from Vaughan Williams, Ralph, 1872-1958 to Fry, Elsie

Letter No. VWL5219

Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Elsie Fry

Letter No.: VWL5219

The White Gates

26 December [early 1940s]

Dear Mrs Fry
I looked at Biddy’s music yesterday on Wednesday as you know.
She is certainly very musical and it is remarkable to have such a knowledge of instrumental effect with so little experience and practically no instruction.
Of the actual inventive power it is impossible now to judge – that may or may not be there – but I believe that if any one wants to express themselves in an art they should be encouraged to do so for their own sake if for nobody else’s.
I suppose there is little time while she is at school for theoretic [sic] study – But some intelligent grounding in harmony & counterpoint is what she needs – I cannot make out that she is getting that at school – or indeed any musical training except her pfte and viola lessons.
I have advised her to try on a small scale – dance tunes & the like & songs.
I hope you will encourage her to set her own English language to music – all musical invention ultimately comes from melody & melody from the natural rise and fall of our own language   – one cannot start that too early.
Yrs sincerely
R Vaughan Williams

I shall be glad to look at her work & advise her whenever she likes