Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Maud Karpeles

Letter No.: 
VWL4896
[1953?]

Dear Maud
Chappell (old edition) does not mention Arethusa, or Princess Royal or Shield at all events in his index - I don't know where else to look.1 My musical library is very meagre - all I can tell you is that the very old Grove2 attributes "Arethuse" to Shield. 
I like your article very much on 3rd reading & only have one or two suggestions to make.
(1) I think you give too much space to Percy, Ritson & Child3 - after all it is a dictionary of music & collections which have no music should only be mentioned in so far as they affect the musical question 
(p7) I doubt the Torquay joke the singer meant to say Turkey & it sounded like Torkey
p.15  "indeterminate" - I doubt this - the true minor 3d of this scale (do - mi-flat) is very close to the major 3d (do - mi-natural) & the singer often uses them alternatively - but your word "indeterminate" suggests to me that he sang out of tune - which I am sure you do not mean
p.19. wd it be worthwhile to refer to Parry's Contention (Evolution of the Art of Music4) that the pattern of the folk-tune is the germ out of which grew the whole structure of the classical sonata form.
p.15 p.18 I should leave out the joke and substitute (say) "without any of the influences of education & modern conditions"
p.18 I should leave out the personal references at the end, & you ought to add that tempo5 is a strong reaction among the younger composers - but that the seed has probably been too firmly sown ever to be uprooted
Love from RVW


1. The nautical song "The Saucy Arethusa" melody was thought to be by William Shield. It is now known to be the tune The Princess Royal by O'Carolan. 
2. i.e. Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, first published 1879-1889.
3. Joseph Ritson, Thomas Percy, and Francis James Child were nineteenth-century collectors of folk ballads and poetry.
3. C.H.H. Parry, The Evolution of the Art of Music, published 1896.
5. Reading uncertain.

Subjects:

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
MS Mus. 1714/2/3/2, ff. 83-86
General notes: 

This letter may refer to Karpeles' preparation for the new edition of Cecil Sharp's English Folk Song; some conclusions published in 1954.

Format: 
Letter