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Title:Early Nineteenth-Century British Song Settings of Poems From the Romances of Sir Walter Scott
Author(s):Jackson, Nancy Jean
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, young women of a certain station were expected to display their musical talents during evenings at home and in the homes of friends. While their repertoire was certainly varied, there is extant an enormous number of songs apparently popular during the period, many written by British composers using as lyrics the texts of British Romantic writers. One of the purposes of this study is to make available for the first time a collection of early nineteenth-century British solo songs based on the writings of a major Romantic writer.
Sir Walter Scott's long romances provide a logical focus for such a collection, since Scott often featured the performance of songs within the frame of those works. While no musician himself, Scott's including "songs" within the texts almost seems to invite composers to write music for his words. Many English composers did publish such songs, providing an interpretation of Scott's works which differs signficantly from that normally thought of as literary criticism. In addition to what may be learned from the songs themselves, a fair amount of information can be gleaned about the social life of the early Romantics, the collaboration or lack of it between poet and composer, the variation in composers' critical judgment and musical skill, and the rise and fall in Scott's popularity as reflected in the numbers of songs published.
Part I of this thesis includes five chapters: Scott's Middle-Class Musical Background and Early Interest in Balladry; The Ballad Becoming Romance: The Lay of the Last Minstrel and Marmion; Composers' Interest as a Reflection of Scott's Popularity: Settings from The Lady of the Lake; The Continued Appeal of Scott's Poetry: Songs from Rokeby; and Scott's Waning Availability to Composers: The Problematic Texts of The Bridal of Triermain, The Lord of the Isles, and Harold the Dauntless. Part II offers complete texts of the sixty-five songs cited in Part I, forming a collection of those songs which helped make Sir Walter Scott a major lyricist of early nineteenth-century England.
Issue Date:1986
Description:566 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8623330
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1986

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