Ralph Vaughan Williams: Should Music Be National?

Read the article by Ralph Vaughan Williams and summarise it succinctly (ca. 400-600
words). Explain the author’s opinion and identify the main argument and the most important
supporting points.
Then, in the main part, you should discuss Vaughan Williams’ question (“Should music be
national?”) in the context of music in the 21st century. Here, you should look at the pros and
cons not just of the author’s opinion on the topic but also include your own, especially since
the article is almost 100 years old.
In what way you treat the core issues and in what direction you develop the essay is up to
you. You might say that music should be national and that it is good because of abc or you
might argue against nationalism because it amounts to xyz or you have a more nuanced
position that considers both possibilities. Whichever way you choose, it is important that you
provide specific examples to support your thinking so you should refer to particular songs,
bands, artists or genres when making a point. You may focus on one artist or genre or focus
on music more broadly and cite numerous artists and/or genres. The main objective of the
essay is to address the idea of nationalism in music and its place in the 21st century. The
essay is therefore as much about music as it is about politics.
The essay must be divided into chapters as follows:
1. Introduction
2. Summary
3. Main part (must be subdivided further into chapters reflecting your argument; do not
have a single chapter here saying ‘main part’)
4. Conclusion
This is an academic essay in which you must adopt an academic tone. For a higher grade,
you should have a minimum of 15 sources cited in the text of which at least three need to
be peer-reviewed (academic) sources.

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