Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Clarinettist Anton Weinberg - Reshaping Thoughts

Reshaping Thoughts

Clarinettist Professor Anton Weinberg has published a second edition of his musical quotations and epithets anthology.

Unfinished Sentences, the first edition, has been updated.  The new edition is entitled Reshaping Thoughts: the Problem is the Solution.  Two copies have kindly been donated to the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Find them here.

Professor Weinberg's website:

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Highland Music Trust - in print and online

The Whittaker Library has several publications by the Highland Music Trust - they're transcriptions of old fiddle collections.  See the list here.

Did you know you can also access these collections online via IMSLP, otherwise known as the Petrucci Music Library?

For example, Jane Fraser Morison's Highland Airs and Quicksteps of 1882

IMSLP homepage -

Highland Music Trust collections on IMSLP

Monday, 28 January 2013

Byre Theatre, St Andrews, could reopen soon

Phil Miller reports in the Herald today (1 Feb 2013) that there are hopes the Byre Theatre could reopen soon.  Read it here ...

Last weekend, things didn't look so good:-

Friday, 25 January 2013

Stellar Quines - Scottish Theatre Company

'Whittaker' was updating followers on the WhittakerLib Twitter account when 'he' came across a theatre company he hadn't heard of before - Stellar Quines.
Their website explains all.  Here's their introduction:-
"Established in 1993, Stellar Quines is an award winning Scottish theatre company and charity that celebrates the energy, experience and perspective of women. We provide a platform for women’s stories and create live theatre driven by women and where female practitioners are at the forefront of all creative roles."

Teaching postgraduate composition

The latest issue of Contemporary Music Review focuses on teaching composition at postgraduate level:-

Pedagogical Praxis and Curricular Infrastructure in Graduate Music Composition

Supervisors of Masters and doctoral students will find this of particular interest. 

  • Click link for details.
  • Available as print copy in Whittaker Library.
  • Registered staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland can also access it online.

St Andrews Special Collection - a Robert Burns posting

St Andrews University Library
It's the day when everyone struggles to come up with a new 'take' on Scotland's national Bard.  Here is an offering from the University of St Andrews:-

Echoes from the Vault:

Scotland’s Poet: Robert Burns in Special Collections

Lutoslawski's Mature Style (sharing a Bibliolore blogpost)

Always worth looking at, Bibliolore has just posted a piece about Lutoslawski.  Here's the link:-

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Library Forthcoming Events

Two dates for your diary!

We have two more events coming up in the Whittaker Library. 

Tuesday 29th January @ 5 pm

On Tuesday 29th January at 5 pm, folklorist Margaret Bennett will be giving an illustrated talk about Celtic music in Newfoundland.  There's always a good turn-out, and a good time is had by all.  Come and join in!

Friday 26th April @ 4 pm

Looking ahead, Music and Academic Services Librarian Karen McAulay’s book, Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish song-collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era will be launched at an illustrated talk in the Whittaker Library on Friday 26th April at 4 pm. Musicians have been enlisted.  It will be loud.  And she’s still looking for a sax quartet to play some of the louder musical examples … volunteers, please?

Fonn - The Campbells of Greepe

Fonn: The Campbells of Greepe *

Music and a Sense of Place in a Gaelic Family Song Tradition

The Whittaker Library acquired a copy of Kenna Campbell's family CD, Fonn, a couple of months ago, so we warmly welcome the publication of the accompanying book, published by Acair.  It's big and beautiful, has bi-lingual narrative about the family and their immersion in Gaelic music, and has lots of songs with their tunes, the Gaelic texts and English translations, not to mention contextual notes.  And the CD appears at the back.

So lovely is this that we're ordering a copy for our shelves straight away.  Watch this space!

* Greepe is in a remote corner of the Hebridean island of Skye.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Librarians as Curators

If you thought a curator was a museum person in an overall, think again.  Very much thought goes into curating these days.  Indeed, the word is used in the wider sense for a thoughtful assembly of related items.

So, someone disenchanted with a particular dictionary definition of curation, posted her own definition of what it means these days:-
Jessica Backus
Jessica Backus, a disenchanted M-W reader, commented:Would love for Merriam-Webster to address this: Not only does “curation” refer to concrete practices of digital curation, or a human making a selection [...], “curation” has become the word par excellence to describe a thoughtful selection of inspiration in today’s unwieldy and diverse cultural and media landscape. (From 'Perigrinating the Web' blog.)
So you see, by this definition, librarians curate their collections. I like it!

A Scotch Musical Miscellany by Stuart Eydmann

Just heard about Stuart's new website, at  (It also contains a link to his Rare Tunes recordings pages.)  Do take a look - it's a beatifully designed site.
Here's how he introduces it:-
"The Miscellany is concerned with aspects of the traditional and popular music of Scotland and complements other print, recorded, archival and on-line resources.
"There is a page for longer articles on traditional music, a ‘scrap book’ page for archival material, links to key policy texts, selected playlists of video content and on-line music tracks, a photographic archive and dedicated areas on certain instruments and subjects. All material is published in PDF form for portability and the layout has been designed to suit the iPad and other electronic reading devices as well as print at A4. Articles are dynamic and will be amended in the light of new information and feedback, with all changes marked by version numbers."

Scottish Vernacular Discography

So, what's that?

It's a listing of early Scottish music recordings.  Compiled by William Dean-Myatt, you'll find it on the National Library of Scotland website.  NB they host the listing, but it's not a catalogue of their stock.

Recommended that you take a look - The Scottish Vernacular Discography

Thanks to Stuart Eydmann for alerting Whittaker to this invaluable resource!

Rare Tunes for Scots Musos

Two useful websites for Scottish traditional musicians:-

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

How do you cite a Tweet?

There is a correct way, as The Modern Language Association explains.  (This newspaper article, by Alexis C. Madrigal for The Atlantic, was tweeted to Whittaker by research-support guru The Thesis Whisperer.)

Caledonian Pocket Companion just THERE, on my laptop!

Whittaker is getting over-excited.  The National Library of Scotland's Digital Gallery is that good!

Right now, he has found the Caledonian Pocket Companion - all the notes, nice and clear, for a multitude of 18th century famous Scottish tunes.  What's not to love?!  And you can download the whole thing.

Here's 'The lass of Patie's Mill'

And here's the whole Digitized Gallery Special Collections of Printed Music.  If you need historic Scottish music, this is a fabulous place to start.  It's really useful for our AHRC Bass Culture project, too.)

The Forbes Cantus - reprinted and now digitised

Cantus, songs and fancies, to three, four, or five parts, both apt for voices and viols With a brief introduction to musick. As is taught in the musick-school of Aberdeen
[A plaine and easie introduction to practicall musicke]

So important was the seventeenth century ''Forbes Cantus in Scottish musical history, that a Paisley publisher reprinted it in the late nineteenth century.   In 1879, when it was well out of copyright, Alexander Gardner produced this edition, 'reproduced  by photolithography for the new club series'.  Gardner reprinted a number of such sources. 

And it has now been digitised by the National Library of Scotland. 

View it here.
NLS catalogue record for printed volume here.
NLS Digitised Gallery, containing 200 digitised Scottish music books.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Celebrating our Irish Connections

Tomorrow, Tuesday 22nd January, the Whittaker Library is hosting an event by Dr Margaret Bennett and Kath Hardie, with extra input by two of our Honours Year Scottish Music students, Robyn Stapelton and Ainsley Hamilton.

It's at 5 pm in the Whittaker Library, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  Come along!

Bursting into Verse

What kind of postings are most useful to you?  Do let us know!  Events?  Databases?  Library information?

Meanwhile - no more limericks yet, but this popped into mind:-

I live in Testosterone Towers
Where man-flu's got two out of three
I'm safely at work in the Library
With plenty of Vitamin C.

Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools 2013

20th Anniversary

Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools


4-11 August, The Parley of Instruments

11-17 August, Philip Thorby and Friends

Whittaker received a batch of leaflets in the post today.  You'll find all the details on the Cambridge Early Music website,

Burnsfest - Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Burns-related events continue at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, until 26 January.  Find out more here.

Stravinsky and Film - a blogpost you might like

Bibliolore is a musicology blog, from RILM (the music abstract and indexing people).

Today's post on Stravinsky and Film is excellent. Do visit it!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Edinburgh Doors

One of 'Whittaker's' eccentricities is a fascination with the places where 'his' early Scottish song collectors hung out. 

So, two weeks ago, he snapped this picture of Walter Scott's childhood doorway in George Square, just round from the University Library.  

And now - wonder of wonders, an Edinburgh church historian has facilitated the location of the first site of an Episcopalian church, St Peter's Edinburgh, at 3 Roxburgh Place.  Another door, oh yes indeed.  A listed building, no less.  This, ladies and gents, is the church where Alexander Campbell was organist.  We're told it was in Nicolson Street, but actually Roxburgh Place is in a parallel street.  Will Whittaker manage to gain access?  Who knows, but we'll try!

The clergyman paid, out of his own pocket, for two flats on the ground floor, which were used as the church until the congregation grew and moved to different premises in 1807. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Cold and Raw, as Robert Burns wrote

Somewhere in Norwich, a snow cat shivered ...
It's the weekend, and Whittaker ventures off-topic to share this whimsy with 'his' followers:  Whittaker's sister sculpted a snow-cat up a tree.  Such wasted, undiscovered talent!  Such dedication to art on a cold, snowy day ...

Another Summer School - Piano in Stadt Fellbach, Germany

Stadt Fellbach Musikschule

13th Summer Masterclasses for Piano

26 July - 2 August 2013

Today, Whittaker received details of this summer school for pianists.  It's under the direction of Klaus Hellwig (Berlin).  For more details, click here.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Arts and Audiences - call for papers

Here's a conference looking for papers about engaging new audiences.  Worth a look!

Google Scholar augments subject-specific finding aids

Yes, we've got appropriate music and drama online resources.  And of course, there's Zetoc. But for a small institution, unable to subscribe to all the resources and indices that big university libraries can offer, then sometimes you need to be more - well, resourceful.

Whittaker has blogged about Wikipedia before.  Don't rule it out, but be aware of bias and potential inaccuracies.

So - everyone uses Google.

Here's another idea: Google Scholar.  Find it here (or Google it!).  A useful tip, if you're looking for material by or about a particular person, is to put your search term in inverted commas.  For example, "Winston Churchill".  It brings up more scholarly material than a bog-standard Google search.

Give it a go!

A new buzzword - MOOCs

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course.  Such courses are free, and not credit-bearing, but they're the latest thing in outreach - a number of universities are beginning to offer them.   You can typically sign up for a short online course, chosen from a course catalogue. 

There's been quite a bit about them in THE (Times Higher Education) in recent weeks - they started in the United States, but some English universities are offering them too.  Lori Watson found the music ones offered through Coursera, so we thought we'd share the olink with you. 

Coursera isn't the only provider - there are others, too.  (Obviously it's easier for universities if they can have an agent handling access to a whole catalogue of courses, and easier for you if you access courses by various universities all at once.)  Thus, the Open University has recently launched Futurelearn.  (Read the THE article here.)

Coursera MOOCs about Music - click here.
Futurelearn - courses still pending.  Click here.


Summer course opportunity: Orchestra Academy, Westfalen

Details of another course, this time in Germany, from a leaflet that landed in Whittaker's in-tray today: The Penderecki Musik Academie Westfalen (12 Aug - 1 Sept 2013)

Here's a taster from the musik:akademie westfalen website:-

Plans and objectives
  • Krzysztof Penderecki, the most famous and influential modern composer, will be directing the second »penderecki musik:akademie westfalen im forum mariengarden burlo« from 12th August to 1st September 2013.
  • The »penderecki musik:akademie westfalen im forum mariengarden burlo« is the summer orchestra academy forming part of the international classical music festival »musik:landschaft westfalen« which has been held since 2009. It is designed as an annual summer academy with international participation, featuring well-known teachers who give orchestra academies, master-classes for individual instruments, composition workshops or courses on certain themes.

It's a new year - what competitions will you enter?!

 Compete!  Get yourself known!

Whittaker was sent details of a useful website listing world competitions for performers:- 

Musicology today - news from the Royal Musical Association

Are you involved in music research?  A lot is going on in the Royal Musical Association - here's a summary, but do visit the website for more info, and why not consider joining (if you haven't already)?  There's a student rate, too.



RMA-supported conference, "Rethinking Poulenc: 50 years on", 21-3 June 2013, Keele University. Deadline for proposals of 20-minute papers: 18 January 2013. Details.

Mediaeval text 

RMA-supported conference, "Performing medieval text - a tautology?", 10-11 May 2013, Merton College, Oxford. Deadline for proposals of 20-minute papers: 3 February 2013. Details.

Music and Philosophy 

RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group, 3rd Annual Conference, 19-20 July 2013, King's College London. Deadline for proposals of individual or collaborative papers, themed paper sessions, or lecture-recitals: 8 February 2013.  Details

19th Century British music 

RMA-supported Ninth Biennial Conference on Music in nineteenth-century Britain, 24-7 June 2013, Cardiff University. Deadline for proposals of 20-minute individual papers, 40-minute lecture-recitals, 50-minute round tables, and 120-minute panel sessions: 15 February 2013. Details.

British poets in music 

RMA Study Day, "20th-century British poets in music", 28 June 2013, University of Hull. Deadline for proposals of papers or compositions: 15 February 2013. Details.



RMA-supported conference, "Richard Wagner’s impact on his world and ours", 30 May - 2 June 2013, University of Leeds. Details.


Visit for information on more RMA conferences from June 2013 onwards.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Burns in Song - a Feast of Singing

There's a Robert Burns event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh this Friday:- 

Burns in Song - A Feast of Singing 

Friday 18th January 2-5pm (Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR).  Details here.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Musical Limericks Again?

D'you remember Whittaker's series of musical limericks last year?  Well, it seems the brass ones in particular attracted quite a bit of interest.  (I looked at the stats!)  I'm curious - why the interest in brass players?!

So, here's a quick link back to the whole series - now, would anyone care for a new set?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

All Celts Together

We've been looking at Ireland's The Gathering website.  If you have Irish ancestry or connections, you can check an interactive map to see where events are taking place.

Why not try it out for yourself?  (Then get out the bodran, fiddle, flute or harp, and head for the Emerald Isle during 2013 ...)

  • Twitter @GatheringIRL

Monday, 7 January 2013

Indonesian CDs - an uplifting story

Three cheers for social media!

Further to Whittaker's frustrations with the Indonesian CD series ...

It is truly astounding what the internet can achieve!  Within a few minutes, we'd contacted someone in Heidelberg who did their doctorate at the School of Oriental and African Studies.  And they contacted someone else, who was actually in Indonesia at the time.  A third person volunteered his assistance via Twitter.

When Whittaker returns after 'his' week off, it will be to explore the information he's been so kindly sent.  

Keep watching this space!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Indonesian CDs - and a sinking heart

 2013 Challenge #1

'Whittaker' eagerly opened the two boxes of Indonesian CDs, kindly gifted by another HE Library which was discarding them. There are two problems.  No-one on the library staff reads Thai script.  Some of the CDs have little or nothing in our own Roman alphabet.  This means cataloguing them poses an intriguing challenge!  And the vast majority of the CDs are from BHISMA (Balinese Historical and Instructional Study Material Archive). They're in a series, with titles in the Roman alphabet, but the titles mean nothing to us!

Step 1.  Find out if we have any Thai students ...
Step 2.  See if there exists a listing of the entire series of CDs from BHISMA ...

[Watch this space!]

Your child can WIN a family weekend away!

Think parent power!  You work so hard for those kids ...

Now, if you can get them to write a short story for the Herald newspaper's competition, they can repay you by winning a family weekend away!  A win-win situation, I'd say.  Here are the details.

They have to submit their story by 14th January, and must be aged 17 or younger.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Golden Pages - conference listings for musicologists

Golden Pages (click here)

Whittaker would be failing in 'his' duty to budding musicologists if we didn't share this key resource for anyone interested in attending or organising a music conference.  So, here are the Golden Pages.

You first need to get a login to the Golden Pages WordPress blog.  If you experience any difficulty with this initial step, you'll find the webmaster's email link on the conference listing login page.

'Whittaker' recently posted details of the Musica Scotica for editorial approval - and here's the link.

First The Year of Homecoming, and now The Gathering

We had our Scottish Year of Homecoming in 2009, and it was so successful that it's being repeated in 2014 (

But before that, let's help our Celtic cousins celebrate in Ireland, where 2013 marks The Gathering.  Same concept. There's an interesting piece in the Irish Times by Felicity Hayes-McCoy today, reflecting on this event. 

If you enjoy Felicity's writing, I might add that she is the author of The House on an Irish Hillside, and writes about cultural Celtic traditions - I commend the book to anyone interested in this subject.

Whittaker's Holiday Websurfing

Whittaker admits that 'he' wondered what to share with you today after the holidays.  So, rather like Alistair Cooke's Letters from America, here are Whittaker's Postcards from Cyberspace:-

  • The Scottish Book Trust promotes Scottish literature - well worth a look, if you're interested in what's up and coming in the world of books.
  • The Scottish Music Centre is another vital link for musicians, but have you ever explored their Membership Schemes?  Make that a New Year's Resolution, maybe!
  • Edinburgh University Library's 'special collections' department is now called the Centre for Research Collections.  If you're researching historical Scottish music sources, it's an essential port of call.  Find out more here.
  • 'Whittaker' heard about a new social media website, RebelMouse, which aggregates your activities across a wide variety of platforms.  A bit like, but you might like to experiment with it to see if it suits you.  Here's mine - and all I did was set up my account!  The rest is done for you.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Trending: RebelMouse

RebelMouse is a new site which aggregates your social media postings.  'Whittaker' (aka Karen McAulay) is an early beta user, acting as your guinea-pig to see how it all works.

And this is how!

Definitely worth a look:

Happy New Year! A contribution to the seasonal wisdom ...

Many years ago, 'Whittaker' had an autograph book.  Miss Hill, the then Headmistress of Norwich High, inscribed in that book, 'Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration'.  How very true!  This greetings card reminded me of those words:-

My resolution for 2013 is not to lose sight of this philosophy - and to go on perspiring gently!!  What's yours?