Music Appreciation - Fantasia on Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams

Each country of the world has many traditional songs and dances that have been handed down from generation to generation. This type of music is called folk music.

One thing most common with most folk music is that we don’t know who wrote them and they were passed down to us by word of mouth.

Folk music has the following characteristics:
1. They are simple to sing and easy to remember.
2. Most folk songs evolve and change over time.
3. Folk songs were often used for important functions such as ceremonies.
4. Folk songs are simple to perform.
5. Folk songs tell stories, describe events, celebrate different times of the year etc…

Folk songs are grouped according to subject matter or location:
1. Rural folk songs – songs about country life
2. Urban folk songs – songs about city life
3. Regional folk songs – songs about a particular part of a country
4. Sea Shanties – songs of sailors and the sea
5. Carols – Christmas songs
6. Spirituals – religious songs

See if you can think of folk songs according to the following subject matter:

1. Rural
2. Sea Shanties
3. Carols

MUSIC APPRECIATION – Fantasia on Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in 1872 and died in 1958. He was an English composer who had great interest in English folk music.

Fantasia on Greensleeves was written I 1929. Fantasia is a piece of music which appeals to the imagination, making us think of other worlds and other times.

In this piece the composer means to take us back to the peaceful English countryside of centuries past.

The old-English atmosphere of the music is achieved not only by the use of ancient folk melodies, but also by the particular instruments used. The composer does not use brass and percussion instruments as this would spoil the peaceful mood.

The flutes give a dreamy “rustic” effect like shepherds piping in the fields and the harp gives a light, floating feeling.

(Click on the title to hear the music)

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