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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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Preface to Folksong—Plainsong

Preface to Folksong—Plainsong

(p.278) (p.279) Chapter 61 Preface to Folksong—Plainsong
Vaughan Williams on Music

David Manning

Oxford University Press

Father George Chambers' masterly treatise ought really to be unnecessary. Hubert Parry, in his Evolution of the Art of Music, has proved conclusively that music obeys the laws of heredity, and that a Beethoven symphony is in the direct line of descent from a primitive folk song. It is perhaps lucky that bat-eyed musicologists have not recognized this, and that it has been necessary for Father George Chambers to write this delightful, learned, and, to my mind, entirely persuasive essay. In their opinion the written word was impeccable and oral tradition fallible. One of the most interesting chapters of this book contains convincing proof that the “Jubilus” is not an ecclesiastical parallel to the coloratura of the prima donna, but has developed out of the wordless melismata of primitive people when their mystical emotions got beyond words.

Keywords:   George Chambers, Hubert Parry, folk song, musicologists, Jubilus, prima donna, melismata

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