Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Is Your Leadership Inspired? We have Leadership Foundation Reports ...

It goes without saying that the Whittaker Library supports teaching, learning and research at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  However, we also support educationalists and managers by keeping a collection of reports and papers on best practice in higher education and management.

In short,we're not just a collection of music, drama, dance and production materials!  So if there's some aspect of your work that you'd like to compare with current best practice, do check the library catalogue and electronic resources.

  1. Catalogue link
  2. Library and IT pages

Colleagues Duffy and Broad contribute to book on Artistic Practice as Research in Music

Artistic practice as research in music: theory, criticism, practice

RCS Head of Research Stephen Broad and former colleague Celia Duffy have contributed to an Ashgate collection of essays about different aspects of artistic practice as research in music. The Whittaker Library naturally has a copy! You can find it here (catalogue entry).

Celia and Stephen's article is entitled, "Practising Research, Playing with Knowledge".

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

It's not the Format, but the Content! Oxford Handbooks - Music

The Whittaker Library currently has a trial of Oxford Handbooks Online for music students and staff at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

We're not promoting this just because it's "more online stuff", but because this is truly world-class, quality material which we think our readers will be able to make good use of.  So, if you're part of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland community - whether you're registered on music or other courses - do take a look.  There are just 23 online Oxford Handbooks in music, but they cover many relevant and contemporary aspects of the subject.

Because it is a trial, access is only within the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland buildings, and it continues until 30th June 2015.  Look for our name, and click "Sign in", then use your usual RCS username and password

Visit the Collection here.
The Oxford Handbooks series brings together the world’s leading scholars to write articles that survey the current state of scholarship in their field. The articles review the key issues, reveal original arguments and concepts, and set the agenda for new research.
This free access is available until 30th June 2015

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Can you tell your Scripsit from your Sculpsit?

Here's a little bit of book history to broaden your mind!

If you're looking at REALLY old music, sometimes you see tiny writing at the bottom of the title page - "Script" or "Sculpt", and then a name.  Rudolf Rasch, who is a book historian, and Associate Professor of Musicology (Emeritus) at Utrecht University,  has kindly provided us with an explanation:-

"Script = scripsit = “he wrote”, normally this refers to the one who designed the engraving or made a drawing as a design for the engraving. This should refer to a title page only. [Typesetter is not a good description of this person.]

"Sculpt = sculpsit = “he sculpted”, refers to the engraver.

"If a title page is signed by a “sculpsit” one is not a priori certain that the same engraver did the music too. The best way to decide whether the engraver of the title page also engraved the music is too look at the form of the letters on the title page and on the music pages. In many situations title page and music are engraved by the same hand, but there may be cases where the publisher had different engravers work at the title page and the music.

"But please keep in mind: 18th-century indications are never full-proof. Never turn off common sense."
So now you know. Just a little advancement in knowledge every day ...!  One day you might be grateful to Whittaker for sharing this little piece of book history with you!

Friday, 15 May 2015

How old ARE Strathspeys and Reels?

If you don't mind coming in halfway through an ongoing discussion, you may find this paper of interest.  Michael Newton (University of North Carolina) continues a debate with Will Lamb (University of Edinburgh) about the origins of the strathspey and reel as dance and musical forms.
Read it here on Michael's page.

Keeping it Reel: the Origins of the Reel in a Scottish Gaelic Context, by Dr Michael Newton

B. B. King, "Beale Street Blues Boy" (and the Vinyl we Nearly Lost)

We heard the news today that blues legend B. B. King has died in Las Vegas aged 89.  Rather to our surprise, the Whittaker Library has just one vinyl record - "Six Silver Strings", which was his 50th album.  Not good enough?  

Actually, you're lucky to see this image - the album slipped down the back of a bookcase while Karen was taking a photo of it. The tale of its rescue is another story entirely!  Suffice to say, it is still in stock, safe and sound, and available for our staff and students to enjoy.  (Here.)

If you're a student or staff colleague at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, you could also visit Alexander Street Press's online Jazz Music Library, where you would find the "B. B. King Blues theme" on an album, Luminescence Disc 2.

Broadening your search, if you investigate the whole Alexander Street Press Music and Arts database, you'll find a number of recordings and plenty of literature about this famous artiste.

You can perform both these searches by searching the databases via the Whittaker Library Electronic Resources page.  Just goes to show that although it's easy enough to get by with Google, there is also a lot of premium information out there that you can access if your library subscribes to it.  So don't just think, "Google" (or even "Google plus") - think "Google AND my library's Electronic Resources" - you'll be surprised what you find.
We are the very helpful Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, here to assist our students and staff with their information needs. If our library members need any help with using our electronic resources, just ask! We now have a Library Chat facility on our catalogue homepage, too.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

What's in a Name? Labels Stick

Electronic Resources

at the Whittaker Library

We agonized.  We wondered if we were using the wrong term for all our lovely electronic resources.  So we designed a Survey Monkey survey (doesn't everyone?), and asked our students if things like Naxos, JSTOR and Digital Theatre Plus should be called something else instead.  

Like Digital Resources, or Digital Collections, or Online Resources, or "E" something-or-other, or even "Web Collections"?

Well, guess what?  Electronic Resources won, hands down.  49% of all respondents said so.  Maybe we've just shouted the benefits of our electronic resources so long and so loud that everyone has got used to the idea and can't imagine them being called anything else.

If you're a student or staff colleague at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and still wondering what this posting is about, then you need to visit this page, urgently!  Come and ask the library staff if you need anything explaining.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

New Library Stock: Søren Nils Eichberg

The Danish-German Composer Søren Nils Eichberg has arrived into the Whittaker Library in the form of three scores!
Berlin based Eichberg has had a diverse musical background that has impacted on his compositions which mix elements from across the history of western music. His output since 2001 includes more than 30 works including operas, symphonies, chamber works and solo pieces. In November 2014 the Royal Opera Covent Garden premiered his new "robot opera" Glare.
The three pieces included in our catalogue are:
Scherben: 19 etudes-posludes for solo piano (2002) - this piece was commissioned by the International Piano Competition Ferruccio Busoni as a compulsory piece for the finals 2002/2003. To get an idea of what some of the etudes sound like click here.  
Endorphin: concerto grosso for string quartet and chamber orchestra (2011) - in this piece Eichberg uses the Baroque form of the concerto to create interesting textures and contrasts. To listen to this piece click here.
Variationen uber ein Thema von Niccolo Paganini for solo cello (2005) which uses many different performance techniques throughout to challenge the player.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Are you (or are you going to be) an International Organist?

Today, the Whittaker Library received a brochure about the St Albans International Organ Festival.  The festival comes highly recommended by Choir and Organ, a magazine which does exactly what it says on the cover.  (Visit them here:-

The Festival runs from 4-18 July 2015, and you can find full details here:-

Moving with the times, you can also follow it on Twitter: @organ_festival, and there's a Facebook account to like, too.

Read about Harry Lauder and Scottish Popular Culture

We're always interested in the great Scottish performers of earlier generations, so when we found David Goldie's article, we thought we'd share it.  It might interest people here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Here's David Goldie's article, published at the University of Stirling in 2005:-

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Power of Music: Guardian article on Music and Learning Disabilities

A recent feature in The Guardian may be of interest to our students studying Community Music.  "Music can transform the lives of people with learning disabilities" appeared in The Guardian on 7th May 2015.

You can read more about music (and drama) for people with learning difficulties, in The Whittaker Library's rich collections.  Search by keywords, eg:-

Monday, 4 May 2015

Phantom Wheel-Tappers, Toe-Tappers, Podium Rappers ...

Waltzing Away at St Rollox
Steam Locomotive at the Riverside Museum

 Cataloguing away merrily in the library,  we've just found a link with Glasgow's industrial past in the unlikely context of Weber's Invitation to the Waltz!

An old set of parts in our orchestral collection was gifted to us when its original owners no longer needed it.  This set first belonged to Caledonian Railway Workshops Orchestra at St Rollox, before being gifted to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama when we were at St George's Place, Glasgow.   

Since then, St George's Place became Nelson Mandela Place, and more recently we moved to Renfrew Street in 1987, before changing our name to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in September 2011.

An interesting history! We wonder if any of the Caledonian Railway Workshops Orchestra members are still alive, after all this time ...

A Gentle Reminder from Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd

A reference query today brought three bound copies together which have long been separated on the shelves.  We have a score, a draft programme, and a script for Robert Kemp's 1949 abridged version of Allan Ramsay's pastoral comedy, which was performed at the Edinburgh International Festival in August and September that year.

The music for the adaptation was by Cedric Thorpe Davie, a musicologist who for many years was Professor of Music at the University of St Andrews.  Indeed, the University Library there has extensive holdings of Davie's output.  Nonetheless, it is nice to know that we, too, have copies of this particular work, which was an outstanding part of poet Allan Ramsay's legacy to Scottish literature.

Naxos, Digital Theatre Plus, Oxford Music all on Whittaker Library website ...


iPad, laptop, PC or phone


We've made such a loud noise about our online subscriptions recently, that most students are well aware that we've got them!
... but we are still curious to find out if students prefer any particular term to describe all these databases.
  • "Electronic" or "Digital"?
  • "Online" or "Database"?
  • "Collections" or "Resources"?
So we're doing a one-question survey to see if any particular terminology is more popular.

Would you like to know what the answer is?  Watch this space! We'll have reached a conclusion by the end of this week!

Friday, 1 May 2015

What's in a Name? Electronic, Online, Digital Resources or What?

It may only be a little thing, but we're trying to get our terminology right. We have all these subscriptions to electronic information resources, but we're not sure which words are most meaningful to the most of our readers. So, we're doing a one-question survey. Today we experimented with the iPad - behind the scenes - but watch out for next week! We'll let you what the outcome is!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Are You a Romantic (where music is concerned)? Bruckner Online website

Bruckner Online

We thought we'd share this - a "large-scale Anton Bruckner Internet portal that includes complete digital copies of all manuscripts and first editions along with information on relevant persons and places." For anyone needing to know more about Bruckner, it sounds like a great place to start!

Bibliolore  is the acclaimed blog of RILM (Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale), which  can genuinely call itself, "the World’s Most Comprehensive Music Bibliography".  The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a subscriber to RILM (our students and staff can find RILM on our digital collections page), but anyone can visit Bibliolore's great blog.

Do You Come from Edinburgh? New website

 Memories of Auld Reekie

We heard about the Edinburgh Collected website though the Scottish branch our professional association, CILIPS.

If you're interested in digital heritage and have an Edinburgh connection, this may be of interest to you:-

"Edinburgh Collected is a new website featuring memories of Edinburgh and acts as a community archive for the city, past and present.  It allows individuals and groups to add content that builds on existing digital heritage collections and whilst complementing the collections Edinburgh Libraries currently hold."

Full story

Friday, 24 April 2015

Pianist? Cool Cats Won't be able to Resist

Interactive Boulez (are you cool enough for this?)

Are you Cool Enough for This?
News from overseas: our international music library colleagues drew our attention to an interactive online project called Explore the Score, designed by the Ruhr Piano Festival organisers:-
"In Explore the Score, selected works are explained and analyzed by leading performers."
Visit the website (accessible in English and German) and remember to bookmark it, because it's an ongoing project with more planned in future.  Right now, get stuck into some Boulez - his Douze Notations. 

  •  IAML (International Association of Music Librarians) Ruhr news item in full HERE
  • Full IAML Friday news HERE

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Scottish Album of the Year Longlist Announced (read about it in The Scotsman)

Noticed in the news today - the Longlist for the Scottish Album of the Year.  Read the article in The Scotsman here.  Scottish fiddler Mike Vass is amongst the contenders.  (The Whittaker Library has recordings, but we're ordering the latest right now!)