Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Scotsman posts story about Martyn Bennett

Posthumous Hall of Fame tribute

Read the Scotsman story here.

Whittaker apologises for yesterday's formatting error. The link was there - but it didn't look like one!

10 Years of River City - Behind the Scenes (and we were there)

River City has been a happy stamping ground for RSAMD/ Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduates.  So - naturally, our Drama Librarian is ordering a copy of the 10th Anniversary book, and we'll all be looking through it to see our alumni doing what they do best!

10 years of River City - Behind the Scenes (the book)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Artistic Research

Here's a website for the research scholars amongst us!

Research Lecturer Dr Anna Birch has drawn our attention to the Society for Artistic Research, and its new scholarly journal, the Journal for Artistic Research.

The main website is for the Journal for Artistic Research, where you will find Vol.1 (2011).  You'll find out more about the Society by clicking on the appropriate links.

You can also subscribe to the Newsletter, and participate in the Research Catalogue, which is described as an international database for artistic research.  More here ...

The site is heavy on text, light on images.  This JAR blog may be more user-friendly.

Reflection, and Reflective Practice

Whittaker has been notified of a blogpost on reflection as part of research.  As we performing artists know, reflective practice is crucial to what we do.
So it follows that Patter's posting will be useful to many, if not all in our creative community:-

Mulling it over – a thinking tool for reflecting on a research experience

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sunday 28th October - Les Sirenes, Choir of the Year 2012

'Three Choirs' wine (note choral connection!)
Our very own Les Sirenes took part in the Grand Final of  Choir of the Year today, at the Royal Festival Hall - and won!!!  Whittaker is so, so proud of the home team!  Here's the website for the competition:- 

Want to hear or watch the Grand Final?  Details from the Choir of the Year website, as below:-
The Choir of the Year 2012 Grand Final
will be broadcast on:

BBC Radio 3’s The Choir on Sunday on
11 November at 5pm

and will air on
BBC FOUR on 23 November at 7.30pm.
But for now, just follow the fun @LesSirenes on Twitter!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Gaelic singer Kenna Campbell on BBC Radio Scotland

Broadcaster James Black alerted me to this broadcast of my Royal Conservatoire of Scotland colleague Kenna Campbell talking about Willie Mathieson.  Here.  Be quick, before the link disappears!

Kenna Campbell was on latest Scotland Inspired re Rev W. Matheson, Carmina Gadelica & her family

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Important announcement if you use Diigo

Diigo's domain was hacked for 48 hours earlier this week - they used temporarily, but all is back to normal now at  All you need to keep track of your social bookmarking favourites!

Diigo kept us informed of progress, and assure us our data was not compromised, so full marks to them for keeping the show on the road during the crisis.

I'm now seconded part-time to a research project on historic Scottish fiddle accompaniments - as my Diigo favourites probably reflect.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Research into Scottish fiddle-tune accompaniments

Portrait of Niel and Donald Gow by David Allan
© Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Licensor

This seems an appropriate image to illustrate the Bass Culture research project I'm assisting with.  (It is part of a bigger picture by David Allan, called A Highland Wedding at Blair Atholl.)

 What I and my colleagues at the Universities of Glasgow and Cambridge are seeking to establish, is what the cellist was playing, what patterns we can identify, and how it changed during the 18th-early 19th centuries.  Here's our brand-new blog, including a fab picture of the research team.

And here's another nice one called The Penny Wedding, by Sir David Wilkie.  His preliminary sketch shows the musicians more clearly.

Monday, 22 October 2012

How to cite a tweet in academic papers (this is a bloglink)

This is so useful, it has to be shared around!  'Whittaker' didn't author this - we're just passing on the good news.

Edudemic picked this up from the Modern Language Association, which makes it very authoritative indeed.

Digital Library: Electronic Stuff

 Ebooks - Kindles* - Streaming - E-ncyclopedias - Ejournals!

First year musicians, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Electronic resources talk
by Dr Karen McAulay** 
 took place at 2 pm today, Stevenson Hall.
Did you miss it?  Slideshare version of my PowerPoint here.  (It'll be put on the Library Mahara Group as soon as possible.)

* We don't supply the Kindle, but you can use yours - click on the link to a helpful blogpost by Hannah, Library Queen of the Kindle

** All-singing, still not dancing Music and Academic Services Librarian 

  • By the way, have you mislaid your link to Christina's Challenge?  Here it is again!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Learn Gaelic

Just discovered Gaelic singer Fiona J. Mackenzie's Gaelic podcasts.  All you have to do is LISTEN (and repeat).  Great stuff.  It's all on her website - and there's downloadable PDFs for the text, too.

Great if you're just starting to learn the Gaelic language.

Friday, 19 October 2012

A 19th century Swedish fiddle music collector

Collecting Tunes in 19th Century Sweden

The Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has just been given an unusual gift: a book and CD about a 19th century Swedish folk music collector.
So if you're curious about Abraham fran Godegard, aka Abraham Hagholm (1811-1890) and his tune-collecting exploits, you know where to look for the book.
For those of us not fluent in Swedish - the book has an English summary, and the CD will speak for itself!
Peter Berry, the book's author, is Librarian at the Music Conservatoire attached to Lunds Universitet in Malmo, Sweden.
Details of both items here.

Mistaken for Napoleon (Talk, Comann Gaidhlig Ghlaschu 23 October 2012)

Mistaken for Napoleon

Alexander Campbell's Hebridean song-collecting summer (1815)

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Karen McAulay speaks to the Comann Gaidhlig Ghlaschu at the Glasgow Gaelic School in Berkeley Street.

Free for members, students £1, all others £3.

RMA Students Conference CFP


Royal Musical Association Research Students' Conference
3 - 5 January 2013, University of Southampton

"The RMA Annual Research Students’ Conference will take place at the University of Southampton from 3 to 5 January 2013. We invite postgraduate students to submit proposals in the following categories:

1) Individual papers on any aspect of music research (up to 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of discussion). Presentations can include a live performance element or use recorded electronic music, however, you will be expected to provide instrumentalists and repertoire. Submissions should consist of a title and an abstract of max. 200 words. All abstracts for papers should fully and clearly describe the topic of the presentation and include the following information: background, research questions, aims, summary of content and significance.

2) New works (max. 6 minutes) for an open workshop with members of the ‘Workers Union Ensemble’ ("

General conference enquiries:
Contacts: Dr Florian Scheding (Papers) and Dr Ben Oliver (Works)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Time Management: how about SlimTimer?

This is a new resource to me, but if you're struggling with time management, then SlimTimer might help:-

(Recommended by Barnaby Brown, one of our Scottish Music degree lecturers and now undertaking doctoral studies in Cambridge.)

Alternatively, you might consider the very simple Pomodoro technique, as described by The Thesis Whisperer.  It involves setting a timer, and sticking to it.  Read more here ...

Practice-based Research in Musical Theatre - CFP

Central School of Speech and Drama


(Submission of abstracts – extended deadline – 26 November 2012)

  • Title:  ‘Practice-based Research in Musical Theatre: Process and Performance’
  • Special Issue of Studies in Musical Theatre (January 2014), guest edited by Zachary Dunbar
  • Proposal Deadline for Abstracts: 26 November 2012
  • We encourage the submission of abstracts of 300 words or (preferred) articles of 4000-6000 words for issue 8.1, to be published in January 2014.   The deadline for submission of abstracts or articles is 26 November 2012, with a view to full drafts being completed by 15 April 2013. Material should be submitted directly to Zachary Dunbar at
"Current scholarly research and publications in musical theatre studies predominantly fall into three categories: historiography, musicology and applications of postmodern theory. This issue proposes to kick start a discourse in practice-based research."

Saturday, 13 October 2012

New Horizons, New Faces

Experimenting with invisibility...
Karen McAulay, our Music and Academic Services Librarian, is about to commence her part-time secondment as postdoc research assistant to an AHRC project running jointly with the University of Glasgow.  This means she won’t be in the Whittaker Library on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the next three years.  

However, cover is being put in place, so you’ll soon see a new face assisting with musical matters on those days.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Digitised Sound for Scottish Musos

Karen just gave a talk to students on the BA Scottish Music course, to introduce key streamed sound resources.

Two directly relevant ones -
  1. Tobar an Dualchais (free)
  2. British Library Sounds (Whittaker Library subscribes)
And two mainly classical ones, so you can see what classical musos have done with your Scottish tunes!
  1. Naxos Music Library
  2. Classical Music Library (Alexander Street Press)
See Karen's Storify story about all four databases - here.

Karen's favourite social media tools

Karen introduced Diigo, an excellent social media tool for saving your favourites 'in the cloud'.  This is Karen's Scottish music Diigo list.

If you Tweet, there are other useful websites that you might benefit from - Tweetdeck makes it easier to follow scheduled conversations; and the Buffer app allows you to schedule tweets throughout the day. 

The Pop-Up Music Stand

One of our colleagues came across this, and was keen for Whittaker to mention it on this blog;-

A stand and a music case in one.  Comes highly praised on the Cultural Enterprise Office for Scotland website

(Thanks, Colleague!)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Historic Scottish music - published in New Zealand

Scotland's early music - two new anthologies

Dr Raymond White, Organist at St Mary's Basilica, Invercargill (New Zealand) paid the Whittaker Library a visit today.

Four hours later, we can boast two new additions to stock, both edited by Dr White:-

  • Music for a kist o' whistles: Sixteenth and early seventeenth century keyboard music with Scottish connections, suitable for chamber organ, harpsichord or virginal (97680473183776)
  • Let there be joy: music with Scottish connections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (9780473187347)

Hoorah for the Ukulele manual!

A couple of weeks ago, I acquired and catalogued a ukulele manual.  (I do know a uke player - he'd kill me for divulging his identity.  And he's quite competent at ukulele-playing, anyway.)

But I did think that it would be useful to have a book on how to play the thing.  For anyone else just starting out along this dubious route!  You can find it under Ukulele instruction.

That book was borrowed today.  I'm so proud!  Vindication is mine!

'The right book for the right person at the right time' - how's that for a library motto?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Award winning author and actor Alan Cochrane dies

Today, The Scotsman intimated the death of Alan Cochrane in Edinburgh on 7th October 2012.  Read the obituary here.

Edinburgh People's Theatre opened its Fringe season this summer with one of Cochrane's plays, Ne'er the Twain - fittingly, since it was premiered there in 1971 :-

" ... traditional Scot’s comedy – Ne'er the Twain is an hilarious Scot’s comedy by the award winning author, Alan Cochrane. We take you back to a time when Leith had its very own trams and Edinburgh for a Neighbour! It’s October 1919 - do you join St Cuthbert's or Leith Provie when the boundary runs through your house?" Read more on the EPT website here.

The Music Sack

What's in the sack?  Well, this is a new resource to me. 

Here it is -

The homepage says that it offers ...

1,000,000 People -- 300,000 Books and Articles -- 8,963 Bands and Groups -- 880 Cathedrals and Churches -- 11,793 concerts -- The Pianist in Concert 151,482 performances -- Theatres
What I am keen to find out is where the information came from, and whether it's ever updated.  It's compiled by Frank Greene, and there's a page giving more background - here.  Phew! There's an enormous amount of background, aims, objectives - this guy aims to index a phenomenal amount of material - and ultimately to have other people doing it too.  So that makes it a wiki of sorts.  How has he done what he's done?  Well, there's a link with the music library at the University of Toronto.  (I've been there - it's a good place.)  I'll dig deeper, and let you know!

Meanwhile - have fun exploring.

Lomax and the Rising Sun

Another great posting from Bibliolore, about the 'Rising Sun' song, and the story of how it was collected by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax.

Globalization of The Rising Sun - Click here

Of interest to anyone studying ethnomusicology - the traditional, 'folk music' (don't get me started on that term!) of different nations.  World music, in modern parlance.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Challenge!

Hello, everyone!  This blogpost is carefully crafted for our new first year music students here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  This is a link to the powerpoint that I used in our recent catalogue demo.

If you're one of this talented crowd, your assignment is this:-

Please use the catalogue to find three specific items (see below), then email details of these items to the CCS Coordinator, using your new Conservatoire email account.  Please state your name and course.

For each item, we need particular information:-

  • Author or Composer,

  • Title,

  • Publisher,

  • Date (if known) and

  • Library shelfmark.


And this is what you'll be looking for:-
  1. A book about your instrument (or composition/conducting)
  2. A CD of music for your instrument (or a composer/conductor that you admire)
  3. A piece of printed music for your instrument.

Finding Stuff (without a crystal ball)

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - 1st year Musicians


“Digital library: Electronic Stuff” for musicians (Monday 22 October, 2 pm)

Following on from her session on 'Finding Stuff' in the library catalogue, Music and Academic Services Librarian Karen McAulay meets 1st year musicians in the Stevenson Hall again at 2 pm, Monday 22nd October.  Moving on from print, paper and plastic, this session considers electronic library material.

Images from website

Event for double reed players:-

The BIG Double Reed Day - Sunday 28th October 2012 @ Guildhall, Barbican, London.

Szymanowski, anyone? Interesting blogpost

On the Bibliolore blog, there's a new post entitled "Szymanowski and Eros

A thoroughly commendable, high-quality blog, so worth a look!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Diigo social bookmarking ambassador?!

Diigo - social bookmarking

Whittaker feels he really should be appointed an honorary Diigo Ambassador for singing Diigo's praises so regularly!

These days, most of us need access to our favourite links via various devices.  If you haven't tried Diigo yet, why not give it a whirl before you accumulate too many scraps of paper with weblinks on!


And here's mine:-

(As you can see, I'm totally sold on it!)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Gaelic tradition: 2 suggestions

The Whittaker Library has just heard about 2 interesting new books on the Gaelic tradition.  We'll be ordering them very soon, so watch this space!  The first is The Gaelic Finn Tradition, edited by Sharon J. Arbuthnot Geraldine Parsons.  The other is a reprint of Keith Norman MacDonald's collection of Puirt-à-Beul,ed. William Lamb.

News from the Whittaker Library

News from the Whittaker Library: if you're one of our new students and you missed your library tour, there are tours at 3.30 each day this week.  (Find out about wi-fi, get your PIN, try to resist the sofas!)  And we have loads more useful info if you join the library’s Mahara group.

Also, don’t forget to visit this blog regularly!  (Now in its 13th year - a teenager at last, and entitled to a mind of its own!) 

For example, the past week has seen postings on devising dancing; digitised Burns manuscripts; Scotland at the Cinema; and our own Broadcast.  Not to mention costume design; story-telling; book appreciation; PhD-taming; alumnus Christopher Gough; historian Eric Hobsbawm … and an intriguing link to Lisbon tram museum.  Why?  See for yourself! Bookmark

Tweet the library @WhittakerLib, or Whittaker’s amanuensis @Karenmca.
Don't forget, you can bookmark favourite links to your Diigo account, which makes them instantly portable between devices - and share-able, too!

MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards

2012 Awards - nominations requested.

More here on Scottish Culture Online website.  Do it now - before 12th October 2012!

"The Scots Trad Music Awards nominations process runs from the 1st – 12th October and the public are invited to nominate their chosen four in each of 15 pre-arranged categories. eg Best Album to Best Club, Best Instrumentalist, Best Folk Band, Dance Band and Pipe Band ranging right across the many strands that encompass Scotland’s vibrant traditional music scene. These nominations are then taken to a panel of industry experts who decide the final 4 to go through to the voting process which starts on Monday 29th October."

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Missed Les Sirenes on BBC Radio Scotland last night?

BBC iPlayer means you can hear it now: Click here.

Classics Unwrapped

Andrew Nunn conducting Les Sirenes ladies choir


Bagpipes and Body Percussion - Julia Wolfe

Intriguing article title from BBC Music Magazine.  Take a look here!

Naturally, the Whittaker Library knows about Julia Wolfe - here's what we've got in our catalogue.)

Musique concrete - in this case, Portuguese trams

Lisbon tram (Canstockphoto)
Truth to tell, I'm not a fan of trams. However, the town of Lisbon has commissioned a musical work using everyday sounds.  The tram museum is the setting for the first 'movement', using sounds of the trams themselves.

Here's the Youtube link.  And the introduction to it:-

CARRIS itself - is a specific complement of the "Lisbon itself" (musical work to be completed in 2013, using only the sounds of the city of Lisbon, which include, of course, the sounds of electric buses and CARRIS) and which the author, musician Pedro Castanheira, used the sounds of the most varied collections of objects MUSEUM OF RAIL.
Pedro Castanheira is a cinematographer,artist and composer. (My Portuguese is non-existent, I'm afraid.)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

University of Glasgow and National Library of Scotland: Burns manuscripts

Robert Burns Manuscripts

News of a major manuscript digitisation project at the University of Glasgow.  Watch this development!

Christopher Gough, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Alumnus

Composer Christopher Gough distributes his compositions through his own website.  Take a look here.

Historian Eric Hobsbawm dies aged 95

If you're interested in the history of national musical traditions, you may have read one of Eric Hobsbawm's classic texts, The Invention of Tradition.   We have it in the Whittaker Library, along with another book for which he wrote the introduction.

Hobsbawm died on 1st October 2012, aged 95.  Here's the BBC obituary, with a podcast of Hobsbawm talking about history.

One of a generation of Marxist historians, Hobsbawm's take on history was markedly different to the more conventional historical approach, because of the Marxist attitude to class distinctions.

Monday, 1 October 2012

How to talk about books you haven't read

A new acquisition in the Whittaker Library, this is a semi-serious, informative book about - well, appreciating books.

Take a look - here.

Scottish Storytelling Centre (Edinburgh)

Did you know?

You can sign up to weekly newsletters alerting you to interesting events at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.  This might interest Scottish musicians, keen to incorporate a bit of storytelling into their on-stage performance ...

Visit the website here:-