Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Anyone for tennis?

The closest we get is The Inner Game of Tennis. Applicable also to performing arts, you see! Or can you find anything else tennis-related?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

From Jordanhill to Cowcaddens with love

First there was the Normal School in Cowcaddens, for trainee teachers.

Then it moved to Jordanhill campus.  "Whittaker's" late mother-in-law was amongst the first intake to the new college.  (She played the piano for Royal Scottish Country Dance Society matriarch, Miss Jean Milligan, who was on the Jordanhill staff.)

Image from
Jordanhill College subsequently became the Jordanhill campus of the University of Strathclyde.  However, the campus now lies empty. 

Image from ("We are moving!")

Earlier this week, "Whittaker" was offered some choral materials left behind in the library there.  We couldn't take them all, but we've offered a good home to some Scottish choral song arrangements.  Check our catalogue here.

So, although these scores haven't made the round trip, the wheel has in some senses turned full circle.  From Cowcaddens to Jordanhill and back.  And Miss Peggy Fyfe from Maryhill, who married in Newcastle to become Mrs Margaret McAulay, is succeeded by another Mrs (Dr) McAulay back in Glasgow, working in what was the Athenaeum (Peggy's Uncle John's favourite haunt), and cataloguing scores from what was Jordanhill College.  It's a small world.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Trad on the Tyne

Traditional music festival, Haddington

Haddington, 31 Aug - 2 Sept 2012

Find out more here.

"The headline event at this year’s Trad on the Tyne festival in Haddington (31 August-2 September) is to be ‘Steele the Show’, the outstanding tribute concert to the late, great Prestonpans singer and songwriter Davy Steele, who died in 2001."

Revival and inspiration for academics?

Missenden Centre

"Over 25 years we have built a reputation for offering small groups of academic and support staff the opportunity to address current concerns. Now we have responded to our participants’ enthusiasm by adding an ambitious and exciting new concept to our programme: the Missenden Masterclasses. This offers enterprising universities the opportunity of promoting their commitment to academic staff with the most promising research ideas, by providing an opportunity to gain insights into research funding and converting their idea into a fundable bid."  Read the rest on the Missenden Centre website. tells you about contributing to an academic journal

New blogpost from the helpful folk at

Academic writing: contributing to a journal

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland releases CDs

Our new CDs!

In less than a year, we've released four CDs under our new name, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  Click here for details.

Social Media for Organisations

Not performing arts-specific, but this might be interesting within our community:-

UKeiG (United Kingdom einformation Group) course:-

Social Media for Organisations: Getting the Basics Right. Megan Roberts and Ned Potter

More here.

Inspiring Communities: The Happy Lands

Andrew Dixon's latest blogpost from Creative Scotland.

The Happy Lands is a community film project in Fife.  Read the blogpost here.

Shakespeare Unlocked

New series on the BBC -

Shakespeare Unlocked

More details on the BBC website:-

"About the Season

Shakespeare Unlocked, part of the BBC's contribution to the London 2012 Festival, is a season exploring how one man captured so much about what it means to be human.
The BBC has teamed up with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the British Museum for the World Shakespeare Festival to celebrate Shakespeare's life and work."

Shakespeare Goes Digital

For just over £1, you can get a Kindle download containing the Whole of Shakespeare's output!
Here's the Amazon link.

For £9.99, you can get an iPad app from Faber/Touchpress which offers all of his sonnets, read to you by an 'all-star cast' - including David Tennant, amongst others.  This was reviewed in the Sunday Times (24.6.12) - though we can't show you the review online without subscribing to the magazine!  Here's the Touchpress link, anyway:-

Monday, 25 June 2012

Greentrax Songwriting Competition

Find out more here.  (So exciting - Whittaker is itching to get back to 'his' piano this evening to see if the muse is anywhere around Govan ...)

On this day ... John Muir Wood

On this day, 25 June, 1892

John Muir Wood died in Cove, 120 years ago today.  Very few people have heard of him nowadays, but he was a big name in the late 19th century.  He and his brother were music publishers – one ran the Edinburgh branch, and the other the Glasgow one. John Muir Wood also contributed to Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

1st edition
Last edition

John Muir Wood published several editions of the popular collection, Songs of Scotland, initially in collaboration with George Farquhar Graham.  Graham made some of the arrangements, and wrote the preface and notes on each song.  He, too, was a scholar and writer, responsible in his earlier days for the music article in the 7th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica.  
  • The Songs of Scotland adapted to their appropriate melodies (also known as Wood’s Edition of the Songs of Scotland), 1848-9; 
  • Revised as The Popular Songs of Scotland with their appropriate Melodies; with additional airs and notes (J. Muir Wood and Co, 1885-7) – spine title was The Popular Songs and Melodies of Scotland; 
  •  Revised with the addition of many airs and notes by J. Muir Wood, original notes by Graham; and now arranged by A. C. Mackenzie [et al] (London: Bayley and Ferguson, 1908)
It was a comprehensive collection, in 3 volumes - or sometimes bound as one - with authoritative notes, and piano accompaniments within the capabilities of a competent amateur.  If only because this was one of the most popular Scottish songbooks of its day, John Muir Wood deserves this mention. 

One of Whittaker's 'On this day' series of postings.  You can search 'On this day' for more of the same!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Tony McManus - As High as the Wild Geese Fly

The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was today pleased to accept a copy of Tony's CD, As High As the Wild Geese Fly.  (Library catalogue details here.)

The CD contains highlights of Tony's recordings up till 2001.  Tony died in 2002.

NB this is NOT the Tony McManus who records with Greentrax.

Live Music Exchange

News of an Edinburgh live music initiative - the Live Music Exchange.

Adam Behr is a research associate at the University of Edinburgh on a knowledge exchange project concerned with live music:

It's a free resource, and a key part of Edinburgh's knowledge exchange activities:-

  • Web hub links topical discussion with a growing, searchable archive of resources (reports, articles, conference papers and bibliographical information).
  • Useful to students, teachers and researchers concerned with all aspects of live music. 
  • Resource section links to academic articles and the full content of some papers which aren't available elsewhere;
  • Also links to practical guides for musicians, students and promoters;
  • Reports on legislation and economic trends.
  • Audio-visual material, eg interviews with key promoters and conference panels.
More about

"The blog is carefully edited and curated to combine a range of voices with a degree of provenance not always found on informal websites, allowing for accessibility and currency.
"Contributors to date include leading figures in the field of popular music studies such as Simon Frith (Tovey Professor of Music at Edinburgh University and Chair of the Mercury Prize), Martin Cloonan and Dave Laing as well as academics in other fields writing about where their work intersects with musical concerns.
"Relevant non-academic writers also feature, such as the Assistant General Secretary to the Musicians' Union (Horace Trubridge) and live music campaigner Hamish Birchall."

 Any questions can be directed to Dr Adam Behr (

Dr.Adam Behr, Knowledge Exchange Research Associate
University of Edinburgh
Music: Alison House, 12 Nicolson Square
Edinburgh  EH8 9DF
Scotland, U.K
Twitter: @LMExchange
Facebook: LiveMusicExchange

The Hill Bow (one for the string-players)

Have you heard of 'The Hill Bow'?  (That's bow as in violin, not bow to your audience ...)

Hill Bow, from

Today, Bibliolore blog tells the story of Hill's famous bow-makers.  Read it here ...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

What goes around, comes around

Choral training: Whittaker and Kodaly

From Glasgow University website
Image from

It's well-known that the Whittaker Library is named after one of our early Principals, William Gillies Whittaker.  (That explains the name of this blog, too: Whittaker Live.)

How nice to think that after all these years, Whittaker's editions of folk song sight singing books should again be requested for choral use.  Well done, Professor Whittaker!  (We've actually got a lot of his editions, not just in the choral collection.  Take a look here ...)

Whittaker's choral training books are being used alongside the better-known Zoltan Kodaly materials. 

National Theatre of Scotland has a Gaelic Associate Artist

Neatly combining the interests of our BA Scottish Music and BA Drama students, did you know that National Theatre of Scotland has a Gaelic Associate Artist?

Image from Fiona's homepage
Fiona J. Mackenzie is a highly esteemed Gaelic singer.  Read more about her latest appointment here.

Monday 25th June.  Those lovely, kind people at Greentrax have just sent the Whittaker Library a copy of Fiona's latest CD, Archipelago!  It'll be catalogued and added to stock tomorrow - how fortuitous.  (Don't you love these happy coincidences?)

Fiona's earlier Greentrax albums?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Andrew Dixon - Technophonia blog, about Oliver Searle

Andrew Dixon runs the esteemed and influential Creative Scotland blog.

Today's posting is about Technophonia.  It begins as follows - you'll have to read his posting to see the whole thing!
"Last week I got the chance to see one of the four Scottish compositions commissioned as part of New Music 20×12.

Composer Oliver Searle, together with Drake Music and the Edinburgh Music School, premiered Technophonia at Edinburgh’s Queens Hall. The concert was world class and it was inspirational in many ways. The young musicians performed Searle’s intricate composition brilliantly but what also stood out for me was the ensemble’s use of unique instrumentation."  Read the rest ...
Dr Oliver Searle is on the staff at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Writing a research proposal: the literature survey

Whether you call it a literature survey or a literature review ...

If you're writing a proposal for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree research project, these comments might help. 

(However, this is NOT about writing dozens of pages, describing scientific methods or submitting costings for a funding bid!)

So ... you've got an idea for a research project, and you've got to submit something in writing. 

  • Have you established how much you are expected to write? 
  • Do you have any indication how many citations you should come up with? 
  • Have you been given any guidance about the currency of your citations?
The Whittaker Library supports staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in their general studies and subject-specific research.  Our focus is the performing arts: music, drama, production, film, and dance.  If you were putting together a literature review for a scientific research project, you'd probably be much more concerned about currency.  (No point in outlining what you think is a cutting-edge piece of research, if the edge was metaphorically cut months or even years ago!)  That's not quite so crucial in our field.

The purpose of your literature review is to show that you know what's out there already.  The format of what you find (book, journal article, website etc) is not so important as the content.  Nonetheless, you'll make yourself look more convincing as a researcher if you show that you know about the most useful electronic resources.

The Whittaker Library offers a lot of subject-specific and more generic electronic resources.  What you need to do is three-fold:-

  1. See what's in the Library catalogue - are there any key resources that you might use as a starting point?  (Or, indeed, that you think are so far off the mark that you wish to argue with?!)
  2. Anyone can do a Copac library search, which will check all the UK national and university libraries at once. Zetoc is a good general resource, too.
  3. See what a search of electronic resources comes up with.  Our library website has a page for ALL electronic resources (e-journals included); and another page for databases alone. 
If your research is going to be inter-disciplinary (eg combining music and drama), then the general searches are very important: you never know where your most likely sources will come from.  But don't forget to look at subject-specific bibliographic resources, too.  There are electronic abstracts and indexes especially for music, and especially for drama and dance.

How much time to spend?  Some people spend weeks, dipping in and out of resources before deciding what to include.  If you've got a limited amount of time, say a couple of hours, why not allocate half an hour to each of these three activities, then spend the last half-hour synthesising your findings and writing about what you've found?

Writing about what you've found is one thing; it's a good idea to put these resources in a neat, succinct bibliography, too.  That shows you understand the discipline of precise, accurate citation.  E.g.,

Atkinson, Charles M., The Critical Nexus: Tone-System, Mode, and Notation in Early Mediaeval Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009)

Steyn, Carol, 'The Music Manuscripts of the Grey Collection in Cape Town and their European Connections', Fontes Vol.59 no.1 (2012), 45-56

Note that the first is a book; the second a journal article.  Bibliographies are in alphabetical order of author, but you describe books and journals slightly differently.

As soon as you start your research, you need to think much more deeply about bibliographies and ways of keeping track of your references.  But that's further down the line.

Good luck!

Monday, 18 June 2012

You missed Stravinsky's birthday!

Belated Greetings

Bibliolore blog reminded us yesterday that it was Stravinsky's 130th birthday. (He was born 17 June, 1882.) To celebrate, Bibliolore posted a piece about Stravinsky and Les Apaches. Read it here ...

Bibliolore is the music blog hosted by RILM.   Erudite AND entertaining, it's well-worth bookmarking:-

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Emily Smith is on sparkling form

Emily's latest album
'Whittaker' spotted an article in the Evening Times promoting Emily Smith's gig at Paisley Arts Centre on Saturday evening.  As one of our Scottish music alumni, clearly it was Whittaker's bounden duty to go and hear her.  But who would accompany Whittaker?

Let's just say that an unenthusiastic 13-year old was cheerful by the interval, and volunteered the information that he had enjoyed the concert, by the time we left.  Emily worked a miracle right beside me, there!  

Accompanied by Jamie McClennan and Matheu Watson, Emily offered a delightfully varied repertoire, great banter - and it has to be said that Jamie and Matheu played an encore with demonic enthusiasm at the end.  It was exhausting just watching them!  (Had you been on the Rockstar or Relentless, Jamie? or was it just natural brilliance.)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Librarianship, a nice quiet job

A guy with a bottle of Rose,
Thought the library sofa looked cosy. 
Since his cursing was vile, 
People staring meanwhile, 
He was urgently ordered to mosey.

Portugal - Summer Orchestral Course 16-29 July 2012

Orfeao de Leiria: Conservatorio de Artes

International Orchestra Summer Academy

16-29 July, at Leiria, Portugal

More info here.

This posting can also be found on our Summer Schools and Courses page.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Wynton Marsalis, To a Young Jazz Musician

Earlier this year, 'Whittaker'  blogged about something Wynton Marsalis said.  Our Head of Jazz, Tommy Smith, had shared Marsalis's observations about working as a team, and we wanted to share this with you.

On the strength of that, we ordered a book by Wynton Marsalis, entitled, To A Young Jazz Musician.  If you're inclined to a career as a jazz muso, you could do worse than take a look!

Interested?  Find it in the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland here - or if you're not part of the Conservatoire community, you could buy your own from Amazon here.

Ibiza calls cellists and clarinettists!

Summer school opportunity, 1-10 September 2012.  Info here ...

Also added to Whittaker Live's Summer Schools and Courses page.

Boomwhackers ahoy!

Yesterday, Wandelweiser - today, Boomwhackers

Has Whittaker finally flipped?

Something for the teachers this time. Here's a Bibliolore blogpost about Boomwhackers - big bright plastic tubes that make a noise. Curious? Read it here.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

What in the World is Wandelweiser?


'Whittaker' has just catalogued the latest Contemporary Music Review, on the subject of Wandelweiser.

(Contemporary Music Review Vol.30 Part 6, 2011, ed. Nicholas Melia and James Saunders.)

But what on earth is Wandelweiser?  We can now advise you that it's a German composers' collective specialising in aleatory (aleatoric) music.  Chance music, you could say.  'Wandelweiser' is as much a compositional philosophy as the name of the group.

Christian Wolff is an exponent of this approach.  We do have music by Wolff, which you can see here.  One of his recordings particularly associated with Wandelweiser is a CD with the title, Stones, which we have just added to the Whittaker Library stock. Catalogue details here.

Oliver Knussen's birthday

Where the Wild Things Are - Knussen is 60

Image from Composition Today
website, with thanks
The BBC Symphony Orchestra tweets that Oliver Knussen is 60 today!

"We celebrate with Total Immersion weekend 3-4 November 2012"

Where does it hurt? Performing Arts Medicine

A free online resource, drawn to our attention by Bibliolore -

Bibliography of Performing Arts Medicine

'Dedicated to the health of performing artists'

Many of Whittaker's followers are practising musicians, actors and dancers, and our books on injuries are often consulted!  This free online bibliography could be invaluable for practitioners and their teachers.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mandela Trilogy - Cape Town Opera

A new opera about Nelson Mandela.

"Mandela Trilogy is Cape Town Opera’s musical tribute to the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela, written by Michael Williams with music by Allan Stephenson, Mike Campbell and Peter Louis van Dijk."

But can I read your eBOOK on my KINDLE?

Can you read an eBook on a Kindle?

Postgraduate librarianship student Hannah Saks works as a library assistant at the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  We've been discussing a Cambridge eBook trial, and I asked if these eBooks could be read on a Kindle, since she's a proud owner of one.  Hannah explains the eBook/Kindle conundrum like this:-
Q: Can you read a Cambridge University Press eBook on a Kindle?

"Technically yes, they can be read on a Kindle. But it’s a bit tricky! The books are in PDF format (and each chapter is an individual file). PDFs can be read on the Kindle but the user has to download them to their computer and then either email them to their Kindle account (when you get a Kindle you are assigned a Kindle email address for sending documents to it, e.g. or connect the Kindle to the computer and transfer the files onto it."
Hannah says she's ...,
"... not a big fan of reading PDFs on the Kindle- as they’re essentially a static image you can’t do any of the zooming or enlarging of fonts that you can do with ‘regular’ ebooks - and there is no way to skip to different sections of the book from the table of contents (although I suppose by providing each chapter as a different file Cambridge have made that a little easier). You might not be able to search the text of the document, either. Some PDFs look ok on the Kindle and some look pretty terrible- it all depends on how they were originally formatted."
Q: So the format of a genuine Kindle book (like you’d get from Amazon) is not the same as an ebook?
"Aha- now we’re getting into the truly complicated world of the ebook business! The Kindle book is an ebook, but it comes in its very own special format (.azw). In their infinite wisdom (and I assume inability to just get along), all ebook reader makers decided to make their own format for their readers and so we have .azw, .mobi (which confusingly is essentially the same as .azw), .epub and a lot of others (see In this way each ebook reader manufacturer can sneakily try and force customers to only buy ebooks from their preferred retailer. However, there is free software out there that can convert the file formats. I use Calibre ( and find it quite easy to use."
Hannah can be contacted via 



Shakespeare interpreted online for the digital age.  See what you think:-

eBooks trial

Free trial - Cambridge eBooks

Image courtesy
The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has full access to over 11,000 Cambridge University Press eBooks until 9 July 2012.  This is a trial that has been brokered by SHEDL (Scotland's highly-esteemed digital resources collective for Higher Education libraries).  Continued access will depend on negotiations - so why not 'make hay while the sun shines', and enjoy the free trial?!

This means that until 9 July, our staff and students now have full online access to :-

  • 95 eBooks from Cambridge in Drama and Theatre, 
  • 93 eBooks from Cambridge in Film and Media, and
  • 228 eBooks from Cambridge in Music.

You may start reading eBooks in your subject area of interest straight away - simply click on the links below: -

- - o O o - -

- - o O o - -

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Musical Library

Endless cataloguing?

'Whittaker' is cataloguing three volumes of a four-volume Victorian vocal series.  The contents are endless.  Seriously, endless ...  I'd be losing the will to live, if it wasn't for the thought that there are interesting things in here, and someone might appreciate them.  So it's my duty to let you know we have it - and what's inside.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Best way to take notes for your PhD?

After a PhD chat on Twitter (#PhDchat), Australian research-support expert The Thesis Whisperer wrote a Storify story on this topic.  Read it here.

Lucy's Letters from America

Memorable Breakfasts

We nearly missed Lucy's last letter from New Orleans, but it would be a shame if you didn't read about her final gastronomic breakfast, so why not catch up now?  (Grab a Subway before you start reading, to stave off the inevitable gastro-envy!)

Charles Rosen: Freedom and the Arts

A compilation of Rosen's writings - favourably reviewed in THE (Times Higher Education, 31 May 2012).

The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has several of Rosen's books in stock, but we have just bought his latest book.  Find out more here.

In a hurry to get your own?

Loud, loud, LOUD MUSIC

Music loud?  Fingers in your ears? 

Heed this or you might need hearing-aids in them later! 

Action on Hearing Loss has been running a campaign to raise awareness of the damage that loud music can do to our hearing.

Here's their Storify page about the campaign.

(Do you look forward to plugging your iPod into your hearing aids ..?  Turn the volume down!)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Composer James Macmillan - forthcoming Scottish performances

James Macmillan Scottish performances

Boosey & Hawkes' composer pages inform you about some of today's biggest names.

This month in Edinburgh, you can hear James Macmillan's A Child's Prayer, at St Cuthbert's Church (16.6.2012)

And in August you can hear a world premiere of his Since it was the Day of Preparation ..., in Greyfriar's Church (22.8.2012).

'An agreeable mixture of Italian, English and Scots'

Have you ever seen an 18th century history of music? 

No, we don't mean a history of 18th century music, but a book written in that era about the history of music to date.

The Whittaker Library is tidying up our rare books.  We came across Charles Burney's 4-volume A General History of Music (1776  -1789).
Charles Burney (Vol.4), on Arne

In Vol.4, Burney wrote of Arne's music that,
The general melody of our countryman, if analized, would perhaps appear to be neither Italian nor English, but an agreeable mixture of Italian, English, and Scots.  Many of his ballads, indeed, were professed imitations of the Scots style; but in his other songs he frequently dropped into it, perhaps, without design.'
To find out more of our forefathers' views, in their own olde-worlde spelling, you can find this book digitised in Google Books - or visit the Library to turn the pages for yourself and get that special 'old book' experience in tangible form!

Signed Copies? Look after them!

Abe Books have just sent their monthly email about the 'most valuable' book they've sold recently.  A signed copy of  Where the Wild Things are just sold for £16,200!  Read about it here.  (Thanks to library assistant Hannah Saks for this fascinating snippet.)

If you've kept any signed copies, do keep an eye on their value before your Mum sends them to the charity shop ...

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Introducing our talented staff: Lucinda Geoghegan

Not only does Lucinda Geoghegan teach at the Junior Conservatoire, but her music education books are also on the reading-lists for senior Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students.*  She is also Education Consultant for the National Youth Choir of Scotland and collaborates with the Kod├íly Institute.

*  The Whittaker Library is currently checking reading-lists for the new curriculum, which starts next session.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Ways to use Twitter for educational purposes

Worth a look - here.

RSAMD Alumnus K. James Peace

Always interested to hear what our alumni are doing, 'Whittaker' has just been advised that K. James Peace (now in Wiesbaden), has posted a flute piece on YouTube:-

The Waterfall, op.3 (click here to view)

This piece was written whilst the composer was a student at RSAMD, in the old Athenaeum building at Nelson Mandela Place, Glasgow.  Our thanks to Mr Peace for keeping in touch!

InfoSMART - case study, Glasgow School of Art


Embracing technology to assist with information literacy in an arts student context - Glasgow School of Art's InfosmART has won awards for its innovative approach.

RSCtv hosted a live presentation (webinar) last week.  Click the link below, to watch it.

RSCtv Watch Again - archive of broadcast details & support notes30th May 2012 - Case Study: InfosmART: Research Skills for Art and Design Students - Glasgow School of Art Library - watch a recording of this session.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Thesis Whisperer offers research support

'Whittaker' would like to share with research students and colleagues, the fact that our friend the Thesis Whisperer now has a new, dedicated domain name.  

If you've bookmarked Thesis Whisperer in the past, please update your bookmark to this:-

There, that was painless, wasn't it?  Now you won't miss any of TW's valuable support and advice.  'Whittaker' has written blogposts for TW in the past; this reminds him to put pen to paper (digit to desktop) and submit another offering!


The day of the Queen's Jubilee
Was wet, to a chilly degree 
But the Monarch just smiled, 
Her subjects went wild,
And we Scots saw it all on TV.

c. KEMcAulay 
Image from The Telegraph newspaper's blog

We have a small exhibition of Coronation and Jubilee-related material in the Whittaker Library - do come and see.  (If you speak to our Archive Officer, there's more ...!)

And we've compiled some Jubilee-related search-findings from the library catalogue: take a look at this Diigo Jubilee list (social bookmarking) list.