Letter from Margaret Dean-Smith to Ralph Vaughan Williams

Letter No.: 
4th November, 1946.

Cecil Sharp House
2 Regent's Park Road

Dear Dr Vaughan Williams,

I am so sorry to trouble you, but I wonder whether you would be good enough to look again at the two songs of Mr. Collinson's - "I wish, I wish", and "I'll raise an army"? I am not sure whether I have transcribed your own notes correctly in the case of the second (I am enclosing these with the songs) and I am rather uncertain about the content of Miss Gilchrist's note on the first.

Have I correctly transcribed your sentence "The F.S.J.1 has instances of complete tunes which are only identical except for the major for minor 2nd [3rd] which converts the a Dorian into a mixolydian tune"?2

I find the note on "I wish, I wish" rather confusing, for the words of the song seem to me to belong to "The Brisk Young Sailor" but the tune to "The Black Eyed Sailor". Are these words and tunes commonly interchanged, or is there a similar identity between the two songs?

[Folk tunes are quite interchangeable e.g. "Lazarus" & "Maria Martin"]

Yours sincerely,
Margaret Dean-Smith
Editor of the E.F.D.S. Journal

Dr. Vaughan Williams,
White Gates.
Westcott Road,
Dorking, Surrey.

[Enclosure in the hand of VW:]

I'll raise an army

Obviously the second half of the tune (for version of the complete tune see F.S.J. passim)
Folksingers especially when they get old are apt to sing the 2nd half of the tune only. I have known folksingers start off [...?] with the whole tune but degenerate half way through to the second half only
The F# is not really foreign to the mode. The true minor 3rd of the diatonic scale is very close to the major 2nd & singers often change from one to the other
-The F.S.J. has instances of complete tunes which are nearly identical except for the major for minor 2nd which converts a Dorian into a Mixolydian tune.
see the different variants of "Lazarus" in the F.S.J.

1. Folk-Song Society Journal
2. VW corrects 2nd to 3rd, but his original (in the enclosure) appears to be 2nd, presumably his error.

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Anne Geddes Gilchrist Manuscript Collection AGG/10/249A and B]
General notes: 

Text in square brackets within the letter is manuscript in the hand of VW, as is the enclosure; the remainder of the letter is typed.