Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Monday, 30 April 2012

True imaginary friends: a history of Scottish song collectors

The story of a book: Karen's blog, True Imaginary Friends.

What happens when you get a book contract?  Here's one woman's story.  (Of course, our stories are all different.  What's yours?)

Composer Wanted


Poet Donald Campbell seeks Composer

Poet and playwright Donald Campbell, best known for his many plays, including The Jesuit and The Widows of Clyth, is looking for a composer to work with him on his new project.
This project is an English translation of the classic Gaelic poem, The Birlinn of Clanranald by Alasdair McMhaister. More info ...
Come on, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland composers - anyone ready to seize this opportunity?

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Musica Scotica

'Whittaker' attended the Musica Scotica conference yesterday, and very good it was, too.

Some of Kenneth Elliott's output
Musica Scotica is a trust promoting and publishing Scottish music.  The conference explores all aspects of Scottish music, old and new.  For example, Kirsteen McCue and David Hamilton performed a tribute recital of old Scots songs, transcribed and arranged by Kenneth Elliott, the Glasgow musicologist who founded Musica Scotica and died recently. 

Kenneth Elliott (from Scotsman obituary)
Sally Beamish - British Council website
There was also a fascinating conversation with contemporary Scottish composer Sally Beamish - and a whole host of papers, mostly in parallel sessions, covering Scottish music from every angle and period.

If you weren't there, you missed a treat.  But there will always be next year!  Keep a look-out for it.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Do you use social bookmarking?

Diigo and Delicious are just two ways of saving your favourite websites "in the cloud" - in other words, save them on the web so you can access them anywhere, any time, on any web-enabled device.

See how 'Whittaker' (oh, okay, Karen McAulay) uses it to store useful websites that might come in handy at a later date.  Just scroll down this page to find the block of Diigo links.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Historic bagpipe recordings: Piper's heaven

At the request of course leader Josh Dickson, eight new piping CDs were obtained from The Bagpipe Library at The Bagpipe Place.  These allow students to listen to historic early recordings.  (See the list here ...)

Have you encountered The Bagpipe Place yet?  If you're curious, why not visit the website?

   Which leads you to:

The Bagpipe Store,
The Bagpipe Museum,
The Bagpipe School, and
The Bagpipe Library.

To a piper, this must surely be somewhere near heaven!

How's your social networking?

'Whittaker' has just had lunch with the Thesis Whisperer, aka Inger Mewburn of RMIT University, Melbourne.  Having tweeted and emailed, and provided a few blogposts about the library side of research for Inger's The Thesis Whisperer research support blog, it was fantastic to have the opportunity to meet up in real life.  (I did my bit for Scotland - Inger now knows what haggis tastes like!)

Apart from having the opportunity to discuss research matters, it was great just to have the chance to network.  The remarkable thing, though, is that twenty years ago we wouldn't have even known each other existed. 

Oh, and I've offered to write another blogpost - on crowdsourcing.  When I've posted the book manuscript and written up my IAML(UK and Ireland) paper, I shall get started on that.  Watch this space!

Singing workshop with Karine Polwart

Karine Polwart at Kirriemuir ...

This Saturday, 28th April 2012:

THE next weekend singing workshop organised by Angus Folk will be with Karine Polwart on Saturday, May 26 in The Guide Hall, The Roods, Kirriemuir.  More info ...
Karine Polwart website

The Most Incredible Thing

The most incredible thing is that the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland HAS the CD of the Pet Shop Boys ballet, The Most Incredible Thing (score by Tennant/Lowe).

Hope you're impressed!  Find it here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

What's new in the Library?

Acquired recently
This rarity needed rebinding!
Just a wee hint!  Find out what's just been added to the Whittaker Library catalogue by clicking this link.  (Whether it's new, or a donation, it all gets catalogued sooner or later!)

Short courses at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Planning for the summer holidays?

Come and enjoy a short course led by our expert team at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  More info here ...

Piano I (30 July – 3 August: 5 days)

Piano  II (6-10 August - 5 days)

£450/£850 for both

Fali Pavri, Aaron Shorr and a team of guest artists including our International Fellow in Piano Steven Osborne.


Jazz Performer (30 July – 3 August :5 days) /£450

Tommy Smith, Alyn Cosker, Tom MacNiven, Paul Harrison, Chris Grieve, Mario Caribe and Kevin MacKenzie


Chamber Ensemble (6-10 August : 5days) /£450 per trio, £600 per quartet and £100 per performer thereafter.

Robert Irvine, Jacqueline Shave and Jane Atkins


Classical Singing

(20-25 August : 6 days) /£495

Stephen Robertson with guest teachers Timothy Dean, Professor Christopher Underwood, Helen Lawson, Mark Hathaway and guest artists Judith Howarth (soprano) Clare Shearer (mezzo-soprano) Iain Paton (tenor) and Julian Tovey  (baritone)

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Lucy In New Orleans

Lucy Robertson, Performance Librarian
Our Performance Librarian, bassist Lucy Robertson, is heading over to New Orleans for an orchestral librarians' conference in May.  Naturally, she'll be blogging her Letters from America.  Bookmark this page:-

Here's the website for MOLA (Major Orchestra Librarians' Association)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Centre for Research in New Music, University of Huddersfield

University of Huddersfield
There's plenty of new and exciting stuff going on at the Centre for Research in New Music, in the University of Huddersfield.

Why not take a look?  The Whittaker Library plans to obtain the Huddersfield new music recordings in the near future.

And a professorship vacancy at Bath Spa University

More info here...

Performance research fellowships

AHRC funding for post-doctoral fellowships into musical performance.  More here...

Whittaker's pics

Whilst in Cardiff, 'Whittaker' visited Ty Cerdd, the Welsh music information centre, in the Wales Millenium Centre.  (Did you expect holiday snaps?  Oh, fie!)

And of course, collected one of 14 Excellence Awards on behalf of the Whittaker Library - all very exciting!  Here's a quick picture to tide us over until we have the certificate framed and displayed.
Returning to the reality of daily life in the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Whittaker discovered that inanimate objects can now speak.  The plants had 'I am not thirsty' notes attached, and one of the books had decided that retirement was long overdue.  It's nowhere near 67 yet, but it really looks past its best, so we can understand its self-promotion to the 'Library in the sky'.

If you're curious what Karen was talking about, down in Cardiff,  do take a look at her powerpoint presentation on Crowdsourcing the Celtic Bard.  Not content with her researches into the Scotish Minstrel (sic!), she now knows a fair bit about his Welsh cousins ...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Scottish minstrels and Welsh bards - 'Whittaker' went to Cardiff

Scottish minstrels and Welsh bards

'Whittaker' (Oh, okay - Karen McAulay) has just returned from Cardiff where UK and Irish music librarians held the IAML(UK and Ireland) Annual Study Weekend this year.

Edward Jones's collection
Having done a PhD on Scottish song-collecting c.1760-1888, it came as a bit of a surprise to find myself writing a paper on Welsh bards.  (Not just collecting the repertoire, but the bards themselves.  Oral repertoire is that much harder to pin down, as we all know.)  Scroll down to find the link to my Diigo Welsh music favourites.  Social bookmarking is the way to go, in this Web 2.0 age.  I love it.  I add relevant tags and pull things together into lists that I can share - it's a brilliant idea.

Diigo list - Welsh music links

As promised to the delegates - and IAML (UK and Ireland) members who weren't able to attend - here's the link to my PowerPoint. 

NB   I'm afraid there is no written 'script', but I hope to write up my talk for publication in Brio in due course.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Welsh music - a selection of useful links to the music of our Celtic cousins

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

Easter arrangements

Whittaker Library
at the
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Easter closing:

We close at 3 pm on Friday 6 April.
Re-open at 9 am onTuesday 10 April 
  • Drama Librarian Alan Jones has been on vacation this week, but is back on Tuesday 10 April.
  • Music and Academic Services Librarian Karen McAulay is on vacation from Tuesday 10 -Thurs 12 April, and attending the IAML(UK and Irl) Annual Study Weekend from Friday 13 to Mon 14 April. 
  • Whittaker Library colleagues will help any way they can whilst their colleagues are away.   Phone and email contact details available on the library webpage.
Karen will represent the Library when she receives our Excellence Award at the Annual Study Weekend.  She's also looking forward to delivering a paper entitled 'Crowdsourcing the Celtic Bard' - revealing an intriguing mix of ancient sources and modern technology!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Sennheiser Masters of Sound

Deadline 9 April.  Any musicians or budding sound-engineers interested in this?

It’s still not too late for students to enter into the Sennheiser Masters of Sound collaboration.  Entry remains open until 9th April for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a track with one of Britain’s biggest artists, Labrinth. Don’t miss your chance. Get involved today

Mishnish Music Festival Mull (27-29 April)

Open competitions - and new Band Competitions.  Contact before 26 April 2012.  As advertised in Box and Fiddle magazine.

Red Note calls for Scores

Here's an opportunity for our composers! Click on the link for more info.  Quoting from the Red Note website ...
28 May @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Composers from anywhere are invited to submit scores and materials for performance at this event with the following stipulations:

  1. *The ensemble will be Violin, Cello and freebass Accordion. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding how to notate for any of these instruments.
  2. *No scordatura (re-tuning of the strings) is allowed.

* All of the music must be written in pop music’s favourite time signature - 4/4 - throughout.

  1. *Preference will be given to submissions supplied with a backing track, in true pop style.
  2. *The backing track should be 2 channels: Left channel click track (for in-ear headphones for the players), Right channel mono audio (for front-of-house playback), in mp3 format (192 kbps or higher preferred)
  3. *The maximum length of all submissions is 5 minutes.
  4. *All materials (score and parts at time of submission, please) supplied in pdf format (with a download link for click track audio if necessary via e.g. dropbox) by 5pm on Monday 14th May to john (at)
  5. *Late submissions will not be considered.

Broadcast: The Royal Conservatoire uncovered

Have you visited Broadcast yet? 

Audio and video recordings streamed for you to enjoy.  See what our talented staff and students have been up to recently!

Plugging Plug

23-27 April

 Ah, Spring.  Time for Plug, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's contemporary music festival. With 50-odd up-and-coming composers involved, not to mention staff composers Alistair Macdonald and Gordon McPherson, it's going to be quite a week.

Plug, the festival - more info here.

Featuring, amongst many others:-
A must - Macdonald's birthday bash!
'Whittaker' is hopeful that the Library will be able to collect and promote compositions by the individuals involved in Plug, so watch this space.  If we attract anything that might tickle your fancy, we'll let you know, and we'll certainly add it to the library catalogue!

Retro Dundee blogpost about Gordon McPherson - read it here.
A rare early photo of McPherson

Monday, 2 April 2012

National Archives online community

Interested in archives?

Did you know you can join the nationwide discussion community just started by National Archives?

Norwegian archival recordings for Easter

Anyone with a liking for historical recordings - audible bumps, scratches and all - may enjoy this offering from the archivists at the Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound:-
'The Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound (NIRS) follows up the great feedback we got over the last few years for our musical Advent Calendar with more old, old… old  recordings, for the second edition of our Easter Musical Calendar!

Every day from Palm Sunday until Easter Monday. we will present a vintage recording from 1942 (!), with its original historical noises, where legendary singers and musicians interpret St Matthew’s Passion.

Do you wish to receive a daily reminder with the day’s link(s)? – just answer this email! and/or you can also “like” our Facebook page and thereby get notifications from there.'

How to join a traditional Irish Music Session (by Felicity)

A blogpost by a professional Irish writer who lives in Bermondsey ... read Felicity's blog here.

IUGTE Theatre Conference Call 17-21 December, Austria

'Whittaker' received a call for papers from IUGTE, the International University Global Theatre Experience.  Our thespians might find this of interest:-
"Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
December 17 - 21
Retzhof Castle - Retzhof Educational Institute
Leitring bei Leibnitz, Austria!

"Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity" is the professional conference researching the Bridge between Tradition and Contemporaneity in performing arts.

[This is an invitation to] professionals working in the field of music - musicians, composers, singers, music researchers, journalists and critics, music educators and teachers, music producers and promoters from all over the world interested in the research of traditional methods as applied to contemporary performing arts work.  
'... great opportunity to meet potential collaborators and partners - producers, theatre managers, theatre directors, choreographers, talent managers, arts agents, festival organizers and arts publishers from different countries. 

You are welcome to take part in the conference as a Speaker, Presenter, Participant, Observer! 
At the moment the conference is accepting presentation proposals in any format, eg practical workshop/master class, work in progress, performance fragment not requiring special technical conditions, reading/lecture.

The presentation proposal should be sent to For conditions and requirements, please refer to the Conference web page and registration conditions:

This will be added to Whittaker Live's Call for Papers listing, where you'll find other conference opportunities.