Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The purpose of a musical score?

Now, before you say a word, naturally the score enables you to perform a piece of music!

'Whittaker' found an intriguing score in a donation today:-

Kerr's Modern Dance Album for the Pianoforte

Published by James S. Kerr, it was a local work - the music publisher was located at 314 Paisley Road, Glasgow.  (The shop is in the streets between Govan Road at Festival Park, and the M8 motorway.)  It contained Eightsome reels, Highland Schottisches, and various other Scottish dances.
 All well and good, you might say. But here's the best bit: a caption along the top of the cover:-
"N.B. - If the Music in this Book is played according to the Instructions the Dances and the Music will finish at the same time."
Kerr's Modern Dance Album
Now, wouldn't you say that was eminently practical?!  No claims to be Urtext, no mention of the tune origins, but sensible instructions along the lines of, 'Play 5 times and first 8 bars to finish'; or, 'A Strathspey and Reel of Tulloch is often danced after the Eightsome Reel.  If the dancers remain in position play a long chord then Strathspey  3 times and Reel of Tulloch 8 times as given on page 5.'

(Oh, and I made an interesting discovery.  We are not the first Conservatoire in Scotland! There's a testimonial from Julius Seligmann, Principal of The Glasgow and West of Scotland Conservatoire of Music, at 8 Alfred Terrace, Hillhead, Glasgow - Just off Great Western Road.  I consulted Googlemaps for you!)

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