Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Enter the 2nd Berlin International Music Festival

We received an email about this music festival today.  You have three weeks to the deadline. Better get busy with that application!

2nd Berliner International Music Competition

  • Piano - Strings - Voice - Winds - Brass
  • Online Competition (No travelling)
  • Recitals at Berlin Philharmonie
  • Over 25,000€ in prizes
  • Audio and video recording
  • Deadline: June 15
VIDEO SELECTION – Traveling is not required to apply

The 2nd Berliner International Music Competition

is open until June 15 (DEADLINE).

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

IAM Music Festival for Organists

Today, we received a leaflet about the Incorporated Association of Organists' Music Festival.  For further details, please visit the website:-

29 July - 2 August 2018

Dr Lenny Henry - PhD on Diversity in Screenwriting

Breaking News ...
Image from Wikipedia

Did you know that Lenny Henry has been awarded a PhD for his thesis on diversity in screenwriting?  We saw a tweet about him yesterday, and had to find out more! He studied at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Does the Coach have to be Black? The Sports Film, Screenwriting and Diversity: a Practice-Based Enquiry

Friday, 11 May 2018

Napoleonic Era and beyond - Military and Social Tunes 1790-1840 in a vast online resource

We recently found a fascinating website for anyone interested in military and social tunes from the Georgian and early Victorian era. Extending from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars to the early years of Victoria's reign, the website profiles an absolutely enormous collection of tunes, some with "harmonies".  It began life in England, but is now in Canada, soon to be in the City of Toronto Archives.

Military / Social Tunes 1790-1840 : the John Buttrey Manuscript

Thursday, 10 May 2018

State of play: David Hare and James Graham talk drama and politics

(Click link below)

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Search Tips for Your RCS Literature Search

At a recent workshop with BEdMus students, we explored different ways of fine-tuning your search techniques to retrieve better results in the catalogue and using Catalogue Plus.

Our catalogue offers access to all physical resources in the library (books, music, recordings etc) and also to individual e-book titles.  Meanwhile, Catalogue Plus offers access to all electronic resources - journal articles, databases, sound recordings, etc.
Here's a PowerPoint summary of what we talked about.

Extra free tip!

Don't forget the power of the synonym.  If one word doesn't retrieve what you expect, try another word that means the same thing. 
  1. For example, nowadays we talk about "high ability" pupils, but earlier authors wrote about "gifted children".  Or prodigies! 
  2. Similarly, sometimes you can get better results with a different version of the word.  If you want to write about Smetana or Sibelius as part of the late Romantic nationalist movement, searching for "nationalist music" may yield different results to when you search on Nationalism, or try Nationalism AND Music.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Women Creating Scotland: a blog and a conference

Here's something many of our readers will be interested in.  Take a look at the blog, visit the call for papers for the Creating for Change Conference 2018, and see if there's anything we could contribute from RCS!

And, along the lines of "if you liked this, maybe you'll like that ...", have you visited the Dangerous Women Project? Take a look, here:-  
The May Queen by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France)

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

The Library Blog - a Changing Role?

In the early days of our blog, we highlighted things directly coming up in courses or concerts. A Beethoven concerto? We posted links to useful material about Beethoven.  A concert series? We found links to the artistes taking part.  And so on.  But as time went by, it was obvious that people would be searching for that kind of info themselves.

We still post information that will help our students for particular assignments - eg, how to search our online resources. How to conduct a literature search, or how to cite references in your essay.  What goes in a bibliography.  New material for a particular course - such as the Dalcroze material we bought in recently.  And reminders about things that we've mentioned before, if appropriate!

Sometimes we also flag up events, external courses or funding opportunities.  If we're sent a bundle of leaflets, then we may find the hyperlink and mention it online.  Or we may flag up new publications, or things that will appeal to a wide cross-section of our readers, or initiatives and projects of library-related interest.

Knowing that more people use Twitter than visit library blogs, we tend to post links to the blog, via Twitter.  We also share our blogposts with teaching colleagues. If they think the info relevant, then hopefully they share it with students that they teach.  Whilst Moodle and the Portal have vital information for our students, we like to think that our blog has a complementary role, and also of course, it can reach out to a wider range of people, not just staff and students.

So in our opinion, the library blog is not dead.  We have our own niche.  We're glad you found us - do call again!

Monday, 30 April 2018

Biblioarchaeology? It's a real thing!

But perhaps the word biblioarchaeology hasn't been applied to a modern musical score published in 1955?

It's like this. We have six copies. Four are annotated to the effect that they have ink markings indicating the composer's intentions, as he explained to one of the first performers.  So, they're all the same?

No.  This is problematical!
  • The ink markings in each of the annotated copies are NOT identical!
  • Each of the four annotated copies - and the other two - have copious pencil markings as well. 
  • Three of the annotated copies (in different hands) say the composer dictated these markings to the performer.
  • One of the annotated copies says the additions were made BY the composer.
  • One of the annotated copies mentioning dictation, was annotated by a former chief librarian, and is likely to be correct - but it doesn't have the earliest accession number or the earliest previous shelf-mark.  To be fair, they've all been reclassified, and there's no way of being certain that the apparently earliest copy really entered the library first.  They could have all been bought at the same time, and we wouldn't know.
Of course, today we recognise that the piece is significant, that one of the first performers was significant - and knew the composer - and that those markings are important (once we've worked out which are which). The scores will go into our special collections.  In earlier times, perhaps we weren't so aware of the importance of such contemporary commentary.

As for the pencil notes by however many subsequent students and their teachers?  Well, it again goes to demonstrate that although some annotations are crucially important, scribbles in library copies aren't necessarily a good thing!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Girls at the Piano: Autobiography by Australian Virginia Lloyd

Since women's role in music is a topic that quite often crops up these days, we thought it was appropriate to add this new title to our book collection.  The author looks at the importance of the piano in her own life, compares it with her grandmother's experience, and widens it out into a general discussion of girls' experience as pianists and as piano students.

You'll find the book at ML417 L in our music book collection.  (Catalogue entry here, and publisher's book description here.)

You may also be interested to read an earlier blogpost that we wrote about women in music - here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

World Music: the David Fanshawe World Music Archive

Two of our Performing Arts Librarians attended our professional association's Annual Study Weekend recently.  IAML (UK and Ireland) is the local branch of the International Association of Music Libraries.

A lot of different topics were covered, but one that might particularly interest some of our staff and students was a reminder about a very special archive of sound recordings - the David Fanshawe World Music Archive.  They have 3,200 stereo master tapes; 40,000 colour slides and 70 of Fanshawe's hand-written journals.

Of course, most people remember him for his epic piece, African Sanctus.  But he was an ethnomusicologist through and through, and this archive represents a lifetime's work collecting tunes from all over the world.  Scholars are warmly invited to visit the collections, which are curated by a sound engineer, a librarian and arts manager, and Jane Fanshawe herself, the manager of Fanshawe One World Music.

Trombonists Go Digital

Here's a library message to RCS trombonists!

The Trombonist magazine has gone digital from 2018, and you can access it via the library portal, here:- 

Spring 2018 has just been added. Future issues will be added to the same portal page.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Taking Care of our Distance Learners

A brief report on a recent project, looking at ways of helping our distance learners. This project was part of a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Arts Education, a course taught here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Libraries Reaching Out to Distance Learners / by Karen McAulay

PowerPoints that Teach Effectively

Here's an interesting article about the pedagogy (educational theory) behind effective PowerPoint presentations.  If you ever use PowerPoint in your teaching and learning, this might be helpful:-

Using cognitive load theory to improve slideshow presentations

It's by Andy Tharby, of Durrington Research School, West Sussex - part of the Research Schools Network.  It'll take 5-10 minutes to read, maximum, and will warn you off ever showing  large screeds of text on powerpoint!

Thursday, 19 April 2018

My Essay is Due on Monday! Some Calming Words ...

So you've got an essay deadline fast approaching? Are you cool, calm and collected? Or does your head feel as though it's about to explode?!

These suggestions might help you:-

  1.  If you can't make it in to the library, then electronic resources are your friend.  Your best friend.
  2. If you are having difficulty with e-resources or referencing, you could maybe try watching these short videoclips:-
  3. To use CataloguePlus, remember to click the Search Catalogue Plus button first.
  4. To use e-resources offsite, remember you need to identify RCS from a list of institutions before you enter your own login.
  5. For more assistance please email and your enquiry will be forwarded to the most appropriate team-member.
  6. Have you got a good introduction and conclusion? Have you answered the question? Do your paragraphs follow on logically?
  7. A quick 15 minute break away from your computer or a walk round the block won't find you more information, but it will enable you to take a deep breath and think more calmly.
  8. If you're really stuck, take a notebook and write a diary entry to yourself: "I'm stuck because ...", "I still need to address the question of ....", "I need to make sure I link x to y ...."  Writing down what the problem is, will help you clarify it.

Impact! Suggestions for the Researcher

Anyone involved in research, particularly if they're applying for funding, will be concerned about research impact.

A good place to start is, run by Professor Mark Reed of the University of Newcastle. Plenty of great ideas, suggestions, even free training.

One of the big academic publishers, Emerald, has recently produced a Real World Impact manifesto, which is also worth reading, with case studies demonstrating good practice.

Do share any other helpful links!

Are you a Harpist with Historical Leanings?

We've been advised of an interesting conference run by the Historical Harp Society of Ireland on 15-21 August in Kilkenny.

More information:

SCOIL na gCLÁIRSEACH -Festival of Early Irish Harp 2018

The Society is now taking bookings for the 2018 Scoil na gClairseach—Festival of Early Irish Harp, 15–21 August 2018 at Coláiste Pobail Osraí in the medieval city of Kilkenny, Ireland.

Book before 15 May 2018 for an Early Bird discount of €25 on the week rate and / or sign up with a friend who is new to the festival and you will each get a Bring a Friend discount of €25 on the week rate.

Players: Join for the complete festival programme, from 8.45 a.m. to 6.45 p.m. each day.
Listeners: Join for part – or all – of any day to listen in on Players' sessions, workshops, lectures, masterclasses and concerts.
Field trippers: Join for a day in Dublin, inspecting historic harps close-up, guided by world experts, on Tues. 21 August.

** * **

What's it all about? Informational video HERE
Read about the 2017 festival HERE and see the 2017 timetable HERE
Booking information HERE

Email: Call: +353 (0)86 8623430

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Read Yourself Better

Have you come across bibliotherapy?  Maybe better known as self-help?  

A couple of years ago, we bought a few books that came under the category of bibliotherapy, self-help or student support, and indexed them so they'd be easy to find.  We knew at the time that these weren't the first self-help books we'd bought, but we didn't try to identify all the others that we'd already got in stock. 

Today, we can offer students and staff quite a range of materials to help with the kind of personal challenges that crop up surprisingly often, whether it's anxiety, depression, dependency or other types of problem.

No replacement for a professional consultation, obviously, but sometimes a good book is a worthwhile thing in itself.  Do take a look.  There are probably more in the library, but this is more than a good start!  

Bibliotherapy in the Whittaker Library

Students at RCS are urged to contact our Student Counsellor, Jane Balmforth, or seek other professional help, for any concern that's making things difficult.

Girls at the Piano, by Virginia Lloyd

We've just heard of a brand new publication by Australian Virginia Lloyd, taking a historical AND contemporary look at girls and their relationship with the piano.  Are we going to buy it?  Of course we are!
Read the publishers' blurb here.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Watch Out for Musica Scotica! Upcoming Events ...

Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling - we've got Scotland (almost) covered.

Wednesday 4 April, 7.30pm, Concert at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow:  performance of works by Robert Johnson (as a prelude to the launch of the volume)  - read an interview with editor Elaine Moohan, in The Herald, here.  NB there is a pre-concert talk at 6.30 pm, well-worth attending!

6–8 April, IAML UK Annual Study Weekend, Edinburgh, at which we will have a bookstall. Conference programme here.

20-21 April, Musica Scotica's Conference, at the Tolbooth, Stirling. Conference details and booking form, click here.