Article MT038

Frank Kidson

his 'Grove' contributions

Vic Gammon recently suggested that Frank Kidson's contribution to the world of 'folk music' scholarship had been sadly neglected for most of this century and that, in particular, his entries in Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians give a fascinating glimpse of the man's encyclopædic knowledge and can also still contribute to our understanding of the field.  This is certainly true, though only a fairly small proportion of them are likely to be central to the concerns of most readers of MT.  (His Traditional Tunes (1891) is more likely to be of interest).

Accordingly, we are reproducing what we consider to be the more appropriate Grove entries here, since the original five volumes have been long unavailable except through specialist libraries - and few readers might have access to the fork-lift truck needed to take them home!  Thus, those items considered appropriate are Blue/bold/underlined and link to the Grove entries, the remainder are in normal text.  I have given the complete listing for those who do wish to persue any area further.

I have taken the liberty of modernising some of the more archaic punctuation and introducing elements of MT house-style in the presentation.  More controversially, I have decided to omit some of the examples of music staff-notation included in the originals.  This is for two reasons: firstly, such examples do not display at all clearly on-screen without a great deal of time-consuming work; and secondly, few are of what might be termed traditional music.  A further consideration is that not all our readers will understand staff-notation - so I have added MIDI sound clips to all the staff-notation examples.

We begin with an introduction to the man and his work by John Francmanis, whose 1997 PhD thesis on Frank Kidson called The Musical Sherlock Holmes covers pretty well everything that the ordinary reader might need to know.

Rod Stradling - 18.5.99


Published in 1891, Frank Kidson's volume of Traditional Tunes assured his place in history as one of the pioneers of song collection from the oral tradition in England.  According to Lucy Broadwood, he had 'certainly' been the first to put his knowledge at the disposal of those other early collectors of whom she was herself one; and this acknowledged expertise guaranteed Kidson's invitation to join the fledgling Folk Song Society in 1898.

Kidson had been born in Leeds in 1855 into modest circumstances, but a small inheritance provided an opportunity to make a living from the arts rather than industry or commerce.  Having achieved some success as a landscape artist, Kidson's turn from brush to pen in the early 1880s was accompanied by a growing fascination for old popular tunes.  He quickly built up his own music collection, deriving an encyclopaedic knowledge from it, and resorted to the oral tradition when it became apparent that not all old tunes were accessible through printed sources.

Through his facility for tracing tunes back in time from volume to volume - antiquarian associates called him 'the musical Sherlock Holmes' - Kidson gained a unique appreciation of the history of printed music.  His British Music Publishers, a by-product of this research, appeared in 1900.  Generally considered to be his most important literary work, it would not be superseded until 1954.  Kidson nevertheless devoted the rest of his life to preparing a second edition - mooted at the time the first appeared - which, because of the difficulties inherent in managing the volume of material revealed by his research, coupled with a refusal to put his name to anything he knew to be factually incorrect, would never be published.

Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians played an important part in the English musical renaissance by establishing that England had once been a musical nation: and, by implication, could be so again.  Kidson's expertise in piecing together the musical past received recognition through Fuller Maitland's invitation to contribute to the new edition (Volume 1 pubished in 1904).  Drawing on his continuing research into 'matters of British song and musical antiquity', this would eventually amount - reported the Musical Herald in August 1913 (p.  228) - to 'no less than 365 greater or lesser contributions from 'F.K.''.

It is perhaps doubtful whether Kidson would have concerned himself much more with the oral tradition had the 'folk-song' issue not risen to prominence.  Ever the empiricist, he put his trust in the authority of printed sources, whereas the newcomer Cecil Sharp gave primacy to oral: a seemingly small point, but one with significant implications in the light of theories derived from Romantic ideologies.  Kidson dismissed Sharp's English Folk-Song: Some Conclusions (1907) as 'conjectures', but his own approach became increasingly marginalised as Sharp's hold over the 'folk' movement was consolidated.  Kidson died in 1926, 'obscured where once he had been considered foremost in authority' (Journal of the EFDSS, 1948, p.  135).

Sharpian orthodoxy has become increasingly subject to question in recent years.  Thorough re-evaluation of the achievements of antiquarians such as Kidson, Broadwood and Annie Gilchrist is similarly overdue.  They still have much to tell us.

John Francmanis - 11.2.99

Frank Kidson's contributions to ...

Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians

... ed. J A Fuller Maitland (London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1910)

Volume I, A to E [first edition 1904]

Barley, WilliamI:187 
Bickham, George (junior)I:325 
Birchall, RobertI:328[annotations]
Bland, JohnI:336-7 
Bland & WellerI:337 
Branle (Fr.)[3]I:392-3 
Bremner, RobertI:395-6  
Broderip & WilkinsonI:406  
Button & WhitakerI:427  
Cahusac, ThomasI:444-5 
Ça IraI:445 
Campbells are ComingI:450-1 
Carey, HenryI:463-4[annotations]
Carr, JohnI:474 
Catch [part]I:481-2  
Chapels RoyalI:503-4[annotations]
Chappell & Co.I:504[annotations]
Clementi & Co.I:557-8 
Cluer, JohnI:559-60 
Cocks & Co., RobertI:561[annotations]
Cooper, RichardI:597-8 
Corri, DomenicoI:609-10[information]
Corri & Co.I:610  
Country DanceI:624-5 
Cramer & Co.I:633[additions]
Cross, ThomasI:639-40 
Cullen, JohnI:645 
Dale, JosephI:653 
Davidson, G.H.I:669 
Davis, ThomasI:672 
Don QuixoteI:713-4  
D'Urfey, ThomasI:749[additions]
Engraving, MusicI:782-3[also addenda]
Enoch & SonsI:783-4 
Ewer & Co.I:797 

Volume II, F to L [first edition 1906]

Folk-Song SocietyII:70 
Fougt, HenryII:91 
Gaschet (or Gachet), JohnII:146 
Gawler, WilliamII:151 
Glen [part]II:179 
God Save the King [part]II:190-1 
Godbid, WilliamII:192 
Goulding & Co.II:208 
Gow, NeilII:211 
Gow, NathanielII:211-2  
Grafton, RichardII:214  
Grassineau, JamesII:217[additions]
Guitar [part]II:261 
Gunn, BarnabasII:262 
Haddock familyII:269-70 
Hail ColumbiaII:271-2 
Hare, John & Joseph [&c]II:295-6 
Harper, ThomasII:328 
Harrison, J.II:333-4 
Hart, AndroII:334 
Heptinstall, JohnII:383 
Hill, JosephII:400 
Hime familyII:405-6  
Hodsoll, WilliamII:414 
Holden, SmolletII:419  
Hole, WilliamII:419 
Home, Sweet HomeII:424-5 
Hudgebut, JohnII:439 
Hunt, RichardII:445-6 
Hurdy Gurdy [part]II:447 
Husk, WilliamII:448 
Irish Music [bibliography]II:510-1 
Janiewicz, FelixII:525[additions]
John Brown'S BodyII:536-7 
Johnson, JamesI:537-8 
Johnson, JohnII:538 
Johnson, SamuelII:539 
Johnston, JohnII:539-40 
Jones, EdwardII:544 
Jones, RichardII:544 
Judgment of Paris, TheII:550 
Keel Row, TheII:560-1 
Keller, GodfreyII:562 
Kelly, Thomas A.E.II:564 
Knapp, WilliamII:588[information]
Knapton, PhilipII:588 [annotations]
Knott, JohnII:591 
Last Rose Of Summer [part]II:649 
Lates, John JamesII:649 
Lavenu, Lewis & ElizabethII:654 
Lee, George AlexanderII:662-3 [additions]
Life Let Us Cherish [part]II:729 
Light, EdwardII:729 
LilliburleroII:732 [annotated]
Linley, FrancisII:737-8 [adds & corrects]
Linley, GeorgeII:738 
Lintern, J. & W.II:739 
Lochaber No MoreII:759-60 
Loder, Edward James [etc]II:762-3 
Longman & BroderipII:769 
Love In A VillageII:774 
Love's Triumph [part]II:774 
Luinig, or LuineagII:778-9  

Volume III, M to P [first edition 1907]

McDonald, MalcolmIII:4 
McDonald, PeterIII:4 
McGibbon, WilliamIII:8 
McGlashan, AlexanderIII:8 
MacKay, AngusIII:9 
Mackintosh, RobertIII:11 
Mackintosh, AbrahamIII:11 
Macklean, CharlesIII:11 
McLeod, PeterIII:11 
Mahoon, JosephIII:28 
Malbrough, or MalbrookIII:31-2 [Additions]
Malcolm, AlexanderIII:32 
Mancini, FrancescoIII:39 
Marshall, WilliamIII:64 
Matteis, NicolaIII:91-2 [Additions]
Meares, RichardIII:98 
Medecin Malgre Lui [part]III:99 
MetzlerIII:190 [Additions] 
Millico, GuiseppeIII:209-10 [Annotated]
Minuet [part]III:215 
Monro[e], GeorgeIII:249 
Montgomery, HughIII:254 
Monzani, TheobaldIII:255 
Moore, ThomasIII:256-8 [additions]
Moorehead, JohnIII:258 [additions]
Morris, or Morrice, DanceIII:266-8 
Mountain, HenryIII:278 
Mountain, JosephIII:278-9 
Munro, AlexanderIII:319 
Music, PrintingIII:325-8 [annotations]
Napier, WilliamIII:350 
Neale, John And WilliamIII:358 
Negro Music of the US [part]III:361-62 
Nelson, SydneyIII:362 
Noël [part]III:386-7 
OboeIII:420-1 [annotation]
Orpheus BritannicusIII:568-9 
Orpheus CaledoniusIII:569 
Oswald, JamesIII:572-3  
Padlock, TheIII:588 
Partant pour la SyrieIII:637-8 [annotation]
Paterson & SonsIII:652 
Pearson, WilliamIII:662 
Peck, JamesIII:663 
Petrie, GeorgeIII:694 
Phillips, John & SarahIII:710-11 
Playford, JohnIII:771-3 
Pleyel [part]III:774 
Powell, SamuelIII:802 
Power, James [& family]III:802-3  
Preston & SonIII:812 
Purdie, RobertIII:859 

Volume IV, Q to S [first edition 1908]

Raban, EdwardIV:11 
Rag TimeIV:16 
Ramondon, LewisIV:22-3 
Randall, P.IV:23 
Randall, WilliamIV:23 
Randles, ElizabethIV:24 
Rea, WilliamIV:30 [annotated]
Reinagle, JosephIV:57 
Richard Coeur de LionIV:91 [addition]
Ridell, JohnIV:94 
Ridell, RobertIV:94-5 
RinaldoIV:105 [annotated]
Rizzio, DavidIV:110-1 
Roast Beef of Old EnglandIV:111 
Roberts, HenryIV:111-2 
Roberts, JohnIV:112 
Robin HoodIV:112 
Roger, EstienneIV:119 
Rogues' March, TheIV:121 
Rolfe & Co.IV:123 
Rolli, Paolo AntonioIV:124 
Root, GeorgeIV:138-9 
Rule Britannia [part]IV:193 
Rutherford, DavidIV:196 
Sadler's WellsIV:203 
St. Cecilia's HallIV:205 
Sanderson [part]IV:221 
San Martini, or SammartiniIV:221 
Schetky, Johann G.C.IV:261 
Schickhard, Johann C.IV:261 
Scordatura [part]IV:387 
Scott, Lady John DouglasIV:391 
Scottish Music [part]IV:391-402 [annotations]
Sellinger's RoundIV:409 
Seraglio, TheIV:417 
Seres, WilliamIV:419 
Shepherd, WilliamIV:441 
Shirreffs, AndrewIV:444 
Short, PeterIV:444 
Shrubsole, WilliamIV:445 
Shuttleworth, ObadiahIV:446 [annotated]
Sicilian Mariner's HymnIV:449 
Simpson, JohnIV:456-7 
Sir Roger de Coverly [part]IV:471 
Smart, GeorgeIV:484 
Smart, ThomasIV:485 
Snodham, ThomasIV:491 
Specimens, Dr. Crotch'sIV:630-1 
Stabilini, GirolamoIV:664 
Stansfield, ElyIV:674 
Star Spangled Banner, TheIV:674-5 
Stenhouse, WilliamIV:692 
Stewart, NeilIV:695 
Stock and HornIV:698 
Straight & SkillernIV:713 
Straloch MS.IV:713 
Street, JosiahIV:720 
Sunderland, Mrs.IV:754-5 [additions]

Volume V, T to Z [first edition 1910]

Tans'ur, WilliamV:18-9 
Tarantella [part]V:21 
Tenducci, Giusto F.V:70-1 [additions]
Thackray, ThomasV:77-8 
Thomas and SallyV:85 
Thompson, RobertV:89 
Thomson, GeorgeV:89-91 [additions]
Thomson, WilliamV:91-2 
Thomyris, Queen of ScythiaV:92 
Thorn, TheV:92 
Thorowgood, HenryV:96 
Tom BowlingV:116 
Tromba Marina [part]V:162 
Tromba SpezzataV:162 
Trydell, The Rev. JohnV:172 
Unger, Johann, FriedrichV:197 
Urbani, PietroV:202 
Valentine, JohnV:209 
Vamp, toV:215 
Vanbrughe, GeorgeV:216 
Vautrollier, ThomasV:236 
Vauxhall Gardens [part]V:237-8 
Vento, MatthiasV:245 
Vernon, JosephV:262 [revised]
Vicar of Bray, TheV:269-70 
Vincent, ThomasV:277 
Viner, William LettonV:278 
Vogler, John & GerardV:371 
Wait, or WayteV:421 
Walker, GeorgeV:424 
Walsh, JohnV:428-9 
Walsh, John, juniorV:429 
Walmsley [part]V:434 
Warren, ThomasV:437 
Watlen, JohnV:438  
Watts, JohnV:439 
Waylett, HarriettV:439 
Waylett, HenryV:439 
Weichsell, Mrs.V:487 
Welsh MusicV:492-501 
Whichello, AbiellV:512 
White, JohnV:514 
Whyte, WilliamV:518 
Williams, Maria JaneV:527 
Williamson, T.G.V:528 
Willis, IsaacV:529 
Windet, JohnV:545 
Wood, John MuirV:561 
Woodcock, RobertV:561-2 
Worgan, JamesV:563 
Wright, DanielV:569 
Wright, ThomasV:569-70 
Wright & Co.V:570 
Wrighten, Mrs.V:570 
Wynne, JohnV:573 
Youll, HenryV:578 
Young, JohnV:579 
Young, WilliamV:579 


Aird, JamesV:605 
Arethusa, TheV:606 
Astor & Co.V:607 
Auld Lang SyneV:607-10 
Bay of Biscay, TheV:612 
Beggar's Opera, TheV:612[addition]
Black Ey'd SusanV:616 
Blue BeardV:616 
Blue Bell of Scotland, TheV:616-7 
Bonny DundeeV:618 
Bow, MusicalV:618 
British Grenadiers, TheV:620 
Caller HerringV:621 
Chanty, or ShantyV:623-4 
Charke, RichardV:624 
Cold and RawV:626 
Comin' Through the RyeV:626-7 
Death of Nelson, TheV:629 
Down Among the Dead MenV:632 
Drink To Me Only With Thine EyesV:632-3 
Dubourg, MatthewV:633 
Dulce DomumV:633 
Farewell ManchesterV:638-9 
Folk-Song SocietyV:640[addition]
Girl I Left Behind Me, TheV:642 
Granom, L.C.A.V:643[addition]
Heart Of OakV:644-5 
Humphries, JohnV:646 
Humphries, J.S.V:646 
Hunnis, WilliamV:646 
Hymns Ancient and ModernV:647[addition]
Joan's Placket is TornV:647-8 
John Anderson, My JoV:648 
John PeelV:648-9 
Jones, RichardV:649[addition]
Lass of Richmond Hill, TheV:650 
Libraries, MusicalV:651[addition]
Manx MusicV:652-3 
Miller of the Dee, TheV:653 
Nancy DawsonV:654 
Over the Water to CharlieV:656-7 
Saint Patrick's DayV:663[addition]
Sally in Our AlleyV:663  
Scots Wha HaeV:664-6 
Shan Van Voght, TheV:666 
Vincent, ThomasV:669[addition]
Walsh, John, SeniorV:670[addition]
Weideman, CharlesV:670 
When the King Shall Enjoy
His Own Again
Within a Mile of Edinburgh TownV:670 
Ye Banks and Braes
o' Bonny Doon

Article MT038

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