ヴォーン・ウィリアムズ「National Music」(1934)第3章(1/1)民謡










We have now traced our course from the excited speech phrase to the complete song stanza. But we took no account of the element of rhythm. 




The preacher of whom I told you, when he got excited established a definite relationship between the pitch of the notes he used but not between their duration, and it is this definite relationship between the duration of successive musical sounds which we call rhythm. Melody can exist apart from rhythm just as rhythm can exist apart from melody. But song can only be said to come into being when the two are in combination. Rhythm, I suppose, grows out of the dance, or out of the various bodily actions which we do in our daily life such as walking, or pulling on a rope. And even in speech we find that, unconsciously, if we want to be very emphatic or to impress something strongly on our memory we introduce a rhythmical pattern into what we are saying. 




Now in primitive times before there were newspapers to tell us the news, history books to teach us the past, and novels to excite our imagination, all these things had to be done by the ballad singer who naturally had to do it all from memory. To this end he cast what he had to tell into a metrical form and thus the ballad stanza arose. As a further aid to memory and to add to the emotional value of what he had to say he added musical notes to his words, and it is from this that the ordinary folk-tune of four strains arose. Folk music, you must always remember, is an applied art. The idea of art for art's sake has happily no place in the primitive consciousness. I have already told you how the country singer is unable to dissociate the words and tune of a ballad. Song then was to him the obvious means of giving a pattern to his words. But this pattern is influenced by another form of applied music, that of the  dance, the dance in which the alternation of strong and weak accents and precision of time are essential. Now let us take the dance tune "Goddesses" as an example of the rhythmical element applied to our initial formula. You will notice that the form is less subtle than in the song tunes. Regularity of pattern is essential to accompany the moving feet of the dancers.  



Dance Tune "Goddesses"  

[Illustration: musical notation] 

(Printed by permission of Miss Karpelese and Messrs. Novello.) 







Next let me give you an example of a tune with very much the same melodic formula in which the rhythmical pattern is entirely governed by the words, a carol tune, "The Holy Well."  



[Illustration: musical notation] 







I have now tried to describe to you the folk-song, but before I go any 

further I had better give you some actual examples of what I mean by folk-song, and try and persuade you that I am telling you not of something clownish and boorish, not even something inchoate, not of the half forgotten reminiscences of fashionable music mouthed by toothless old men and women, not of something archaic, not of mere "museum pieces," but of an art which grows straight out of the needs of a people and for which a fitting and perfect form, albeit on a small scale, has been found by those people; an art which is indigenous and owes nothing to anything outside itself, and above all an art which to us today has something to saya true art which has beauty and vitality now in the twentieth century. Let us take a few typical examples of English folk-song: "The Cuckoo," "My Bonny Boy," "A Sailor From the Sea," or "It's a Rose-bud in June." 




Can we not truly say of these as Gilbert Murray says of that great national literature of the Bible and Homer, "They have behind them not the imagination of one great poet, but the accumulated emotion, one may almost say, of the many successive generations who have read and learned and themselves afresh re-created the old majesty and loveliness. . . There is in them, as it were, the spiritual life-blood of a people." 




A folk-song is at its best a supreme work of art, but it does not say all that is to be said in music; it is limited in its scope and this for 

various reasons. 




(1) It is purely intuitive, not calculated.  

(2) It is purely oral, therefore the eye does not help the ear and, prodigious though the folk-singer's memory is, owing to the very fact that it has not been atrophied by reading, it must be limited by the span of what both the singer and hearer can keep in their minds at one stretch.  

(3) It is applied music, applied either to the words of the ballad or the figure of the dance. 

(4) Folk-music, at all events European folk-music, and I believe it is true of all genuine folk-music, is purely melodic.  








These limitations are not without corresponding advantages.  

(a) The folk-singer, being un-selfconscious and unsophisticated and bound by no prejudices or musical etiquette, is absolutely free in his rhythmical figures. If he has only five syllables to which to sing notes and those syllables are of equal stress he makes an unit or what in written music we should call a bar of five beats (to put it into the language of scientific music). If he is singing normally in a metre of 6/8 and he wants to dwell on one particular word he lengthens that particular phrase to a metre of 9 beats. If he is accompanying a dance and the steps of the dance demand it he will lengthen out the notes to just the number of long steps, regardless of the feelings of the poor collector who is afterwards going to come and try and reduce his careless rapture to terms of bars, time signatures, crotchets and quavers. We are apt to imagine that bars of five and seven, irregular bar-lengths and so on are the privilege of the modernist composer: he is probably only working back to the freedom enjoyed by his ancestor. 





(b) To pack all one has to say into a tune of some sixteen bars is a very different proposition from spreading oneself out into a symphony or grand opera, especially when these sixteen bars have to be repeated over and over again for a ballad of some twenty verses. We have often experienced music which at first seemed attractive but of which we wearied after repetition. The essence of a good folk-tune is that it does not show its full quality till it has been repeated several times, and I think a great deal of the false estimates of folk-melodies which are current are due to the fact that they are read through once, or possibly hummed through without their words, or worse still strummed through once on the piano and not subjected to the only fair test, that of being sung through with their words. 




And now as regards what I may call the vertical limitation of the folk-song; the fact that it is purely melodic. Modern music has so accustomed us to harmony that we find it difficult to realize that there can be such a thing as pure melody built up without any reference to harmony. It is true of course that we all whistle and hum tunes without harmony; nevertheless we are all the time unconsciously imagining an harmonic basis. Many of our most popular tunes would be meaningless unless in the back of our minds we supplied their harmonies. 




Harmonic music, at all events during the 18th and 19th Centuries, presupposed the existence of two modes only, the major and the minor, with all their harmonic implications of the perfect cadence, the half close, the leading note and so on, so as to give points of repose, points of departure and the like. But in purely melodic music an entirely new set of considerations come into being. The major and minor modes hardly ever appear in true melodic music, but it must be referred to other systems, chiefly the Dorian mode, the Mixolydian mode and the Ionian mode, this last having of course the same intervals as the major mode, but otherwise quite distinct. 




I do not propose to give you a disquisition on the modes; that would be quite outside the scope of these lectures, but I want to say just two things. 




The epithet "ecclesiastical" which has been applied to these modes has led to unfortunate misunderstandings. Because a folk-song can be referred to one of these "ecclesiastical" modes it is often imagined that folk-song derives from church music. I believe that it is just the other way round, namely, that church music derives from folk-music. I shall have more to say about this in a subsequent chapter. 




The only thing which the plain-song of the church and the folk-song of the people have now in common is that they can sometimes be referred to the same modal system because they are both purely melodic. It is surely hard to imagine that such a melody as "The Cobbler" can be derived from, say, "Jesu Dulcis Memoria" because they are both in the Dorian mode. You might as well say that the "Preislied" derives from the finale of the Fifth Symphony because they are both in C Major. 



"Jesu Dulcis Memoria"  

[Illustration: musical notation]  






"The Cobbler"  

[Illustration: musical notation] 






The other point I want to make is this. It is not correct to refer to the modes as "old," or of pure modal harmony as "archaic." Real archaic harmony is never modal. When harmony grew out of the Organum, composers found that they could not work in the modes with their new-found harmonic scheme and they began to alter the modal melodies to give them the necessary intervals with which they could work.  




The harmony of Palestrina and his contemporaries is therefore not purely modal; this was reserved for the 19th century. As I have said, folk-song is pure melody without an harmonic substructure, but when modal melodies began to swim into the ken of composers, the first being probably the nationalists of 19th Century Russia, they began to suggest to them all sorts of harmonic implications.  




Up to that time harmony was always supposed to be considered as being built up from the bass. The Russian nationalists, perhaps owing to the fact that they were half amateur, evidently preferred to build their harmony from the melody downwards. We find this neo-modal harmony prevalent throughout Moussorgsky's "Boris." The lead was taken up by Debussy and the French contemporaries, some of the modern Italians and the modern English. It seems however to have passed by the Germans, possibly because their folk-songs have become tinged with harmonic considerations. Debussy's "Sarabande" is a good example of pure modal harmony, as are the cadences in the minuet from Ravel's "Sonatine." I find it difficult to see what there is "archaic" about these. If you look at real archaic harmony, going back even as far as Josquin and Dunstable, you will find nothing like it. 




Some people are much worried about what they call the "cult of archaism." They are upset at all this "borrowing" which is going on among composers and they are filled with indignation, but as far as I can make out on moral rather than on aesthetic grounds. 




In an article called "The Cult of Archaism" a recent writer says, "In the writing of synthetic folk-music we have to deal with a form of 

equivocation which is probably quite as serious, being more insidious than the wholesale acquisition of folk-melody. It is reasoned apparently that though they may be musically unworthy to borrow on an extensive scale, the situation can be redeemed by writing artificial folk-melodies and presenting them as original themes. A student possessing the most elementary inventive ability can effect work of that kind without limit; it requires practically no skill and very little imagination." 




This seems to me to be nothing more or less than a protest by the "trade," and the "trade" as you know always adopt a high moral attitude when their profits are being interfered with. A brewer will be extremely annoyed if, when he has spent time, money and skill on producing beer, he finds that someone has set up a free water tap just outside his house. So, when the members of the musical trade who have learnt how to construct melodies at great expense with all the latest devices and improvements find a composer writing a tune, not based on all these expensive models but built up on the natural music of his own people, they of course feel vexed: the fellow is not playing the game, in fact he is a blackleg. Which method results in the most beautiful music is not allowed to affect the issue. It is merely a trade question, a matter in going outside the regulations of the guild. 




Contrast with this a recent writer on Moussorgsky: "His invented themes recall those of popular art and it is to the phenomenon of 'integration' that he owes his appealing originality." Or as Mr. Kurt Schindler recently said about the same composer, "It all depends on whether it is done with love." 




"Integration" and "love." These are the two key words. The composer must love the tunes of his own country and they must become an integral part of himself. There are, of course, hangers-on of the folk-song movement who want to be "in the swim" and think they can do so by occasionally superimposing a modal cadence, or what they imagine to be a country dance rhythm, on to their cosmopolitan style compounded of every composer from Wagner to Stravinsky. These people, of course, have sinned against the light: whether they are also morally reprehensible does not seem to me to matter. 




At the risk of wearying you I want to repeat that originality is not mere novelty. In the article I have already quoted Haydn is referred to as occasionally not taking the trouble to say something of his own. And is the same true of Beethoven when he used a theme from Mozart for his Eroica Symphony? A composer at white heat of invention does indeed not "trouble to say something of his own"; he knows instinctively what is the inevitable theme for his purpose. Music does not grow out of nothing, one idea leads to another and the test of each idea is, not whether it is "original" but whether it is inevitable. 




I should like to quote you the following lately written in the London 

Mercury: "The best composers store up half-fledged ideas in the works of others and make use of them to build up perfect edifices which take on the character of their maker because they are ideas which appeal to that special mind."  

最新の「London Mercury」掲載の記事を引用してお示ししよう「最高レベルの作曲家の面々は、他の作曲家達の作品に込められている、出来損ないのアイデアというものを、しっかりと蓄えている。そしてその蓄えを、自身の完璧な大豪邸を次々と建設する上で利用するのだ。大豪邸には作り手の性格が反映される。なぜならそれらの大豪邸は、作り手が「いいね」と思う「独自の思想」に基づいて作られているからだ。」