Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

When a Music Librarian goes all Musical

Some months ago, I rashly decided to arrange a suite of Hebridean folksongs from Alexander Campbell's song-collection, Albyn's Anthology.  I arranged them for flute, viola and cello.  Rather virtuoso flute, viola and cello, to be honest.  Campbell's early 19th century collection was praised for the tunes and slammed for the settings, so I doubt if I can have done much harm by my extravagant flights of fancy.

Just one problem.  I need a trio! I don't really think Allegro Finale through computer speakers really did them justice.  Now what?!  Could there remotely possibly be a flute, viola and cello trio out there in the Scottish central belt?

'Whittaker' has his fingers crossed.

Sunny day, blue sky - not yet the 'Last rose of summer'

Super-searching to save time

Just when we were thinking Scotland's summer was over, here it is.  What's that strange brightness in the sky?  Sun!  And - is the sky really that blue?

Here's a catalogue searching tip to bring you down to earth:

Use the advanced search function to search for an exact phrase.  Like, well, Last rose of summer, Thomas Moore's famous song from Moore's Irish Melodies.  (Now immortalised as a Last Night of the Proms favourite, of course.)

The exact phrase function is just like Google's quotation marks search.  You could do that in our catalogue, too - "Last rose of summer".

Et voila, lots of songs and recordings, just like that.  You can also limit by collection to restrict the results to one or the other.  Include the limit in your advanced search, or do it once you've got some results.

Here's another one - "Last night of the Proms"Vintage results!

On this day: John Muir Wood

Last year, Whittaker started a series of 'on this day' postings commemorating little-known names connected with Scottish musical history.  

John Muir Wood has already been mentioned in this series, when we noted his death on 25 June 1892.  He gets another mention today because he was born in Edinburgh on this day, 31 July 1805.  And he was, truly, a significant name in his time, even though he has largely been forgotten in modern times.

Pianos, Publishing and Photos

He and his brother ran the family firm of piano makers and music publishers.  Latterly, John ran the Glasgow branch.He was a friend of Broadwood, another piano-making firm, and also friendly with Chopin (who paid a visit to Scotland when he was dying of TB).  Muir Wood was also an early photographic genius. 

You can find a couple of John Muir Wood's major Scottish song collections in the Whittaker Library here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland:-  
  • The collection edited by George Farquhar Graham, Songs of Scotland; subsequent editions entitled The Popular Songs of Scotland (or, The Popular Songs and Melodies of Scotland, as spine title).
  • Finlay Dun’s Orain na h-Albam

More for the curious

  • Find Muir Wood amongst famous Wood clansmen: 
  • Read the National Galleries' biography of John Muir Wood
  •  Search in COPAC under Author = Muir Wood, and you discover many pieces published by the family firm throughout the nineteenth century.   (Copac is a union catalogue combining the resources of all the university and national libraries in Britain - it's a great place to find things.  If we haven't got something here in the Whittaker Library, we can often borrow it, unless it's very old and rare or special in some other way.)

Monday, 30 July 2012

NYOS Concerts - and an intriguing tune

From the NYOS website, with due acknowledgment
The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland is about to begin its annual summer tour.  Details here.

A highlight of the programme will be Nicola Benedetti playing the Bruch Fantasia on Scottish Folksongs. 

This favourite piece includes a tune called 'I'm a' doun for lack of Johnnie'.  The tune first appeared in a mid-19th century Scottish songbook called Songs of Scotland.  The commentary tells us it was a Highland melody, probably not very old, found and arranged by Finlay Dun.  It had never been published before.

Does this mean Bruch had a copy of Songs of Scotland? Or did someone else pass the tune on to him? We can only speculate.

The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is glad they've got copies of the songbook, in any case! 
Vol.1, Songs of Scotland: Finlay Dun's setting
The Songs of Scotland adapted to their appropriate Melodies, arranged with Pianoforte Accompaniments by G. F. Graham, T. M. Mudie, J. T. Surenne, H. E. Dibdin, Finlay Dun with historical, biographical, and critical notices by G. F. Graham, etc ... See catalogue entry ...

And Whittaker's back!

Image from, with thanks
Two weeks away, and coming back to Whittaker Live is like coming back to a fusty, dusty room.  Blogs shouldn't stagnate - they need regular updating.  Fling open the windows! Get some AIR into the place! 

For a start, here are some calls for papers.  Maybe our colleagues might be interested - or might interest their researchers - in something here:-

CALLS FOR PAPERS from the Royal Musical Association

A) RMA Study Day, "Music and the Seicento", 20 October 2012, University of York (with University of Huddersfield). Deadline for receipt of proposals for 20-minute research or recital papers, extended to 31 July 2012.

B) RMA Study Day, " Challenging musical ontologies", 23 November 2012, University of Nottingham. Deadline for receipt of proposals for 20-minute papers, 30 August 2012.

C) RMA Research Students' Conference, 3-5 January 2013, University of Southampton. Deadline for receipt of proposals for 20-minute research papers or compositions for saxophone, piano, percussion, and/or electronics, 29 October 2012.

Friday, 20 July 2012

It's official - the Whittaker Library is excellent!

Karen was presented with one of 14 IAML (UK and Ireland) Excellence Awards on behalf of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Whittaker Library, at the EasterAnnual Study Weekend for British and Irish music librarians.  So it's official - we're excellent!  We're proudly displaying our certificate at the library issue desk.  Have you seen it?

This is a hard-working conservatoire library with a clear sense of its role and mission within Scottish culture. It is actively engaged in collaborative work with other Scottish educational and cultural institutions and ensures its team is involved with staff development activities. Encouraging and responding to user feedback is a strong theme making good use of social media (a blog and Twitter for example) as well as initiatives such as “you asked for...we responded with...”.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Edinburgh International Festival

The Edinburgh Festival is less than a month away!  9th August - 2nd September 2012.

Edinburgh International Festival website here
Follow on Twitter @EdIntFest

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

TV and Film Industry Guide

Here's a useful document from the British Library Business and IP* Centre:-

TV and Film Industry Guide (download pdf here)

British Library Business and IP Centre homepage - click here.

* IP - Intellectual Property

Monday, 16 July 2012

British Library event for film-makers

The Sheffield Doc/Fest summer event

20 August, at the British Library (London St Pancras)

Event details

Who should attend? Documentary film makers
Place: British Library Business & IP Centre
Cost: Free
How to Book:
Book your place online

Event dates

Mon 20 August 2012, 16.00 - 18.00

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Maeve Mackinnon, alumna

Maeve Mackinnon is an alumna of RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), and starred on the CD released under Brian McNeill's tutelage, No.1 Scottish

Her debut CD was released by Footstompin in 2007 - Don't sing lovesongs.

Footstompin are currently selling the CD on special offer for one week only.  If you haven't got it, now would be a good time ...

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Don't you love it when things coincidentally line up in front of you?

Thankfully, ours is smarter!
Going through some donations in the Whittaker Library, Vol.6 of British Minstrelsie turned up. It's a late nineteenth collection of fairly mainstream national songs.  Now then, we already have Vols.1-5 - so the donated Vol.6 completes the set.  Nice. 

Nicer still, is the realisation that J. Cuthbert Hadden, who contributed an introductory essay, 'Some Characteristics of National Music', directly quotes the Colin Brown whose book I've been studying at home - a Scottish song collection, The Thistle, by Colin Brown and James Merrylees.

A week ago, I knew nothing about either book.  Funny how things work out!

Enterprise Music Scotland - bookmark this!

"Enterprise Music Scotland is the body funded by Creative Scotland to support top quality live chamber music concerts. By providing centralised services and ongoing funding and support, EMS enables over 450 concerts per year to take place."  Find out more.
Why not save it to your Diigo list?  I'm saving it to mine

Piano masterclasses with Robert Levin (Leipzig)

Masterclass 13-17 November 2012

'Whittaker' has just received notification of piano and piano chamber music masterclasses with Robert Levin in Leipzig this November.  More details on the Bach-Archiv Leipzig website - here.

Another posting for our Summer Schools and Courses page!

Death of not one legend, but two

Actor Ernest Borgnine died on 8 July, aged 95. 
(Internet Move Database)
Staff and students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland can remind themselves of Borgnine's artistic legacy with films of Torpedo Run, The Best Things in Life are Free, The Wild Bunch, and The Catered Affair.

Meanwhile, Maria Hawkins Cole (nee Maria Hawkins Ellington, though unrelated to the Duke), died on 10 July, aged 89.  She was Nat King Cole's widow, and mother of singer Natalie Cole - but was also a jazz singer in her own right, singing with Duke Ellington and Count Basie in her younger days and also performing with Nat himself.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Finding Scottish Fiddle Music

Whaur's the Fiddle Music?

As soon as you start looking for Scottish fiddle music in the Whittaker Library, you realise that it isn't all in exactly the same place!

This isn't a problem, of course - it's all in the catalogue.  (Where it ends up being shelved depends on what kind of accompaniment is provided.)

You can search the catalogue online to see what we've got.  Type in keywords from the author or title, or try some of these terms.  (If you're feeling clever, you can combine a few of them!)

  • Fiddle music
  • Scottish music
  • Violin1 (Yes, that's all one word!)
  • Dance music
  • Cape Breton
  • Scottish diaspora
You might also like to look for other kinds of music, such as Bagpipe music.

The Music and Academic Services Librarian in the Whittaker Library at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire is quite well-informed about Scottish songbooks, too.  More of that another time ...!

Mary Wollstonecraft blog by Roberta Wedge

Wollstonecraft Live by Anna Birch

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland research lecturer Anna Birch's , Wollstonecraft Live, first took place in 2005 and 2006.  It was revisited in 2011.

'Whittaker', being a mere muso, managed to miss all this.  (Somehow it slipped under the radar, which is regrettable, but hopefully forgiveable.)


Today, we stumbled across a Mary Wollstonecraft blog by Roberta Wedge, which we share with you here. 
"Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was thus a foremother of feminism. She was also a war reporter, a pedagogue, a spiritual quester, a radical republican, a single mother, a passionate & taboo-breaking lover. Her story is ripe for the telling. This blog gathers anecdotes, freelance research, resources, and news of current projects: your one-stop Mary Wollstonecraft shop!"

(Must we call it) Information Literacy

As you know, 'Whittaker' is a champion of digital information literacy - no-one's going to get far if they're not web-savvy these days.  But is it just me, or is the term 'information literacy' a bit of a turn-off for today's students?  Sure, they need what we're offering, but are we making it sexy?

Anyway, here are two thoroughly worthwhile initiatives, for educators and information professionals to engage with, while we ponder on the best way to promote the message!

Cultural impact of Chinese Cinema

Chinese Film

This week sees the inauguration of a new research project into the cultural impact of Chinese film in the 21st century, sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust:-

Dr Song Hwee Lim, senior lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Exeter, is leading a 2-year project.

Project launched yesterday, 9 July 2012, with 2-day workshop and keynote by Professor Rey Chow of Duke University.

Time to find out about the AHRC

Students researching in the humanities will already know about the AHRC.  But how much do you know about the bigger picture?

  • There are Research Themes
  • There's a new international blog, Research beyond Borders
  • There are four new Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy (one's in Dundee, and the others in Lancaster, London and the West of England). Watch a short film about this initiative here.
Aiming for a research career?  You need to be able to 'talk the talk' about the bigger issues. And what better place to start?

Scottish New Music Awards

One for our Awards, Grants, Prizes page!

"The 2012 Scottish New Music Awards are going to be held on Sunday, September 2nd 2012 at the Classic Grand in Glasgow.."  Visit the website here.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Opera for the hearing - hard of hearing - and deaf

A Quiet Life

Whittaker has just seen a tweet about this project, which involves making an opera for people who can’t hear – and people who can:- 

"Annie is an astronomer. She knows all about time and space, but she isn’t so sure about life and death. And she’s just gone deaf. 'A Quiet Life' is a new, multi-sensory opera based on the life of Annie Jump Cannon, exploring ways of hearing and the relationship between the Universe and ourselves. An opera for people who can hear and people who can’t." 
For further details, please visit the website - here

Friday, 6 July 2012

Summertime - we're still here!

GREETINGS to Whittaker's followers!

A quick announcement:-

We've had the pre-graduation rush, and graduation itself, so now the Whittaker Library can settle into summertime routines.  (Summertime? Did someone mention summer?!)  There may be fewer library staff, but we still keep on going.

Our Whittaker Live blog will continue to bring you performing arts and study-related news whenever possible - do keep an eye on it.

For example, this week we've shared news of,uk; digital literacy; oral history; theatre design; Scotland (Friends of Wighton/ Friends of Plockton/ Scottish storytelling); not to mention new library accessions; a call for papers from Organised Sound; and the fabulous Writing Britain exhibition at the British Library.  Scroll down to take a look.

If you'd like us to monitor particular themes/activities/events, do let us know. Email, or catch Karen on Twitter @Karenmca.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Those nice folk at

Want a job in academia? You need the website!

  • ALERTS!  You can set up alerts to be told about the kind of jobs you're looking for, and you'll automatically get emails when something comes up.
  • ADVICE!  Useful postings, such as these:-
"Latest Career Advice Articles
  • Academic Writing: How To Write A Textbook; Read this article
  • Setting Up Your First Research Team – Part 2 – Processes and Interpersonal Relationships; Read this article
  • For more job hunting tips, careers advice, case studies and other useful information please visit the Careers Advice"

RIN (Research Information Network) past and present

Something to watch ... a new collaboration supporting digital literacy in research,


The Research Information and Digital Literacies Coalition

This new group has been set up to bring together stakeholders in a variety of research, research support and library/information organisations.  Watch its progress here.

RIN (the Research Information Network) has changed in recent months, but there's a webpage listing some of their formative reports.  We have most of them here at the Whittaker Library in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Catalogue link), but here are the links to the digital versions.  Quoting directly, with due acknowledgement to RIN:-

"Links to RIN publications 2005-2011

... reports and other publications produced by RIN in its previous incarnation during the period 2005 to 2011 ... listed in reverse chronological order.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

British Library Sounds website: theatre design

Yes, another posting about British Library Sounds!

'Whittaker' has discovered that the British Library’s “National Life Stories” oral history project includes 33 recordings of interviews about theatre design.  It was a collaborative project with Wimbledon College of Art charting developments in post-war British theatre design.

We'd never have found this if we hadn't been reading that National Life Stories annual report!  (Find it in our catalogue.)

How to FIND these magical recordings?
·       Go to the British Library Sounds website and use the search box – you’ll find it here:-
·       In the search box, type Theatre Design, and use the drop down category, Arts, Literature and Performance.  You’ll get 33 results.

If you would like to follow up any ideas found here, Alan Jones is our Drama Librarian and will be happy to advise.

British Library Sounds website

You lucky, lucky people!

The Whittaker Library database page provides a link to the British Library Sounds website - it used to be called Archival Sounds Recordings, so you might not have realised that there's been a name-change.

There is so much there!  The homepage is, and it encompasses all this:-

  • Accents and dialects
  • Arts, literature and performance
  • Classical music
  • Environment and nature
  • Jazz and popular music
  • Oral history
  • Sound recording history
  • World and traditional music
  • Sound maps

  • You'll realise immediately that there is something here for just about every performer in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland!  Actors - take a look at the first couple of categories.  Musicians - well, it's obvious, really!  Jazz? Yes, it's there.  Scottish musicians and community musicians will find plenty under the oral history, world and traditional music headings.

    There are more useful links here:-

    Friends of Wighton

    Andrew Wighton: Scottish music books

    Do you know about the Wighton Centre, Dundee Central Library's historic Scottish music book collection?

    Andrew Wighton collected Scottish music books in the mid-19th century, and gifted his collection to the City of Dundee.  A specially dedicated Centre has recently been built to house his music and promote Scottish music events.

    The Friends of Wighton support the Centre.  Find out more here

    (There is also a Wighton Database; but sadly, it's not up and running just now. Watch this space - 'Whittaker' will let you know if (when) it is resurrected.  It was a really, REALLY useful resource, so hopefully it won't be down for long.)

    Plockton Music School launches charitable trust

    Friends of Plockton Music School

    Sgoil Chiuil na Gaidhealtachd: Plockton Music School

    I read in Box and Fiddle magazine that a charitable trust is being launched to support the traditional music school at Plockton.  It's  called 'Friends of Plockton Music School', and there was a concert a couple of weeks ago for the launch. 

    Here's the link to the new Friends of Plockton Music School website:-

    And this was a news item on the main music school website:-

    July Folk-Fest at the Scottish Storytelling Centre

    8-29 July. 

    To find out more, click here for the adult programme, and here for children's events.

    4th July - Independence Day

    America, America

    Flag from

    'Whittaker' thinks he'll go through the CD donations and catalogue anything American today, in honour of Independence Day.  (It'll be subject-indexed as 'American music'.) 
    Meanwhile, here's a map of America - the Popple Map of 1733, as blogged by the inspired Special Collections people at the University of St Andrews.

    Tuesday, 3 July 2012

    Organised Sound special issue: Call for Papers

    From an emailed circular ...

    Organised Sound is an international peer-reviewed journal which focuses on the issues arising from the use of technology in music and the impact it is having on a variety of musical genres, from multimedia, performance art and sound sculpture to experimental electroacoustic composition and its influence on popular idioms.

    Cambridge Journals is pleased to announce that Vol.18 no.3 of Organised Sound, due to be published in December 2013, will be a special issue entitled 'Re-wiring Electronic Music.'

    Submissions should be sent to by 1st February 2013.

    Circulate this call for papers with your colleagues - Facebook Twitter More...

    Keep up-to-date with the latest research from Organised Sound by activating free content alerts.

    Graduation at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

    As well as celebrating our fabulous new graduates, the morning graduation conferred honorary doctorates upon violinist Nicola Benedetti, singer Barbara Dickson and choreographer Ashley Page, until recently Artistic Director at Scottish Ballet.  At the afternoon ceremony, we honoured David Hayman and Richard Holloway.

    'Whittaker' has been hobnobbing with the Great and the Good, and simultaneously representing Library and Information Services.  We're behind the scenes, but like to think we contributed too!

    Monday, 2 July 2012

    Writing Britain

    Whittaker's weekend has been extaordinarily varied - a vastly delayed overnight train still left time to visit the Writing Britain exhibition at the British Library on Friday morning.

    Friday afternoon was a social media conference; then Monday saw me heading to Cambridge University Library for a meeting, and then to hear a lecture, at the Library and Information History Group.

    But although all these activities were really good, the jewel in the crown was that fabulous, wonderful exhibition, full of the most evocative and inspiring books, manuscripts and illustrations. To find gathered together so many books that I knew or had read about, and to be reminded also of some childhood favourites, was a delightful way to spend a couple of quiet hours.

    Whittaker rhapsodized appropriately to the staff, then wafted off contentedly to Farringdon and the 21st century for the social media event.

    If you have spare time in the London. Euston/St Pancras area, why not go and check out the British Library Writing Britain exhibition? I think you'll be glad you did!