Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to the Folk Song Society

Letter No.: 
VWL149
[?November 1906]

183 Adelaide Road,
Hampstead, N.W.

I think that the 1st paragraph on p.5, namely that dealing with the B.O.E.1 needs modification and I should like to propose a resolution on this subject.
But 1st I ought to explain that I am myself a member of the Ctee and was present when the report was drafted.  At the time I wished the paragraph to be omitted but when the rest of the Ctee considered this to be impossible I accepted the para[graph] believing it to represent the views of the Ctee as expressed by them in a letter which they sent to the B.o.E. Namely that they welcomed the idea of teaching folk-songs in schools but considered that the board was not consistently carrying out the scheme which they enunciated - that is what I understood the paragraph to mean.
I now find however that this sentence is capable of an entirely different construction indeed I find that several people to whom I have shown it take it for granted that it means unreserved approval of the board’s scheme, and that the words “consistently carried out” refer not to the B.o.E. itself but to school teachers and others to whom their suggestions are addressed.
Now the views of your Ctee are not at all this but are, as I understand, approval of the B.o.E’s general idea but disapproval of their failure to distinguish between the folk-song and other classes of song, and their failure to include more genuine folk-songs in their list of recommended songs.
This was the substance of a letter sent by his Ctee and signed by our president to the B.o.E.
In such a very important matter as this I feel that there should be no ambiguity.  Therefore I for one and I hope other members of his Ctee shall be very glad if the society will give us this opportunity of reconsidering this section of our report.
I should also like to add that we are the Folk Song Society - and that therefore however pleased we may be at the general improvement in music contemplated by the board we ought to confine ourselves to the folk song question and that any mention of any class of song known as “national” should be omitted as being outside our province and as leading to confusion between those two very distinct classes of music.


1. Board of Education.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/3, ff.121-122
General notes: 

This letter is the draft of a speech to be made to a General Meeting of the Folk Song Society following VW’s letters to Cecil Sharp VWL147 and VWL148. See Karpeles, Cecil Sharp, pp.58-62. VW’s motion to the meeting was  not carried and the eventual consequence was the establishment of the English Folk Dance Society.
 

Format: 
Letter
Citation: 
Cobbe 46
Original database number: 
0611xd