Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Monday, 25 June 2012

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!

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