1st Edition

In Search of Song: The Life and Times of Lucy Broadwood

ISBN 9781138264892
Published November 14, 2016 by Routledge
206 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

Born into the famous family of piano makers, Lucy Broadwood (1858-1929) became one of the chief collectors and scholars of the first English folk music revival in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Privately educated and trained as a classical musician and singer, she was inspired by her uncle to collect local song from her native Sussex. The desire to rescue folk song from an aging population led to the foundation of the Folk Song Society, of which she was a founder member. Mentor to younger collectors such as Percy Grainger but often at loggerheads with fellow collector Cecil Sharp and the young Ralph Vaughan Williams, she eventually ventured into Ireland and Scotland, while remaining an eclectic contributor and editor of the Society’s Journal, which became a flagship for scholarly publication of folksong. She also published arrangements of folk songs and her own compositions which attracted the attention of singers such as Harry Plunket Greene. Using an array of primary sources including the diaries Broadwood kept throughout her adult life, Dorothy de Val provides a lively biography which sheds new light on her early years and chronicles her later busy social, artistic and musical life while acknowledging the underlying vulnerability of single women at this time. Her account reveals an intelligent, generous though reserved woman who, with the help of her friends, emerged from the constraints of a Victorian upbringing to meet the challenges of the modern world.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Lyne; London; The collector; The Folk-Song Society; Contemporaries: some conclusions; Collecting in Scotland and Ireland; The war years; The last decade; Epilogue; Appendix; Select bibliography; Index.

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Dorothy de Val is Associate Professor in the Department of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University, Canada.


Prize: Honorable Mention for the 2013 Pauline Alderman Award given by the International Alliance for Women in Music 'This is a valuable study of a significant personality in the early years of folk song collecting.' English Dance & Song magazine, www.efdss.org ’This, the first book devoted to the life of Lucy Broadwood, makes amends for a considerable period of neglect... This book deserves a place on music lovers’ shelves partly because it touches on so many familiar lives, but also because much of it is new material... Through sparing use of secondary material and well chosen, unfamiliar illustrations, we have an accurate portrayal of a reserved and courageous woman.’ The Ralph Vaughan Williams Society Journal '... a valuable resource for readers interested in the musical life of this era more generally... this is an important and engagingly written book... [De Val is] to be commended not only for her outstanding archival work - pursued with a thoroughness both reminiscent and worthy of Broadwood’s own efforts - but also for finally bringing to light the critically important public, private, personal, and professional roles played by one of the most extraordinary women in the history of English music.' Music and Letters 'Dorothy de Val deserves extended praise for bringing Broadwood's important story to light. With its rich examination of the period's social and musical scene, as well as its revealing portrait of a complex individual, her book has something in it for everyone and should attract a wide readership.' Notes 'Designed for musicologists [...] de Val's monograph holds appeal also for folklorists, ethnomusicologists, scholars of Victorian and Edwardian history, and fans of the wealth of musical activity that abounded in nineteenth-century Britain... it brings a women of note out of the historical shadows and places her at the center of early folk music revival.' IAWM Journal 'Broadwood’s diaries allow the author to entice readers with int