, when performing took over from recitation.
This development, which allows more movement on stage, and the use of props, has polarised views.
Crowned bard Aled Gwyn says, "It's a betrayal of centuries of Welsh language tradition from the days of the cyfarwydd (story teller), and it should be re-established. With the introduction of gestures, the words themselves disappear. Subtlety has been thown out with the bathwater."
Anglesey actress Marged Esli adds, "Replacing recitation with performing is as if we're ashamed of what has been, and we seem to be re-packaging something which was perfect as it was."
Actress Manon Elis Jones, currently playing Michelle in S4C teen drama series, Rownd a Rownd, disagrees, and welcomes the development. "The trouble with recitation was that people were over emphasising things. I believe it's important that we've got rid of the word 'recitation'."
Alun Jones, the person who persuaded the Central Committee of the Urdd youth movement to accept the new form of recitation on stage at the Urdd Eisteddfod, explains his reasons for introducing the change which has revolutionised the craft in Wales. "I felt that recitation had got into a rut, among the groups taking part and also the solo performers."
The craft of recitation may have developed over the years, but one thing has remained unchanged. The Llwyd o'r Bryn prize at the National Eisteddfod - the 'Oscar' of the recitation world in Wales - it still an important competition today. Poet T. James Jones, who has won both the Chair and Crown at the National Eisteddfod, won the Llwyd o'r Bryn in 1966, and he reminisces about this achievement in the documentary.
Having walked on stage and announced which literary work he was going to present, he realised that he'd forgotten the first word of the piece. He hesitated, and then miracuolously, the word came into his mind. He carried on and won the day.
"In his adjudication, W H Roberts said that the dramatic pause at the beginning of the piece had been extremely effective!" says T James Jones with a smile.
Another chaired bard, Dic Jones, will be reminiscing in Heledd Cynwal's company on the programme Cofio this week. Among the TV clips from the past will be one of Dic being welcomed home after winning the Eisteddfod chair in 1966.
Seven young poets come under the spotlight in the documentary Saith Bardd on Tuesday. It's an opportunity for us to get to know them better, to listen to their discussions about poetry and each other. The seven are Iwan Rhys, Aneirin Karadog, Hywel Griffiths, Eurig Salisbury, Catrin Dafydd, Osian Rhys and Rhys Iorwerth.
© 2012 S4C
O Gymru / Made in Wales