Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Lucy Broadwood

Letter No.: 
[24 July 1902]

Dear Miss Broadwood

Can you help me on the subject of Scottish songs?  I want to say a few words in the course of a lecture on Folksongs, on the subject of Scottish songs - There won’t be time to say much on the subject - but I have chosen 3 points
(i)   The difference if any between gaelic or highland (are they the same?) and lowland songs.  Is there any sharp dividing line between these?  What is a characteristic specimen of each kind - I’ve spent 3 days in the museum and found nothing to help me.
(ii) The pentatonic scale.  What is the best example of a pentatonic tune?  (not a modern imitation like ‘Ye banks and Braes’)
(iii) The modulation (say) from G minor to F. and back.  I am pretty well set up on this subject and have chosen ‘Adew Dundie’  (out of the Skene M.S.1) as my example.
I shall be very grateful if you will help me.
Yrs very truly

R. Vaughan Williams

P.S.  I wish you would do for the Scottish songs what you have done for the English - these Malcolm Lawsons and people make me ill!2

1. In the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.
2.VW is thinking of Songs of the North, gathered together from the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, edited by A. C. Macleod and H. Boulton first published in 1885,  for which the music was arranged by Malcolm Leonard Lawson, a prolific writer of drawing-room songs. The publication eventually ran to three volumes.


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Cobbe 29
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