Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Whybrew, William E., 1920-2007||Fay, R. Vernon||Smith, Wilbur A.

Degree Name

M. Mus. (Master of Music)

Legacy Department

Department of Music


Vaughan Williams; Ralph; 1872-1958. Songs of travel


It was the purpose of this study to analyze certain aspects of Ralph Vaughan Williams' song cycle, Songs of Travel, for baritone and piano. The (1) historical background, (2) formal structure, (3) rhythmic structure, (b) harmonic structure, (5) melodic structure, (6) relation of accompaniment and vocal line, and (7) other significant musical devices of each song were analyzed. In addition, an attempt was made to determine what, if any, generalizations concerning these aspects of the music could be made of the cycle as a whole. A search has been made of related material which has brought forth little information on the subject of the study. The purpose of this analysis, therefore, is to add to the fund of knowledge concerning Ralph Vaughan Williams' music. The writer found that there is a pattern of consistency in the manner in which the composer handles each musical aspect. Each of the songs of the cycle has generally been in two-part or three-part song form. 3/4 and 4/4 meters have been widely used. Triplets and duplets have been used frequently, while agogic accents have been used sparingly. A wide variety of tonalities has been used in the cycle giving tonal contrast among most of the songs. Modulations appeared frequently in each of the songs and were commonly accomplished by a diatonic common chord. Chromatic, enharmonic, and sequential modulations have occasionally been found. Dissonance, including pedal point, passing tones, suspensions, and chromaticism, is found In every song of the cycle. The common parallels, thirds and sixths, appear in every song of the cycle. Parallel fifths were used to some extent in two songs of the cycle. Octaves in parallel motion were widely used in most of the songs. Sonorities of open fourths, fifths, and sixths, are found throughout the song cycle. The melodic structure as a whole shows a fairly even balance of conjunct and disjunct motion. Five of the songs of the cycle show an approximately equal balance between, ascending and descending motion, and the other four show a descending character. The cycle is fairly evenly divided between the Aeolian and major modes. In conclusion, there is a general consistency in the way the composer has dealt with form, rhythm, harmony, melody, and the relationship between the vocal line and accompaniment of Songs of Travel.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes music.


ix, 108 pages




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