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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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How to Sing a Folk-Song

How to Sing a Folk-Song

Chapter:
(p.219) Chapter 42 How to Sing a Folk-Song
Source:
Vaughan Williams on Music
Author(s):

David Manning

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.003.0043

The traditional ballad or folk song, in England at all events, is always strophical. Not only is ballad music looked upon by traditional singers merely as a convenient and beautiful way of reciting a ballad, but the ballad poetry itself is looked on as nothing other than a convenient and beautiful way of telling a story. The art of the traditional folk song is unconscious. Now there can be no doubt as to the traditional method of singing a ballad. Clearness of diction, perfection of melodic outline, and beauty of phrasing: these are the prominent characteristics of the best traditional singers' art. The essential characteristics of the ballad singer's style is summed up in the word “impersonal”; the singer must be absorbed in the song. This is certainly true of what is now known as “community” singing.

Keywords:   traditional ballad, folk song, England, ballad music, diction, phrasing, community singing

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