School of Music
Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)
English Musical Renaissance, Song Cycle, Text Painting
Music | Music Education
Lawton, Jonathan Jacobs, "Songs of Travel: An Analytical Study of Ralph Williams’ Compositional Styles" (2022). Masters Theses. 901.
Ralph Vaughan Williams is perhaps one of the most prolific and diverse composers from the British Isles to grace the world with his compositions. He was born in the middle of the English Musical Renaissance, a time of musical rejuvenation of the British Art Song that embraced the principles of the Romantic period and placed significance on the importance of national identity. Ralph Vaughan Williams was the embodiment of musical citizenship – a musical philosophy that leans heavily on national identity for inspiration of word and song. In 1901, a young Ralph Vaughan Williams began writing music for Songs of Travel. Songs of Travel and Other Verses was written as a series of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, a famous author known for writing well-known works such as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. During World War I, Ralph Vaughan Williams served his country in the war effort. After his time traveling across Europe as a musician for the British Army, his post-war composition style and focus changed greatly. This change in style stunned his contemporaries because the music he created was vastly different. How did the structure and style of his compositions change after serving in World War I? What other influences contributed to these changes? Through comparison of post-war works with Songs of Travel, what aspects of harmony, melody, and instrumentation demonstrate these developments?