Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 30 December 2011

Whittaker's Magic Carpet

Welsh songbook update

‘Whittaker’ is checking out 19th Century Welsh song collections to see how they compare with Scottish and Irish. A magic carpet to Wales would be nice, but this isn’t really feasible. In the absence of the carpet, we’re trying crowdsourcing. If a songbook has paratext, and particularly if it’s early, it must be seen!  Whittaker is very grateful indeed to the Welsh librarians who have offered to help here.  Looking forward to what 2012 will bring!

Three cheers for COPAC, Mendeley and Twitter!
I'm also using PBWorks as a wiki: Crowdsourcing the Celtic Bard.

In terms of what Whittaker has seen/ not seen:-


  • Jones, Edward - Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards, 1794
  • Jones, Edward - The Bardic Museum, 1802
  • Thomson, George (and Haydn) - A Select Collection of Original Welsh Airs, 1809-17
  • Williams, Maria Jane - Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morganwg, 1844
  • Richards, Brinley, The Songs of Wales, 1879 (4th ed)
  • Parry, Joseph et al, Cambrian Minstrelsie, 6 vols, 1893-5

  • Jones, Edward - Hen Ganiadau Cymru = Cambro-British Melodies, 1820
  • Parry, John - Cambrian Harmony, 1809
  • Parry, John - A Selection of Welsh Melodies, 1809 & new ed., 1821/2
  • Parry, John - A Collection of Welsh Airs, 1810
  • Parry, John - A Third Volume of Welsh Melodies, 1829
  • Parry, John - The Welsh Harper, 1839, 1848
  • Thomas, John, Merthyr Tydfil - Y Caniedydd Cymreig =The Cambrian Minstrel, 1845
  • Alaw, Owain (John Owen) - Twelve Popular Welsh National Songs, 1859
  • Thomas, John, Thomas Oliphant and; John Jones, Welsh Melodies, 1860
  • Owen, John (Owain Alaw, Pencerdd) - Gems of Welsh Melody, 2 vols, 1860
  • Hulse, Henry, The beaties of Cambrian Melodies, 1863

Hogmanay: New Year and those New Year's Resolutions

Whittaker is looking for some innovative and feasible resolutions.  Not the 'I'll keep the place tidy and do my ironing daily' kind, please note!

  1. Here's a good one to kick off with: Write every day.  Especially important if you've got a dissertation, project, thesis or book to get on with.  Or if you're a composer.  Lindsey Metcalf found this blogpost, Ten Ways to Write Every Day, by an American professor and author, Tanya Maria Golash-Boza.
  2. Start exercising regularly.  Investigate the local authority's facilities, eg Glasgow Life, if your college doesn't have a gym.  (Beware: Googling 'start an exercise regime' isn't the most effective way to start - unless you're interested in media reports of celebrity workouts!)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

On this day: George Farquhar Graham

On this day, 28th December 1789, Scottish music journalist, historian and arranger George Farquhar Graham was born. Graham (1789-1867) was originally destined for law, but became what we would now call a musicologist instead. At some stage in his early adulthood, he had lessons with Beethoven on the Continent.
G F Graham - Songs of Scotland, 1st ed., 1848

His major accomplishment was the three-volume anthology of Scottish songs he edited for publisher John Muir Wood - The Songs of Scotland adapted to their appropriate melodies. He arranged some of the songs himself, wrote all the commentary, and coordinated the efforts of the other arrangers - Mudie, Surenne, H. E. Dibdin and Edinburgh-based Highlander Finlay Dun.

Popular Songs and Melodies of Scotland, 1908

Because Wood was the publisher, the collection was also known as Wood’s Edition of the Songs of Scotland.

Why is this interesting today? Because the collection was one of the most respected Scottish song anthologies for the next sixty years, meaning that countless households over several generations would have encountered their Scottish heritage in the version presented to them by George Farquhar Graham and John Muir Wood - good, middle-of-the road arrangements, playable by a competent amateur, and bringing together some of the background to each song, as it had accumulated over the previous half-century or more.

The title changed slightly over the years, with the different editions:-

  • 1848-1849 The Songs of Scotland adapted to their appropriate melodies (Mudie, Surenne, H. E. Dibdin, and Dun were also named on title-page). Also known as Wood’s Edition of the Songs of Scotland - see illustration of open copy
  • 1887 Revised as The Popular Songs of Scotland with their appropriate Melodies; with additional airs and notes (J. Muir Wood and Co.);
  • 1908 Revised as The Popular Songs and Melodies of Scotland, with the addition of many airs and notes by J. Muir Wood, notes by Graham and arranged by A. C. Mackenzie [et al] (London: Bayley and Ferguson). ‘The Balmoral Edition’ is the green copy illustrated here.

It only remains to be said - happy 222nd birthday, George! Cheers!

  • Check our holdings in the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland here;
  • Check other libraries' holdings in COPAC here.
  • Click the 'On this day' label below to see other blogposts in this series.
  • 'Charlie is my darling', arranged by G F Graham

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Hogmanay (and Auld Lang Syne)

Auld Lang Syne

Robert Burns can't have realised what he was starting when he wrote 'Should auld acquaintance be forgot' (Auld Lang Syne).

But do you realise just how much has been written about it?!  Staff and students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (and indeed, anyone with a current university connection) can look it up on JSTOR.  The database indexes thousands of scholarly journals, and gives you abstracts summarising content.  Hours of innocent amusement (if you look up Auld Lang Syne), or worthwhile study at other times of year!

You'll need to login to use it.

  • And here's a FREE resource: the World Digital Library.  You can find the original words by Robert Burns here, but you'll have to search cannily.  Search on Auld Langsyne (two words, not three!).  Here's the direct link if you're in a hurry.
  • 'Whittaker' dislikes the modern English translation for which Classic FM has just tweeted the link!  Oh, please!
  • Evidence that 'Auld Lang Syne' still resonates today?  No less than the Wall Street Journal had a piece by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, 'Visiting an Auld Acquaintance', earlier this week (27 December).  There's an Auld Lang Syne exhibition in New York until 2nd February 2012.

Should new-found weblinks be forgot?

If you like a link, why not save it to your social bookmarking Diigo account?  Find it anywhere, whatever online device you're using. 

Hogmanay (and Phil and Aly)

  • Hogmanay wouldn't BE Hogmanay without Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham
  • BBC - Hogmanay Live - play "I-Spy" the RSAMD/ Royal Conservatoire alumni!
  • ABOUT Hogmanay - on Historic
  • Historic Hogmanay on SCRAN (just search Hogmanay)
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland staff and students can get their fill of frothy Viennese musical extravagance via our database page - stream a few waltzes with Naxos or Classical Music Library, or sort out which Strauss is which at OxfordMusicOnline.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Glasgow entertainment


Hogmanay, at Jongleurs, Glasgow - Janey Godley.  Read the Evening Times feature, 26 December 2011, here.

If you can wait until late January/early February 2012, there's the Britannia Panopticon in Trongate.  Read the Evening Times feature, 26 December 2011, here.

You see?  Whittaker doesn't leave you without entertainment between Christmas and Hogmanay!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Whittaker's Winter Holidays

Christmas 2011
 The Royal Conservatoire of Music is closed between Christmas and the New Year.  The Whittaker Library will reopen on Wednesday 4th January 2012.

Library Team Christmas Dinner 2011

Library Ladies Christmas Headgear
Because 'Whittaker' is on holiday, his blogposts may be rather sporadic.  But he can't leave you totally bereft of helpful updates! 


Corff y Gainc: Welsh Folk Melodies

Here is a useful digital archive of folk melodies from old Welsh sources.  It comes from Chris Grooms, who also maintains

Conducting Competition

2012 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition
Competition entry is open now
Online submission only.
Deadline: 16 March 2012
The Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition, created by Donatella Flick in 1990, aims to help a young conductor establish an international conducting career.
The winner of the competition is offered, in addition to an award of £15,000, the opportunity to become Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for up to one year.

The next competition will be held in London on 28–30 September 2012, and is open to conductors under the age of 35 who are citizens of the 27 countries having full membership of the European Union.

Find out more here

NB This competition will also be listed on Whittaker's Awards, Grants, Prizes page.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Watson's Wind-Up Christmas Cracker

A Play, a Pie and a Pint

Watson’s Wind-Up Xmas Cracker at Oran Mor - 20th/21st/22nd/23rd Dec, get your tickets now!

If you'd like to follow the Oran Mor 'A Play, a Pie and a Pint' series on Twitter, you'll find them at PlayPiePint. Easy.

Christmas Greetings across the years

From the National Archives:-

Talking of digital, do you know what a manicula is?

I recognised it as soon as I saw it!  But as a musicologist, no-one ever told me what these little scribbles actually were.  St Andrews' Rare Books department explains all, in their latest Echoes from the Vault blogpost.  Most informative!

If you think you might ever, ever, remotely want to examine a mediaeval manuscript or book ... well, you never know.

Digital Researcher

ANYONE doing research can harness the power of the web, so you too can be a digital researcher!

Monday 20th February 2012

Our helpful allies at Vitae are promoting a Digital Researcher event with the British Library.  Find out more here.

Picture borrowed from the Vitae website to help promote this event.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

PhD2Published - getting that first book published

Here's a useful website, if you're looking to getting a book published:-

Join the community of scholarly authors!

Short folkloristic Christmas film from Sweden


Sent to 'Whittaker' by Pia Shekter, Secretary General of the International Association of Music Libraries.  Enjoy! 

Here comes a folkloristic Christmas Greeting from Sweden! This film is sent every Christmas Eve on Swedish television since many years.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Crowdsourcing the Celtic Bard - sourcing digital copies of Welsh collections

Crowdsourcing the Celtic Bard

PROJECT INTRODUCTION: We are examining late 18th and 19th century Welsh songbooks to see what their prefaces etc tell us about their cultural background.  In literary terms, all the introductory matter is called the paratext.  So, we're looking for minstrels, bards, harps and other symbols of a Celtic Welsh past; also for metaphors which give away clues about what mattered to the compilers of these songbooks, and the audiences they were intended for.

PROJECT LEADER: Dr Karen McAulay, Music & Academic Services Librarian at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

PROJECT MEMBERS: currently, we're a handful of librarians, but interested literary scholars and librarians would be very welcome to join us.

There are also two Tiki-toki timelines:-

Help is needed locating digital copies please.  Some are on Internet Archive (see the wiki resource bar), but others remain to be found.

Obituary: Gill Clarke, pioneering dancer

Gill Clarke, born 9th December 1954; died 15th November 2011

Read the obituary by Roanne Dods in yesterday's Herald newspaper, Friday 16th December.

Gill was the co-founder of Dance UK and Independent Dance.


Friday, 16 December 2011

Looking ahead: Celtic Connections

A new diary for Christmas?  Get planning!

When you get your new diary, you'll want some dates to put in it. 

On this day: Beethoven anniversary too!

16th December, 1770: Happy Birthday Beethoven

The Royal Opera House reminds us today is a significant day!

Born on this day in 1770. To celebrate, a clip of his only opera - Fidelio

Twitter handle: RoyalOperaHouse

Panto at Strathclyde University Archives

Hot from the Twittersphere ... Strathclyde University Archives () brings you:-

Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it is! It's our new panto themed item of the month.

Writing for publication

There's a new post on Patter (Pat Thomson's blog) which might interest anyone with the urge to go into print ...

Writing for publication – it’s just a matter of meeting the conventions of a journal, right?

by pat thomson

Jazz: Stan Kenton Centenary

On this day ... (well, yesterday)

Stan Kenton Centenary (15th December 2011)

The University of North Texas has created a digital exhibit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Stan Kenton's birth, which was yesterday - December 15th.  

Please enjoy and feel free to pass along to anyone who might be interested.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Vitae - Briefing for Researcher Developers

Might (should!) be interesting to anyone supervising research:-

The Engaging Researcher

The Engaging Researcher

Subtitled, 'Inspiring people to engage with your research', what could be more relevant to the committed researcher?

Followers of Whittaker Live may remember the original call for stories to go into this booklet, back in Spring 2010.

Always well-written, succinct, and the size you can read in a coffee-break - copies available from Karen for research staff and doctoral students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

If you can't be dragged away from your keyboard, visit for a cyber version.

(But Karen recommends the coffee-break way!  Breaks are good for you, and how else can you engage with your public?)

Friday, 9 December 2011

National Libraries Day February 4th 2012 - Save the Date!

Follow this link (coming soon):-

"Whittaker" wants to celebrate.  What do you think?  Library cake, anyone? Other ideas for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's library?

In Mozart's words: new website makes Mozart's letters available online

In Mozart’s Words provides multilingual access to an annotated version of the voluminous correspondence of Mozart and his family - approximately 1,400 letters - that will progressively be made available online on this website. The website offers i) a univocal database of all references to people, places and musical works contained in the letters, facilitating the systematic search of all cited occurrences, and ii) access to background materials such as reviews, newspapers, documents, objects, paintings, engravings, and books as a corollary to the historical-critical annotations.
  • Academic direction and notes: Cliff Eisen, King's College, London
  • Mozart's works scores: Neue Mozart-Ausgabe Online Website 
  • Full credits, translators etc - click here.

Pathways to the Profession: Scottish Dance Theatre Symposium

Pathways to the Profession Symposium
West Park, Dundee.  19th-20th January, 2012 

Royal Conservatoire Research Lecturer Anna Birch is Documentation Advisor for this industry changing Symposium!
ln January 2012, Scottish Dance Theatre and partners host the Pathways to the Profession Symposium which will explore the issues inhibiting the inclusion of physically and sensory disabled people in the performing arts.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Showcasing Digital Theatre Plus

"The best seat in the house is the one you're sitting in."

  • The best of live theatre
  • Documentaries
  • Interviews

Take a look at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's latest online subscription.  Actually, since the Digital Theatre Plus team are experts in "putting it across", let's see how they describe it themselves:-
" ... a team of theatre makers committed to using new media to enhance the theatre watching experience.  In partnership with some of the UK's leading theatre organisations ... put the audience at the heart of all their work ... 
"... pioneering a new way of capturing live performance on film. By using multi angle HD cameras they're able to pick up the intimacy of a play and the story that unfolds on stage and share it with audiences - wherever they are.

"hugely beneficial to tuning a younger audience into the excitement of theatre. By presenting plays online and complementing them with related documentaries and interviews, Digital Theatre and Digital Theatre Plus are offering access to people, places, productions and a new way of experiencing theatre.

"Creating a relationship with audiences is vital and as new technology moves further and further towards a culture of complete interaction theatre makers are able to push boundaries and explore a shared experience between performer and audience in both a real and virtual space.

Registered  Royal Conservatoire staff and students can contact the Whittaker Library for details of username and password.  Ask next time you're in, or email us using your Conservatoire email account.

GSA (Glasgow School of Art) Video Archive

GSA Video Archive  - 6,500 views since May 2011 launch!

  • 84 videos of public lectures and events
  • Wide variety - organised by The Glasgow Urban Lab, Architecture Friday Lectures, Fine Art Friday Events, Exhibitions talks and events, and more!
  • Entire series of Architecture Friday Lectures from 2010-11
  • Various Friday Event lectures dating from 2006-11
    The GSA Video Archive was launched in May 2011 - and is now available via the Glasgow School of Art website. Here's the  It will also soon become available on GSA’s Vimeo account (over the next few months, with the help of Lyn McLaughlin), where you can browse by subject categories – using channels on Art, Architecture, Design, FoCI, Research, etc:
'... including notable talks by architect Steven Holl, artist and kinetic sculptor Susumu Shingu, designer Ben Kelly, artist and GSA graduate Christine Borland, artist and GSA graduate Roddy Buchanan, Urban Lab lecturer Graeme Evans, artist Martha Rosler, and more! There are two talks each featuring our own Roger Wilson and Thomas Joshua Cooper, a fantastic research presentation by Alistair MacDonald, and two talks by recent UK Fullbright Distinguished Chair Ann Markusen.'

12 Days of Christmas, Advent 'Calendars' and Santa Claus

In the spirit of Christmas, I offer these links to all followers of Whittaker Live!


'You'll lower my chances of winning!', my colleagues protest.  But they don't mind really!

Lost for words?

Where can you find the words to thousands of songs and poems?

A useful free database, The Lied, Art Song and Choral Texts Archive contains the words of thousands of songs. 

Take the Romantic Scottish poet, Allan Cunningham, for example.  (Well, today's his birthday, so it's a good day to focus on him!) 

Allan Cunningham (1784-1842) was a bit of a prankster, to be honest. He invented some Borders songs for Cromek's collection called Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song.  (He admitted this to close friends.)  And he was thought to have done the same for his own larger collection, Songs of Scotland, Ancient and Modern.  (This is a collection of poetry, not music.)  Plenty of composers have drawn upon his lyrics, all the same.  As you'll see in The Lied, Art Song and Choral Texts Archive.  Here's his page.

Looking for Scottish verse? Allan Cunningham might not be quite what you're looking for, but you can find plenty of source-material at the Scottish Poetry Library.  Here's their catalogue.  Learn a poem, or set one to music. 

  • If you're using a poem as lyrics, do remember to check if the poet is still in copyright.  Poets have feelings (and rights!), but they'll be flattered to be asked ...  
NB this post is one of Whittaker Live's 'On this day' series about Scotland's song history.

    Monday, 5 December 2011

    Showcasing SCRAN (Scotland's history at the click of a mouse)

    Have you visited the Whittaker Library and Information Services website, at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland?

    We offer much more than printed and audiovisual materials!  Staff and students of the Royal Conservatoire can access quality electronic resources through our website.  Our digital offerings include various useful databases.  Sometimes they're useful in more ways than you'd imagine.

    Take SCRAN, for example.  Scottish materials of all sorts, including images, pages of old books and music, portraits ...
    • BA in Scottish Music students might find useful source materials, or even images for back-projecting during a performance
    • Costume and theatre designers will find masses of illustrations of fashions and every aspect of contemporary life in any historic period
    • Surprise yourself - try an old cake recipe, or cook a Christmas pudding as your great-grandmother would have done!
    • You can even pull out stuff on a particular theme, such as Christmas, or war.  A particularly poignant one is a photo of soldiers celebrating Christmas in the trenches, Western Front, during World War I. Here's part of the caption:-
    This photograph shows a dozen men sitting in the mud in a trench celebrating Christmas. They have laid some white paper on a crate and set out some slices of cake, a tinned pudding, a packet of raisins and what looks like an orange. These may have been in a food parcel from home, shared by a group of friends.

    The photograph's original caption reads, 'Tommy's Xmas on the West.' There is a poignancy about these men celebrating Christmas, the Christian festival for the birth of Christ and 'peace and goodwill to all men', while behind them there is a crude wooden cross over the grave of a dead soldier.

    Direct access from within Royal Conservatoire premises.  Institutional access from outside.  (Identify us from a list then use your Royal Conservatoire staff or student ID and password.)

    Images can be used educationally, but we're not permitted to put them on a publicly accessible website. So the Christmas pud is from Creative Commons, not Scran! 

    Scottish Poetry Library - Poetry Issues

    Latest issue is out now (December 2011)

    "New Poetry Titles, including a stunning new translation from Simon Armitage, the 20th Century in Poetry, and Douglas Dunn’s new pamphlet
    Recommended titles for Burns Night and Scots Weeks projects and queries ...
    … and a brand new free Handbook to download on easy ways to approach discussing poetry."
    Scottish Poetry Library homepage

    Tales of Christmas Past

    Are you in Edinburgh on 17th December?

    43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR

    "How was Christmas celebrated in days gone by? Time to reflect on the joy and good tidings Christmas can bring with storytellers Heather Yule and Janis Mackay. Yuletide tales from Scotland conjure up the Christmas spirit, in story, music and song. There is a rich and varied story culture in Scotland associated with the birth of Christ and the winter’s solstice, so come and join us, away from the commercial face of Christmas, to celebrate."

    Engaging communities: Reflections on a creative Scotland

    Engaging communities

    The latest post by Andrew Dixon for Creative Scotland.

    Sunday, 4 December 2011

    Audition for Olympic Ceremonies!

    Dancers, Musical Theatre students ...look!
    Stadium? Check.  Staff? Pending!

    Still time to audition.  Worth following up?

    Useful link (not just dancers!): Job Opportunities 2012

    Friday, 2 December 2011

    Beyond Macbeth: Shakespeare in Scottish collections

    National Library of Scotland exhibition

    Over 400 years, the National Library of Scotland and Edinburgh University Library have acquired world-class collections of plays by William Shakespeare. These shed light on the ways in which Shakespeare's works have been read, collected, adapted and circulated in the centuries since they first appeared in print.

    Beyond Macbeth: Shakespeare in Scottish Collections, is the new exhibition running at NLS from 9 December to 29 April which looks at these collections through the lives and activities of those who helped to bring them together, from the Scottish poet William Drummond to the editor and critic John Dover Wilson. It asks what Shakespeare - valued and championed in so many different ways in the past - means in Scotland today.

    See iconic Shakespearean treasures including a copy of the First Folio (the first collected edition), and some of the first published versions of his plays


    E-portfolios at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

    The Conservatoire made it into the JISC RSC Scotland* Newsfeed for its work with e-portfolios! The Interviewer talked to Aaron Shorr, Head of Keyboard and Collaborative Piano Studies, Andy Dougan, Lecturer in Digital Film and TV,  Silviya Mihaylova, Keyboard and Collaborative Piano Studies student, Alicia Shaw, Digital Film and TV student

    * JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland

    Lasair Award - Irish Film and TV Network

    Film and TV students! Look here - an award!
    Be quick ...deadline extended.

    Filmbase and TG4 have announced that the deadline for the Lasair award scheme has been extended until the 27th January 2012. Filmbase and TG4 are also organising an information session for filmmakers interested in applying to the Lasair short film award scheme. Lasair, now in its 5th round, is Filmbase and TG4’s scheme for supporting filmmakers to produce short films in the Irish language.
    Full details here

    Mention of the Irish language suggests that you might need to find Irish collaborators ...?

    This will be added to Whittaker Live's Awards, Grants, Prizes page

    Thursday, 1 December 2011

    Crowdsourcing the Celtic bard

    Subsequent to my "appearance" at the IAML 2011 Conference in Dublin, I've been asked to speak at IAML (UK and Irl) Annual Study Weekend in 2012, and my talk will hopefully have a Welsh flavour. (Any jokers about Welsh rarebit can stop right there, thanks!)

    I'd like to combine the Welsh song aspect with a social networking idea that I've been contemplating. I've put together a Tiki-Toki presentation to explain what I mean.

    If there are any librarians or Celtic song scholars who think they might be able to help, or would like to join in, then the prime requirement is to be able to access some of the early Welsh songbooks that I'm interested in. I'm putting together a Mendeley list which I'll be happy to share in the next few days.

    Many thanks - I look forward to hearing from you!
    Dr Karen McAulay
    Royal Conservatoire of Scotland