Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 3 August 2012

Minstrels, metaphors ... and Minstrelsie

Latter-day Minstrelsie

(Shades of Celtic Twilight ...)

A postscript to last year's postings!

Much has been said about images of minstrels and bards in national song collections from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. 'Whittaker' discovered recently that the Whittaker Library also has a quantity of later Minstrelsie song-books, too.

An Edinburgh publisher, T. C. and E. C. Jack, published scores of them at the end of the 19th century and just into the 20th.  (The London firm of Caxton also had a hand in this.)

So - if you're curious, you can see our collection of latter-day minstrelsie books here - Scots, Cambrian, English and British - take your pick!  (Though it has to be said they're art-music collections of popular national songs, and haven't much connection with the earlier ones.)

Worthy of note are the prefatory essays in some (but not all) of the volumes, written by contemporary authorities on such questions as singing the repertoire; the history; and how this generation handled modal melodies.  This paratextual material could prove more interesting than the song-settings themselves. 

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