Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Tributes after death of piping legend Alasdair Gillies

Beethoven manuscripts and sketches digitised

Beethoven MSS and sketches online at two American libraries:- 
I think you'll agree with me these are fantastic resources, and they'll be great when Christina Guillaumier leads our undergraduates' research into original Beethoven sources. I'll "catalogue" both websites online, so the links will be permanently in our catalogue when you need them.

And how did I get these gems?  I asked my music library colleagues on Twitter, and got a quick response from the Yale Music Library.  (and that, my friends, is the value of so-called social networking.  Or should we call it socio-professional networking?)

NB RSAMD becomes Royal Conservatoire of Scotland tomorrow, 1st September.  The catalogue link will change to

Monday, 29 August 2011

Musica Scotica 2012

Musica Scotica's seventh annual conference
Saturday 28th April 2012
Concert Hall, University of Glasgow

Papers, 20 minutes in length, are invited on any aspect of Scottish music.

Topics presented in previous years have included chant, Gaelic song, music publishing, the Scottish diaspora, opera performance, cultural organisations, fiddle and bagpipe music, George Thomson and Haydn, manuscript sources, Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser, Learmont Drysdale, Hamish MacCunn, and James MacMillan.

Please submit an abstract (250 words) as a Word document or rtf file by Wednesday 30th November 2011 to: 
Dr Jane Mallinson

You will be notified by the end of January if your abstract has been accepted.

A poster session may be included; delegates are invited to indicate whether they would be interested in availing themselves of this opportunity.

Proposed conference fees 
  • Full day to include lunch, morning and afternoon tea/coffee: £35 (£25 for students)
  • Morning and/or afternoon session to include tea/coffee, but not lunch: £10
The registration form will be available in due course on the Musica Scotica website.
Publication of proceedings

Musica Scotica will publish papers from this conference along with a selection of papers from previous conferences.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Denholm, Teviotdale - birthplace of scholar, poet & scholar John Leyden

ON THIS DAY, 200 years ago ...
Poet, scholar and song-collector John Leyden died in Java, on 27th August 1811.  He was from the village of Denholm in Teviotdale, in the Scottish Borders, and helped Sir Walter Scott in his ballad collecting.  His 18th century cottage still stands to this day. 

To celebrate the bicentenary of Leyden's death, a wreath is being laid by Lord Minto at the Leyden monument in Denholm tomorrow, 28th August 2011, and the local television company may be there. 
  • Denholm village website - find out more about Leyden and other famous names!
  • website also has a brief bio of Leyden.  This picture of his monument comes from the Border Reivers page, with thanks.
  • Click on the "ballads" label below, to find a recent blogpost about Child ballads.

Beethoven Haus, Bonn - Digital archives

Image from the Beethoven-Haus Bonn homepage

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Child Ballads - Loomis House complete corrected 2nd edition

The Child Ballads are a key component of the British traditional repertoire. Collector Francis James Child assembled and published a vast collection. Mark and Laura Heiman have prepared a corrected second edition for Loomis House Press; we've just acquired the fifth and last volume for the Whittaker Library at RSAMD (soon to be the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland).


Useful online links:-

  • RSAMD Catalogue. Check the Whittaker Library's holdings of Child Ballads.  (The Loomis House Press collection is not the only edition.)
  • Search on Child Ballads on Scran, which offers educational access to digital materials representing Scottish material culture and history. The Whittaker Library subscribes to this, for the benefit of our  staff and students. 
  • Lesley Nelson (aka the Contemplator)'s Child Ballad Website:- 
  • Youtube is a good source of Child Ballad videos

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Support and advice for research students

Have you come across PhDChat?  I blogged about this before - you can join in the Twitter conversation with Nasima Riazat on Wednesdays, follow Nasima's tweets, read the blog or get involved in the  wiki.

Then there's The Thesis Whisperer (aka Inger Mewburn, a research support lecturer in Australia).  This is a fantastic resource - do take a look! 

And here's the THE (Times Higher Education) article which has just come out, about The Thesis Whisperer.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Why don't readers ask?!

In a fit of pure introspection, I tried to work out what my motivations were when I went to Waterstones and W H Smiths today. Obviously, I can’t tap into my subconscious, so the exercise was hardly scientific.

Amazon was promoting Grace Dent, How to leave Twitter. I wanted to see it before deciding whether to buy. I’d also come across Maureen Callahan's Poker Face: the Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga, about Lady Gaga’s astounding success at self-promotion. Again, I wanted to assess how much of it actually was about self-promotion.  I started in Waterstones. But where would I find these titles?
  • What did the Twitter book come under?  No catalogue, no classification to help me. A mass-appeal paperback on promotion (piles on tables, special displays)? Autobiographical? Humour? No sign of it. Did I ask for help? Not initially. Finally, I learned it wasn’t currently in stock. As for Lady Gaga - I found the music section, but that title wasn’t there. (Mind you, there was an interesting book about Beethoven - Harvey Sachs, The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824. I have an obsessive research interest in musical culture in the 1820’s…)

Given that I wanted to see the books, I gave up and went to Smiths, where I faced the same conundrum, although I asked sooner!

But why don’t we want to ask? Reticence? Pride? Reluctance to fall prey to a pushy salesperson?  Transfer all this to a library, though, and the parameters change.

  • Catalogues available to the readers, for a start.
  • A more detailed classification, too - at least in an academic library. I spotted the new Beethoven book on a promotional display at Waterstones, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have found it. On the other hand, books on the same narrow subject will be side by side on a college bookshelf.
  • No financial risk - and if you don’t like the book, you just return it, read or unread. There’s a lot to be said for libraries!

So, that leaves us with my initial question: Why won’t we ask? Would you ask for help finding something in a bookshop? In a library?  If the librarians were more visible, would that change things at all? Should we be more proactive, or sit in our office like books on shelves, waiting to be consulted?

Which is one of the reasons why I blog.  Someone commented on Twitter the other day that libraries aren’t just books - they’re also people. Knowledgeable people, who not only know their subjects, but also know how to interrogate a catalogue!  (See 'Libraries are about People', by The Wikiman.)  But we need to reach out to our readers, who perhaps don't realise our "unique selling point".

So I’ll share something with you right now. I ordered the Twitter and Beethoven books on Amazon at home just now. I’ll let you know if they’re any good. Promise!

RSAMD becomes Royal Conservatoire of Scotland soon

There's a crane outside.  They're not demolishing us - just changing our name ...! just a few days longer ...

The [Research] Student as Customer

Does paying uni fees make you a customer?  A customer like someone who buys something in a shop?

Here's a thought-provoking blogpost on The Thesis Whisperer (an esteemed Australian research-support blog) about the relationship between student, institution and research supervisor.  The author of the post, Dr Sarah Louise Quinell, is at Kings College London, so there are interesting comments about the UK situation.

I'm a Paying Customer - read it here.

Monday, 22 August 2011

James Simpson of Dundee - Flute Manuscripts

On this day ...

ANNIVERSARY - Today, 23 August, James Simpson married Cecilia Elder in Dundee in 1834. 

The three precious flute manuscripts that he'd begun compiling in 1828-1830 went with him to their first home. Who knows, maybe he went on adding to them. 

RSAMD has these MSS in Special Collections.  Music and Academic Services Librarian Karen McAulay has indexed and published articles on them.Find out more about the manuscripts here

Odissi Indian classical dance

Indian summer: Surupa Sen brings classical dance to the Festival.  Cover story, The Herald Arts [Magazine] 20 August 2011 - about the Indian classical style Odissi.  The Whittaker Library has kept the paper copy.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

Watch out for a new exhibition commencing 30 November 2011: Photos by our own Ken Dundas will be shown at the re-opening exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.  They'll also be part of a larger exhibition next year, 2012.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Different Class : Ruby Wax and a Cast of Famous Faces

The Herald Magazine
20 August 2011

Different Class : Ruby Wax and a Cast of Famous Faces reveal what really goes on at Scotland's School of Performing Arts. 

Read the cover story about RSAMD (soon to be Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) - about
  • Dawn Steele
  • Alan Cumming
  • Colin Morgan
  • Bill Paterson
  • David Gant
  • Robert Carlyle
  • Mary Marquis
  • Hannah Gordon
  • David Hayman
  • Ruby Wax
Photos are by our own Ken Dundas, and a selection of his photos will be shown at the re-opening exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery starting on 30 November 2011.  Also to be part of a larger exhibition next year, 2012.

Not available online but the Whittaker Library is keeping the paper cutting on file.  Look in the Catalogue ... it's already there!

Using Googledocs in Drama

Have you tried sharing documents on Googledocs yet?

'Using Googledocs in Drama' has been blogged on the Drama Teacher' s Network: Lesson Ideas and Web Tools for the Drama Classroom.

William Chappell's anniversary


20th August.  William Chappell, antiquarian author, ballad and song collector, died 123 years ago on 20th August 1888.  Although seldom mentioned except amongst musicologists nowadays, he was certainly an influential - and controversial - figure in his day.  His views about English and Scottish national music set the heather on fire and irritated many north of the Border.

But what did he write?  See below for a brief list of his musical publications.  Check in COPAC to see where your nearest copies are.  RSAMD also has a copy of Popular Music of the Olden Time.

  • William Chappell, and others, A Collection of National English Airs, Consisting of Ancient Song, Ballad and Dance Tunes, Interspersed with Remarks and Anecdote, and preceded by An Essay on English Minstrelsy (London: Chappell, 1838)
  • Chappell, Popular Music of the Olden Time: a Collection of Ancient Songs, Ballads, and Dance Tunes, Illustrative of the National Music of England, airs harmonized by G. A. Macfarren, 2 vols (London: Cramer, Beale and Chappell, [1855–59])
  • Chappell, The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time: a History of the Ancient Songs, Ballads, and of the Dance Tunes of England, with Numerous Anecdotes and entire Ballads; also, a Short Account of the Minstrels, airs harmonized by G.A. Macfarren, 2 vols (London: Cramer, Beale and Chappelll, 1859)
  • Chappell, The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time […], new introduction by Frederick W. Sternfeld, 2 vols (New York: Dover, 1965)
  • Chappell, The History of Music (Art and Science). Vol. 1, from the Earliest Records to the Fall of the Roman Empire, with Explanations of Ancient Systems of Music, Instruments, and of the True Physiological Basis for the Science of Music, Whether Ancient or Modern ( London: Chappell, 1874)
  • Chappell, Old English Popular Music, new edn with a preface and notes and the earlier examples entirely revised by H. Ellis Wooldridge, 2 vols (London: Chappell and MacMillan, 1893)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Scottish Poetry Library

Have you come across the Scottish Poetry Library?  Their website is appropriately named, Reading Room. Click the link to find out more. 

  • 5 Crichton's Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT, tel 0131 557 2876 (main number)
    Find us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Read our blog, hear our podcasts
    Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10-5; Thursday 10-7; Saturday 10-4; Closed Monday, Sunday
  • National Poetry Day - 6th October

Tell a Story Day - Friday 28th October 2011

From the Scottish Storytelling Centre, a brilliant idea that will appeal to our BA Scottish Music students. If RSAMD (soon to be Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) students are interested, why not talk to Music and Academic Services Librarian Karen McAulay, or anyone on the Scottish Music teaching team:-

Tell-a-Story Day
Friday 28th October

What's your Story?

Celebrate Tell-a-Story Day and be part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival!

Tell-a-Story Day is the national celebration of oral storytelling, the perfect opportunity to get together with your friends, family or community and rediscover the pleasure of telling and listening to stories. Tell your own tales and encourage others to share local myths and legends, enchanting fairy tales, scary Halloween stories or treasured family legends... it's up to you!

Organising a TASD event is easy, entirely free and our team is always at hand to help with your planning. On our website you will find tips and advice from our professional storytellers, free resources and tales that you can download, learn and tell on the day.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Guardian Young Writers Workshop (Aged 16-22)

Quoted direct from the Guardian website:-
Young Writers' workshops 2011. Are you a writer between the ages of 16-22? Guardian News and Media is always looking for new voices ...

If you are between the ages of 16-22, we invite you to apply for a place on two young writers' workshops ... We particularly encourage applicants from all minority, disadvantaged social and economic backgrounds.

Twenty shortlisted writers will join us for workshops at the Guardian offices ... Weds 14 and Weds 21 September ... 

* understand the different sections of the Guardian
* develop your ideas into pitches
* discuss how to approach commissioning editors and pitch your ideas
* explore ways to encourage more young writers to write for the Guardian
* create a link between new writers and Guardian editors
* help Guardian editors to become more conscious of diversity and inclusion issues that affect young writers

To apply, submit an article (max 400 words) on the theme "I wish..." plus brief details of any published work. Please refer to our terms and conditions.

The deadline is 5pm on Friday 26 August 2011.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sound Chamber - 22nd August, St Andrew's and St George's

At the Edinburgh Fringe next week, 22nd August, St Andrew’s and St George’s Church, 13 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PA

  • Collection of bite-sized performances from 4 Scottish ensembles, showcasing Scottish chamber music
  • With information for chamber music lovers about music to be enjoyed in the year ahead
  • Fringe venue # 111
2.30 pm - 3.45 pm:- Early chamber and Scots music combine to create a magical step back in time, followed by a feast of contemporary music from Mr McFall’s:-
Concerto Caledonia
Traditional and early Scottish material from the Revenge of the Folksingers
Mr McFall’s Chamber
Gavin Bryars: The Church Closest the Sea
Martyn Bennett: Peewits
Piazzolla: Adios Nonino
Raymond Scott: Portofino

6 pm - 7.15 pm :- The beauty of the Bach Psalm is a perfect match for the intimate church setting, with Walton’s energetic Facade bringing the concert to a sparkling close.
Dunedin Consort
Vivaldi: Cessate, Omai Cessate
G.F. Handel: HW 56 Messiah
J.S. Bach/Pergolesi: BWV 1051 Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden
Auricle Ensemble
Selection from William Walton’s Facade

Box Office: Tickets £5 (£3) per concert
Available from the Venue on 0131 225 3847 or the Fringe at

World War Z hits Glasgow

  If you went down to George Square last night ...

US traffic lights

Coffee for Brad and Zombies?
One way, no parking:
business as usual, then!

Wednesday's Evening Times reported Brad Pitt on set

Monday, 15 August 2011

Teen Theatre Reviews

From Storme Toolis, actress in the Inbetweeners, who featured in the Sunday Times A Life in the Day yesterday:-

Sunday, 14 August 2011

RSPBA Pipe Band Championships

Results of Championships, Glasgow, Saturday 13th August 2011-
  • 1st - Field Marshal Montgomery
  • 2nd - Simon Fraser University
  • 3rd - Scottish Power
  • 4th - Inveraray and District
  • 5th - St.Laurence O'Toole
  • 6th - Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
Visit RSPBA website for more about the Championships.

Maggie Adamson's summer

RSAMD student Maggie Adamson is not 'just' a classical violinist, but also a rising star as a Shetland Fiddler.  That's how she came to play fiddle when the Tall Ships went to Shetland this summer.

Bookyap - book recommendations


Bookyap offers to find books that you'll like.  Specify your subject, or say what you like.

'Whittaker' tried it out for you:-
  • 1st search: I don't know how she does it.  A humorous book about a working mother, by Allison Pearson.  And what did Bookyap find?  I don't know how she does it.  (Not very clever!)
  • 2nd search: Scottish Enlightenment.  This time, Bookyap found 13 books, and they were exactly what I wanted.
  • 3rd search: Mozart opera.  27 matches, again an interesting selection.
  • 4th search: Chekhov plays.  13 matches. 
  • 5th search: no.1 ladies detective agency.  Results: the whole series.
To summarise - all three subject searches have been interesting.  Better than a library catalogue, though?  Hard to say!  As for the "Say what you like" search, maybe I'd have been more successful if my fiction preferences were more mainstream.  See what you think!

Leeds Playbills

Two centuries of playbills - a rich source of info for theatre historians!

Here's how the Leeds Play Bills homepage introduces the database:-
The Playbills site
The Leeds Playbills site is part of the Leodis digitisation project funded by the New Opportunities Fund.

What is available?
This site is making available all the playbills in the Local Studies Library collection from a wide range of Leeds Theatres such as The City Varieties, The Grand, The Princess and the Theatre Royal. The site provides a unique insight into theatre life in Leeds between 1781 and the 1990's. The site also contains some circus bills, such as those from Pablo Fanque's Circus.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Edinburgh Festivals 2011

'Whittaker' went to Edinburgh yesterday.  NOT to attend the Edinburgh Fringe or Festival - and frankly, it felt as though I was the only person on the Royal Mile having no connection with the Festival madness.

It was pouring with rain.  You couldn't move an inch without bumping into a happy, smiling face wearing a transparent plastic poncho and handing out soggy leaflets.  By pulling my umbrella down well over my face, I managed not to be stopped for the whole mile.  And that was an achievement, believe me - particularly since my brolly must have turned inside out a couple of dozen times by the time I reached the National Library of Scotland.

Still, perhaps the weather will improve and it'll be more fun as a consequence.  If it's still raining, go and see the Banned Books exhibition in the National Library of Scotland, and the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland.

PhD Chat - doctoral support by social media

Do you tweet?

Search #phdchat on Twitter to find a whole community of postgrads keen to share their doctoral experiences and challenges.

The organiser, Nasima Riazat (Twitter handle NSRiazat) also runs a wiki called PhD Chat for continuing the discussion and storing links arising from her Wednesday evening Twitter chat sessions.

Nasima has just started a new blog, too.  Worth a look.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

NOT Roger Whittaker Live!

It's a meercat kind of situation. 

'Whittaker' has just realised that if you Google WhittakerLive, or indeed Whittaker Live, you're likely to find a load of postings for Roger Whittaker Live.

So, to make it perfectly plain, Whittaker Live (as in Whittaker Library of RSAMD, shortly to become the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) is a blog about the performing arts and higher education as it relates to the same.

Roger Whittaker the Anglo-Kenyan singer-songwriter was born in 1936, and has released a number of live albums:-
  • Roger Whittaker Live in Berlin
  • Greatest Hits Live
  • Live in Concert
  • Live (1994)
  • The Last Farewell (Live) 2001
... but despite BEING alive, is unconnected with Whittaker Live the performing arts blog.  The eponymous William Whittaker is deceased, but his memory lives on in the Whittaker Library.

Noting the Tradition: Piping Centre launches new project

Noting the Tradition: Capturing the Heritage

Project Officer James Beaton combines the essential skills of professional librarian and skilled piper - and that makes him uniquely suitable for his new role at The Piping Centre.

The Piping Live festival this week was particularly appropriate for the launch of the Piping Centre's new project on Monday 8th August - which aims to capture the stories of the piping community as an oral history for future generations to savour and cherish. 

Not that this is the first time it has been done - various other projects have covered either a wider, more general scope or a smaller sample, such as Tobar an Dualchais, Piper's Persuasion (by Alan Hamilton), or the online magazine Pipes and Drums.

The national Piping Centre Library in Glasgow already has treasures like the recording of piper Angus MacPherson,  who can trace his piping ancestry back to the 18th Century.  Recordings like this will be the jewels in the crown of the new project, which aims to include local schoolchildren and volunteers in garnering the treasured history.

James Beaton is looking forward to embarking on this exciting new project, and is assured of the support of experts in the field, many of whom attended the official launch.

Primary funding is from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Piping Live

the story of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band
14th August, 3.30 pm
Glasgow Film Theatre
(A movie and a party)

Book Festival Scotland


Love books?  Then why not try visiting a book festival?

See what's on in Scotland right now - at the BOOK FESTIVAL SCOTLAND website.

Holiday madness: The Big Audition at PizzaExpress

Well, fame is fame!  Please remember dear old 'Whittaker' when you become famous!

A career launching prize:
You could win £5,000 to help kick-start your career, courtesy of Barclaycard Freedom, and the chance to perform at the legendary PizzaExpress Jazz Club in London.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Friday, 5 August 2011

Tobar an Dualchais

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Royal Musical Association Research Students’ Conference

RMA Research Students’ Conference :
Call for Papers and Works

5–7 January 2012

University of Hull (UK)

  1. Advisory workshops in publishing, postgraduate training, RMA activities and funding.
  2. Roundtable discussion about directions in music research
  3. Sign up for individual CV sessions with established scholars.

    Proposals are invited:-
  • Individual papers / presentations with a live performance element (up to 20', then 10' discussion);
  • Research statements for new postgraduate students to provide an outline of their research topic and preliminary endeavour (up to 10' then 5' of discussion);
  • Compositions (acoustic or electronic) for:- voice (high soprano), piano and/or clarinet (doubling bass clarinet); voice (high soprano) plus live electronics; fixed media (an 8-channel sound diffusion system and range of microphones will be available along with a computer running Pro Tools, Reaper, Ableton Live and Max/MSP).
  • For vocal works, composers may respond to lines of poetry or full poems by Philip Larkin in honour of the poet’s connection with Hull (up to 10', then 20' discussion).
SUBMISSION DEADLINE - abstracts (max 200 words) or scores - Friday 14 October 2011.

All abstracts for papers should describe the topic of the presentation and include: background, research questions, aims, summary of content and significance. For papers incorporating live performance, proposers expected to provide instrumentalists and repertoire.

Composition scores will be accepted in all formats (e.g. graphic, text-based) [note: please ensure that text permissions are obtained if appropriate].

In all cases, supply cover sheet with name, postal and email address, institutional affiliation of proposer; submission type (i.e. individual paper, research statement, composition); AV requirements; special requests for space/equipment.

Please email abstracts and any other queries to the Conference Director, Dr Elaine King (

The conference programme will be released by the beginning of November 2011 and registration forms will be made available at the same time.

Dr Elaine King (RMA RSC 2012 Conference Director)
Senior Lecturer in Music, Department of Drama and Music
University of Hull
Tel: +44 1482 465627

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011

Death of Maggie Gordon, former RSAMD Head of Acting

Maggie Gordon, former Head of Acting and a Director at the Academy, died 30th July 2011, after a short illness. Maggie worked with the Academy from the 1960’s when she first began as a visiting Director, until her retirement in 1983.

In earlier years, Maggie performed in Leo Lehman's production of Chekhov's The Three Sisters in September 1963: see WipedNews database or BFI National Archive listing for details.

John Hannah remembers Maggie teaching him Chekhov at RSAMD when he was a student there.  (See February 2011 interview in the Mail Online.)

Maggie directed Britten's Curlew River at RSAMD in 1994.  Register with The Herald to read the archived review here.

'Whittaker' would be grateful to be advised of any obituary appearing online, so that a link can be posted here.

Edward Argent - Obituary of former RSAMD Head of Drama

Edward Argent, born August 21, 1931
Died July 26, 2011

Obituary in The Herald, but not apparently online.  Paper copy on file in Whittaker Library (Special Collection ML3655.S)

Obituary published in The Scotsman, 1 August 2011.

PhD Talk and other postgrad blogs

Blogs that might be useful to research students -

Poetry: a film starring Yun Jung Hee, reviewed in THE

Poetry: a film starring Yun Jung Hee, reviewed in THE
  • 28 July 2011, Duncan Wu considers how the quiet dignity of a veteran actress creates an impressive drama
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Music therapy aids depression

News streamed from the BBC today.  Would-be music therapists, take note!