Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 23 January 2015

Who has to write an Assignment on Jazz History Performance?

Our Royal Conservatoire of Scotland jazz students have essays looming - the deadline's just a week away!

Don't sit at home panicking this weekend.  If you're free, get yourself into the library (Saturday 10-4, and Sunday 11-3) and see what you can find.  If you're tied up and can't visit, then log in to our online resources when you have a chance - there's loads to help you.

Here's a quick run-down:

In the Library

At home or in RCS, use our online catalogue  to find useful books and recordings.  You might like to try these searches:-
  • Jazz criticism
  • Music criticism
  • Blues criticism
  • Jazz arranging
(Don't forget, sometimes musicians have more than one form of their name, eg Charles Mingus is also known as Charlie Mingus.  Best search both ways to make sure you don't miss anything. This goes for internet searching, too!)

Internet-based resources, accessible anywhere. You'll need to use your RCS login if you're off campus

  • JSTOR - Full text access to lots of journal articles 
  • Oxford Music Online  The world's best music encyclopedia - jazz, trad, classical are all there. Eg look up Charles Mingus
  • Streamed jazz recordings on the Jazz Music Library database from Alexander Street Press. For example there are no less than 957 swing recordings.
  •  British Library Sounds is audio recordings of music and interviews with musicians.  For jazz musicians, there is Oral History of Jazz in Britain  - interviews with people, for example Terry Day was interviewed by Christopher Clark and they talk about Evan Parker and Sun Ra.

While You're Thinking about Tax ...

The UK's H.M. Treasury is currently holding an Open Consultation on Orchestra Tax Relief.  If you are involved with a professional orchestra, do ensure that your management knows about this.

Here's the link:-

Elegant Extracts from the early 1800s

Sorting through a shelf of assorted old music volumes, we found a tatty and comparatively uninviting old book which had never been catalogued.  However, the individual piano pieces and songs inside merited further investigation.  We invited our work-experience guest, Isla, to take a look at the contents. Here's Isla's report:- 

A Book Celebrating the Art of Composers in the early 1800s


Consisting of Airs with Variations, Rondos, Marches, Waltzes & Duets, this book is a truly valuable collection. The works within this compilation were bought separately by the original owner and then bound - so this book is unique, and the contents had never before been made into a collection to then be sold. 

Printed beautifully, this bound collection of music commemorates Haydn, Pleyel, Mozart, Kozeluch, Gyrowitz, Hofmeister and other talented composers, many of which had never before been published in Great Britain.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Libraries can be Inspirational in Surprising Ways - like this Harping Hare!

How do you like this harp-playing hare?  He was standing on an illuminated letter in a mediaeval manuscript that was shared with us on Twitter.  A few hours later, a modern interpretation was adorning a music folder. 
Just one of the many ways you can find inspiration in a library! So - tell us about yours!

World War One Accents and Dialects

If you're studying the Voice and Text modules at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, you may be interested to know about two web resources that the Library subscribes to.
Both are partially available on open public web access, but our subscription gets our members access to more of this quality material.

WWI Accents - on Scran database

You can find World War One accents on a Scottish web-resource called Scran.  There's a special page for WW1, and this link will take you to it.  (You'll have to login by selecting the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and then using your usual RCS login.)


WWI Accents on British Library Sounds website

You can find World War One accents on the British Library's 'British Library Sounds' database.  Go to the homepage and click on the link for Accents and Dialects.  (If you're off-campus, you'll have to login by selecting the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and then using your usual RCS login.) 

We are the very helpful Whittaker Library, here to help our staff and students access quality information for their teaching and learning.

Find Me a Flute Quartet!

From Empty Stand to Full Programme in 3 Easy Steps

Did you know we index all our chamber music in the Whittaker Library, so it's easy for musicians to find the right stuff for their ensemble?
For example - here are our flute quartets.
  1. Go to the catalogue here.
  2. Enter the ensemble you need, eg Flute4 (See the format? Instrument and number, with no space between?)
  3. Find the music.  Ask a member of staff if you can't find it on the shelves.

RCS Drum Tutor Alyn Cosker joins Piano Master Blanco in Celtic connections

A Guest Blogpost  by journalist Rob Adams

Celtic Connections Concert, Sunday 1 February

“Musician” seems hardly adequate to describe Leo Blanco, the Venezuelan pianist who flies in to appear at Celtic Connections with three of Scotland’s leading jazz talents on Sunday, February 1.

As well as playing in groups such as this South American-Scottish quartet, Blanco is a concert pianist who has worked with top symphony orchestras. He is also a composer, whose works have been performed by leading string quartets in the United States and by the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and is professor of piano studies at the famous Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts.

But that’s not all. Blanco’s first instrument was the violin, which he played in the youth

orchestra from the age of eleven in his home town of Merida, in Venezuela’s Andean region, and when he moved to the capital, Caracas, to study piano in his teens, he worked as a bassist in one band and as a drummer in another to improve his knowledge of these roles when writing for his own group.

“My parents weren’t musical,” says Blanco, “but they wanted their kids to at least get some enjoyment from music and when I was about seven or eight, a piano arrived in our house. I was immediately drawn to it, to try and work out melodies I’d hear on the radio or on records. But I also liked the violin because it seemed to me at the time the closest instrument to the human voice.”

Practising was never a chore to Blanco and the hours he put in set him on the fast track, firstly to Caracas, where he studied at the Ars Nova Institute and the University of Musical Studies and then to Boston, where he attended both Berklee and the New England Conservatory.

He quickly became recognised in the United States, becoming the first Latin American to win the prestigious Boston Jazz Society and Billboard Grant awards and he has gone on to perform all over the world, including at the Edinburgh Fringe, where in 2006 he was presented with The Herald newspaper’s Angel award for excellence in performance.

More recently Blanco has toured the UK in 2013 as a solo pianist, earning rave reviews. (Indeed, we noted his visit to Glasgow that year.)  His latest visit to Scotland reunites him with Brazilian-born bassist Mario Caribe, saxophonist Paul Towndrow, of the Brass Jaw horn quartet, and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s powerhouse drummer and RCS drum tutor, Alyn Cosker who, with Blanco, form the Blue Lamp Quartet, named after the scene of their triumphant first gig together at Aberdeen Jazz Festival in 2007.

“I’m really looking forward to working with these guys again,” says Blanco. “That gig we played in Aberdeen felt electric and the crowd were so responsive. So it’ll be great to meet up again and bring some sunny Latin American music to the Scottish winter.”

What does the Eurovision Song Contest mean to You? to Us as a Nation?

Empire of Song: Europe and Nation in the Eurovision Song Contest

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland staff and students can read this recent scholarly article by Katherine Meizel - it'll interest anyone concerned with music in a cultural context.  Use your RCS login if you're off-campus.

This article is available to the RCS community because we subscribe to Taylor and Francis Online.  Just one of the many web resources we curate for you!

Save this link

We are the very helpful Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, here to help students and colleagues with their information needs.

Rhinos become Extinct. What happens to Old Format Audio, though?

What do white rhinos and vinyl records have in common?

The British Library has an initiative to gather information about the UK's recorded heritage
Wikipedia image of white rhino
before the formats become unplayable. Here's the news, as shared with us by IAML, the International Association of Music Libraries:-

Last week, the British Library announced a startling fact that probably rings true for many people who work with sound recordings:

“Professional consensus is that we have approximately 15 years in which to save the UK’s sound collections before they become unplayable and are effectively lost. The solution is to digitally preserve them, but the scale of the task required is considerable and time is running out.”

The British Library has launched the Save our Sounds program to address this issue. You can read more about it on the British Library’s Sound and Vision blog (link is external).

A few days later, the British Library announced an initiative to “collect information about our recorded heritage, to create a Directory of UK Sound Collections.” For more information and to participate in this census, click here (link is external). The census will be open until the end of March.
If you know of an organisation which has lots of old recordings - an opera company, maybe, or a specialist archive - do them a kindness and share this with them!  Otherwise it won't just be white rhinos that are becoming extinct!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

If you're from beyond Scotland, would you like to know more about Burns Night?

Are you celebrating Burns Night?


This Sunday is the birthday of Scotland's national bard, poet Robert Burns.  The Whittaker Library has plenty of his songs on the shelves, and CDs of them being sung.

One of our web resources is ideal for finding out more about him, though: Scran is jam-packed with images, digitised documents, recordings ... and they have a special feature about Robert Burns at the moment.

Click to visit here - Staff and students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland can login using their RCS password to get the fullest access to this great online resource.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Remember Making Slime? Well, Now Slime Makes Music!

Did your mum allow you to buy slime from Toys'R'Us?  (Here's where you tell if you had a liberal or a hard-liner for a parent!)

Well, forget getting your hands dirty.  Here we have found a blogpost about real, actual slime inspiring electronic music composition.  Weird? No kidding!  It's on RILM's Bibliolore blog, which specialises in unusual, surprising or otherwise whacky musical research.

You know you want to find out more!  Here it is:-

Listen to Something Different! Alexander Street Press uploads more Recordings

The Whittaker Library at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland subscribes to the Alexander Street Press music streaming service, Music Online: Classical Music Library.

Alexander Street Press is continually adding to the collection, making it bigger and better all the time.  Here's their latest ouput:-

A list of all released audio is included below.
Classical Music Library (CLMU): 133 albums (1,916 tracks) from Nimbus, LSO Live, Hänssler Classic, Chandos, Donemus, Mode Records, and others.

Staff and Students at RCS can access the collections HEREUse your usual login if you're off-campus.

Would You Like to Go to the Antarctic? A Genuine Opportunity for Artists and Creatives

We saw this intriguing tweet over the weekend.  It's for real - a residency in the Antarctic!  So how about it, composers?  Or CPP practitioners?

Want to work with the sounds of the Antarctic? Why not pitch your idea to the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship? 

"The Australian Antarctic Division administers the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship, enabling those with a non-science focus to experience Antarctica and Australia's activities there, so that they may communicate this unique experience and understanding to other Australians.  Applications are now open for the current round. Applications must be submitted via the online application form, by Monday 30 March 2015 at 4pm AEDST.

"Information for applicants - The program aims to nurture the production of excellent and significant works of art and interpretation by professionals in the creative arts, humanities and social sciences [...]

"Some applications under the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship may be accepted from citizens of other Antarctic Treaty nations.* These applicants must have the support of their own nation’s Antarctic program, and must be able to demonstrate a capacity to reach a significant audience, preferably including a significant Australian audience."
*Lots of countries, including the UK, are signed up to the Antarctic Treaty.