Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

On this day ... 16th November 1780

What is folk music?  Is it really music "of the folk"?  Which folk?  Country folk? (See Bibliolore's blogpost today about Charles Seeger and folkness.)

Okay, what about music written by someone, published as "trad", and then becoming part of the oral tradition?

What about someone having a laugh at his compatriots expense?  (Just a bit of mischief, you might say.)  What kind of words would you use to promote your "national" collection?

Today is the birthday of Robert Archibald Smith, compiler of six books called The Scotish Minstrel (yes, the spelling is right) and a smaller Irish Minstrel (which got him into copyright trouble with the Irish songsmith Thomas Moore).

R. A. Smith, 16th Nov,1780 - 3rd Jan, 1829

He was born a Scottish weaver's son in London, came back to Scotland and abandoned the weaving trade to become an organist and music teacher first in Paisley and later in Edinburgh.

Much, much more could be said about his use of metaphors to characterise his collection and place it historically. (But maybe not on this blog posting! Visit our Minstrels and Metaphors page.)  Ask to see his Scotish Minstrel - the Whittaker Library has a couple of volumes.  University Library and national collections have lots more.

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