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Our collections: folk music and dance resource


The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) is a multi-media collection.

Collections include:
•    Books
•    Manuscripts
•    Off-prints
•    Pamphlets
•    Periodicals
•    Serials
•    Press cuttings
•    Broadsides
•    Prints
•    Paintings
•    Line drawings
•    Microforms   
•    CD ROMs
•    Photographs
•    Slides
•    Artefacts
•    Ephemera
•    Gramophone records
•    Open reel tapes
•    Wax cylinders
•    Videos
•    Cine films
•    Compact discs
•    Audio cassettes

While some of the materials date back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries – for example the dance collections of Playford, Thompson and Walsh – all relevant contemporary information is added where possible.



Although the title of its parent body would suggest that VWML is geographically and subject specific, this is far from the case.

Traditional song and dance are just two of the elements covered within a rich and fascinating tapestry of customary practices continuing into the twenty-first century; and while the library’s content is primarily focused on those practices found in the UK and closely related cultures abroad, it has always been understood these can only be properly understood when viewed within their social context and through comparison with other world cultures. There is consequently a wealth of information from and about other cultures, as well as key works on ethnomusicology, anthropology, social history and folklore.

Subjects include:
•    Folk/traditional/popular song
•    Child ballads
•    Broadside ballads
•    Industrial/occupational songs
•    Sea songs/shanties
•    Singing games
•    Nursery rhymes
•    Street cries
•    Carols/hymns
•    Rounds/glees/part songs
•    Music hall
•    Ritual/ceremonial dance
•    Morris/sword dance
•    Maypole dancing
•    Social/country dance
•    Square/barn/Playford dance
•    Step/solo dance
•    Historical dance
•    Gypsies    
•    International dance
•    Customs/festivals
•    Tales/myths/legends
•    Social history
•    Oral history
•    Dialects
•    Folklore
•    Mummers' plays and traditional drama
•    Animal disguise
•    May Day
•    Collecting/fieldwork
•    Musical instruments
•    Instrumental music
•    Street literature
•    English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)
•    Folk revivals
•    Music history
•    Biographies



Takedown policy

To the best of our knowledge, the content on the VWML website is either out-of-copyright, copyright to EFDSS, or has been cleared with the appropriate rights holder.

If you are concerned that you have found material on our website for which you have not given permission, or which contains sensitive personal data, then please contact the Library and Archives Director: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.