Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Edinburgh University's Will Lamb writes about Strathspey originating in Western Isles

Will Lamb's article is in the latest Scottish Studies journal, and is entitled 'Reeling in the Strathspey'.

Can't wait to read it - meanwhile, here's a taster in the Scotsman - Scotland on Sunday: Brian Ferguson writes, 'Strathspey fiddle' traced to Western Isles 

And it's causing a stir in The Herald, too: 'Strathspey music does not come from Strathspey' (Monday 1st July 2013)

Friday, 28 June 2013

Unsung Composers: interesting website

Mysterious but Useful 

Unsung Composers Forum 

The somewhat prosaic appearance is misleading: this discussion forum is a useful website for looking up forgotten and little-known composers of the Romantic era.

Whittaker hasn't established the origin of this forum, but can advise that it's 'powered by Simple Machines® Forum (SMF) software', which seems to facilitate a number of forums.  And it works!  I looked up Otto Mans the other day - found all I needed to know - and today I looked up Armas Jarnefelt.  Not only did I find biographical details - I even found a CD of the Berceuse for Violin and Orchestra, which I've been playing as an organ arrangement.  Very handy!  (And beautiful, actually.)

Mise en Scene - a new series. First, Madame Butterfly

Mise en Scene is a new series about opera production and direction.  Read more on Bibliolore's latest blogpost.

Series website

Whittaker thinks our Opera School might be interested in this.  Let us know what you think!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

String Chamber Music Gift

The Whittaker Library recently received a substantial gift of string ensemble music from the Borland and Irving collection.  They're being added to stock this week.

Try the New Acquisitions button on our catalogue homepage to see what's new in the Library.  It retrieves the latest 20 items added to stock.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Pipes on Tyneside, Pipes in Oman

Back from the Northumbrian Minstrelsy gig at The Sage, 'Whittaker' went online to see if Chris Ormston's virtuosic 'I saw my love come passing by' was anywhere to be found. Of course it was!  Take a listen - Chris's Northumbrian smallpipe playing is phenomenal.  Here ... 

And here's more - Chris playing music from the Clough Manuscripts (Soundcloud)

As I said, don't imagine pipes are solely in the hands of the Scots!  And - on that note - here's Bibliolore's latest blogpost on The Sultan's Bagpipes.  Good timing, Bibliolore!

Now to play those smallpipes tracks one more time ... good thing 'Whittaker' isn't in the library today, isn't it?!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Whittaker and Northumbrian Minstrelsy

In which the 'real' Whittaker goes Back to his Roots

We've blogged about William Gillies Whittaker before - how he was the first joint Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow, and Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. But while we're proudly claiming him as our own, let's not forget he was originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, and something of an authority on Northumbrian minstrelsy.

A 1965 edition of a book on the subject (the much earlier first edition of Northumbrian Minstrelsy was published in 1882) - cites Whittaker's opinions of it. Northumbrian Minstrelsy, ed. J. Collingwood Bruce and John Stokoe, 1882, (and 1965 foreword by A. L. Lloyd), can be read online in pdf here.

Fast forward to the present.   There's a Northumbrian Minstrelsy concert at The Sage, Gateshead, on Sunday 23 June 2013.  Details here.  It's organised by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle.  The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland notified its members in a recent newsletter.  'Whittaker' (latter-day blogger on behalf of the Whittaker Library) decided to connect the circle by attending the concert.  'He' can hardly contain his excitement, and his minstrel jacket will undoubtedly get an airing.

Minstrels are evidently very much alive and well.  (Not that readers of this blog need any reminding of that fact!)

Friday, 21 June 2013

New writers wanted for performance installation - Creative Scotland

Write then tell a story - on the Glasgow streets.

The Creative Scotland website tells you all you need to know.  If you're interested in street theatre, all the better!

 "As part of SURGE 2013, Ferran Orobitg of Catalan street theatre company Fadunito, will be presenting Externet, a new, playful interactive outdoor installation looking at intimacy in public spaces and communication between strangers. Externet involves performers reciting stories they’ve written themselves, each to a single audience member.

"For the Glasgow performances of Externet, Ferran is seeking to run a workshop with a group of first-time - or non-established - writers from as broad a range of backgrounds as possible. The workshops will involve an exploration of a variety of approaches to writing for performance..."  (Read more)

Let us Play - Drama Online Database

New Database Subscription for Drama School

We just can't wait!  We just had to share this news with you - the Whittaker Library is soon to subscribe to Drama Online.  We have trial access until the new academic year starts, which means our community can start using it, on site, right now.  Once we have the full subscription, staff and students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will be able to access it from home, too.

Take a look!

Found and Favourited - Links you might Like

Where are your favourites stored? On a device or in the cloud?  Whittaker likes cloud-based Diigo, so that's the first favourite link to share today:- 

The fact that there's an android app (PowerNote) which syncs with Diigo is of course a powerful incentive to use it all the more.

Evernote is another useful tool, to keep track of all manner of action-lists and memos:-

But let's get back to those favourites.  Whittaker's recent Diigo links include these:-

  • Burns Scotland - (does what it says, authoritatively and without kitschy tartan gimmickry)
  • Book Riot - a blog about books -
  • Scottish Music Centre - Opportunities and Competitions page:-
  • Khan Academy - have you heard about 'Flipping the classroom'?  Online teaching using YouTube and student-led learning, as advocated by Salman Khan:-  (The Whittaker Library is buying Khan's book - we'll tell you when it arrives.)
  • Fresh on the Net - share your tracks here!  Tom Robinson tells you about the scheme here:-
  • "This blog grew up out of a radio show called BBC Introducing: Fresh On The Net (read more) which I hosted on BBC 6 Music from October 2007 to April 2012.  Through the show I encountered many gifted individuals who shared my enthusiasm for new music and a dozen of them have now joined me here online under the name Team Freshnet. Our mission remains the same: to promote independent music making in all it forms – and to connect listeners with new music and musicians with new listeners."


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mind-Reading: Inside a Conductor's Mind

We do love our conductors ... truly, we do!

Compulsory reading for all music librarians and music library staff - Christopher Seaman published Inside Conducting last year, and the first part is subtitled 'The Conductor's Mind'.  (Wouldn't we all like to get inside there?!)

Shetland's Young Singer-Songwriters

Article in Shetland Times by Malachy Tallack today - read it here.

Monday, 17 June 2013

A survey for music lovers/performers with hearing aids

Help a research study at the University of Cambridge - if you wear hearing aids, could you spend 5 minutes answering this questionnaire, please?

Listening to Music Through Hearing Aids

Links with Scotland's Musical Past - Lillias Scott Forbes with Tom Hubbard

Nonagenarian poet Lillias Scott Forbes talks to Tom Hubbard at the Whittaker Library's next event tomorrow, Tuesday 18th June at 4 pm.

Lillias is the daughter of composer Francis George Scott, whose compositions are represented in our Library.  (He was active between the First and Second World Wars - read more about him in John Purser's Scotland's Music.)  And Lilias was married to Erik Chisholm, a twentieth century Scottish composer who spent much of his adult life in South Africa.  

You can read more about this epoch in Scotland's musical history in further books by Purser, but our poetry reading focuses on the work of Lillias and another poet published by Grace Note Publications, Tom Hubbard.

Lilias Scott Forbes - Views from the Bench
Tom Hubbard - The Chagall Winnocks

There will be musical input nonetheless, with high tenor James Lee Slimings singing, and playing a piano solo by Francis George Scott and Erik Chisholm.

Free admission, with light refreshments.  Don't miss it!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Pecha Kucha? Gotcha!

A Pecha Kucha presentation sounds intriguing or intimidating, depending how tech-savvy you are.

There is nothing to it!  (The website explains that it's just a way of presenting 20 slides for 20 seconds each.  It also tells you about scheduled pecha kucha events - but you can adopt the principle without signing up to the pecha kucha website.)

My first timed pecha kucha
Obviously, what you want is a visible timer to keep you right, and automated slide advances.  (You also want to make sure your slides are simple, clear, and can be covered verbally in just under 20 seconds!)

So, here's how to get a visible timer into your presentation.  (I did mine the easy way, but I've since played around with templates and worked out the proper way to do it!)

EASY.  If you're not comfortable with templates, you can do it this way:-
  1.  Make your presentation
  2. Here's a link for a countdown timer gif -open the link then select and copy the red timer
  3. Insert a countdown gif on each slide (use Control + v) - make sure it's the same position every time, so it doesn't "jump" visually when you advance slides in your presentation.
PROPER WAY.  Create a template with your timer on it.
  1. Here's a link for a countdown timer gif -open the link then select and copy the red timer
  2. In PowerPoint, click New.
  3. Click on View
  4. Click on Master layout
  5. Add your timer to top or bottom right hand corner (Control + V)
  6. Save as Powerpoint template, with a recogniseable name
  7. Use this template whenever you need to use a timer - it should appear on every slide, if you've saved the master.
Whichever way you chose, you now want to get your presentation advancing automatically:-
  1. Go to Transitions
  2. Look at the Advance Slide tab
  3. Adjust to the number of seconds you want.  (To fit in with the 20-second timer, clearly you need a 20 second advance!) 
Save the presentation!  Take care - if you've made a template, you now want to save the finished presentation as a PowerPoint, but not as a template, ie pptx not potx format.

I've uploaded my presentation on - but I'm sharing a version without the whizzy timed presentation, in case the embedded version couldn't handle it.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Combining Film, Theatre, Victorian Gothic at Glasgow's Tramway

Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner Reconstructed by Untitled Projects 

Bright made an incomplete staging of Victorian poet and novelist James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner - a weird, strangely compelling Gothic novel.

The Tramway offers a mixing-together of Bright's work filmed, and new film material.  Details here ...

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Last-minute reminder - short film competition

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland film students already know about DepicT

Can you do it in 90 seconds?

Watershed's super-short filmmaking competition as part of Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival

Take a look here:- 

Hurry - competition closes tomorrow!   Good luck to our entrants.

One-World Schoolhouse (Salman Khan)

Flipping the Classroom, and teaching via YouTube

One of the most exciting books Karen has read for a while, this is about Salman Khan's revolutionary new approach to education via online technology.  Reading it, you begin perhaps with a little scepticism - does this approach really work?  What about the pedagogy behind it?  But the figures speak for themselves - the Khan Academy gets results.

We've bought a copy for the Whittaker Library - click here!

Details here

Scottish Songbook by a Victorian Glasgow Music Professor

Readers may be interested to read the Summer issue of Musical Times, which contains an article on a Scottish Songbook by the first Euing Music Professor at what was to become the University of Strathclyde.

NB - The Whittaker Library has the paper copy of this journal - we don't have online access.  However, it'll be on JSTOR by 2017!

‘Appropriate melodies’ and ‘natural modes’: two Victorian Scottish songbooks, Musical Times, Summer 2013 pp.91-106 – we don’t have it online here at RCS, though we do have the paper version.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Poetry Reading in The Whittaker Library: Lilias Scott Forbes and Tom Hubbard

Come and enjoy a peaceful hour at the end of your working day - a poetry reading in the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  We are proud to welcome poets Lillias Scott Forbes and Tom Hubbard.  There will also be live music from singer/pianist James Slimings.

Tuesday 18th June, 2013, at 4 pm.

See you there! 

Holiday Reading?

If you want to get ahead in your studies next year, don't forget to take one or two texts away with you - for a rainy day!  

Our library catalogue -

Clog Dancing with Alex Fisher - Eccleston Heritage Clog

All dancing is physical and rhythmic, but clog dancing is tantamount to human percussion, isn't it?

This link to Eccleston Heritage Clog tells you more about it.  And although Eccleston is in Lancashire, DVDs can be obtained.  Watch this space ...

Academic Integrity, Plagiarism, or Simple Misunderstanding

An article in the Times Higher Education magazine suggests students don't always mean to plagiarise, but actually don't understand what counts as plagiarism.

Read "I'm no plagiarist, I moved a comma", by Elizabeth Gibney (THE 6 June 2013).

There's another Whittaker Live posting about academic integrity, which we posted on 20 May.  Read it here:-

Academic Integrity and Internet Searching

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Scottish Saxophones and Spanish Cellos: Arranging National Tunes for Small Ensembles

Sax Ecosse at Buchanan Bus Station
A veritable blogfest about song-arranging can be found here on the True Imaginary Friends blog.  Take a handful of old national songbooks, and pick an ensemble to write for.  Are you ready?  

Here are some of the results!

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Unstoppable Whittaker Live - Cultural Links for Creatives

Students are leaving for well-deserved holidays and summer activities, but the Whittaker Library continues to offer useful links to events, forums, networking opportunities and much more.

This week, we've offered a vast array of information - bookmark our blog homepage at and see if any of these interest you.  But be quick! Some links are more time-sensitive than others!
Guardian Culture Professionals
Supporting your Creativity
Peter Maxwell Davies
Library Catalogue Lists  - and New Acquisitions
Strathclyde Youth Jazz
Oxford Bibliographies – a database trial
Practice DOES Make Perfect
The Emigrant’s Book Sale
The Profile of Women Composers
Networking on the Conference Circuit
Some Victorian Scottish Musicians

The Guardian - Culture Professionals Network

A very useful social networking link from the Guardian - 

Culture Professionals Network

Whittaker thinks you might find it worthwhile signing up to this - lots of interesting discussion for members of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland community.

For example, this week you're invited to share in:-

"Live online discussion:-  Innovating and inspiring: the future of music education -Join us from 12pm today to debate what a 21st century music education system should look like

"Audience development:- How to put audiences at the heart of art -Two arts venues explain why their audiences are more than just bums on seats"

How Can the Library Support Your Creativity?

We try to have the books and music our readers need, and we bring electronic resources to the attention of our community.

We have induction sessions, and sometimes we have library events, like book launches and poetry readings.

Would you like talks on different aspects of our collection?  Or are there other ways we could help?  Just a thought ...

Peter Maxwell Davies reaches 80 in 2014

Boosey and Hawkes featured a few of Max's compositions on the front page of their paper bulletin, Quarternotes, and there is already a webpage in anticipation of 'Max's big birthday:-

Boosey Celebrates Peter Maxwell Davies

'Whittaker' has looked up the pieces listed in Quarternotes, and you can find copies/recordings of them in one of our specially prepared library catalogue lists - here.  

Are you part of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland community?  Let 'Whittaker' know of any forthcoming performances of Peter Maxwell Davies' music, and we'll add to our catalogue list or feature the events on Whittaker Live.

Support Young Jazz Musicians - Concert Weds 12th June

Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra had their main concert last night, but the SYJO JAZZ SCHOOL has their concert next Wednesday.

Ramshorn Theatre, Wednesday, June 12th, 7p.m. SYJO Jazzschool

SYJO’s weekly Jazzschool brings together some of the most talented young musicians from across the West of Scotland. 2013 has been an exceptional year with several from the group now moving into full time music studies and SYJO’s advanced bands. Hear them here first, as the students end the year on a high note at the Ramshorn.

And then of course there's Glasgow's Jazz Festival, with an SYJO concert on 27th June.

Events page

You're looking at tomorrow's stars and young professionals!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Compile or Share Reading Lists with Classmates or Staff

It's no secret!

Here's a quick tip for staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland:-

Looking at already compiled lists

If you log into your library account via the Whittaker Library catalogue, you can gather together books, music and recordings into a list.  Add a description or keywords if you like.

Even if you're NOT logged in, you can see lists you made earlier - and any lists that anyone else has chosen to share!

It's easy to see the value of this function.

  • Teachers - compile a reading list for your students, and share it with them.  (We've done this for one of our teachers ... take a look by clicking on My Lists, and then Everybody's Lists)
  • Students - keep a note of things you intend to read/have read
  • Share a list of music with your class or ensemble
  • Share a list of plays with other acting students

Monday, 3 June 2013

Did you know? Latest Additions to Whittaker Library Catalogue

There's a link on our catalogue homepage, which tells you the most recent items added to our library stock.

Click here!

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Staff and Students Trial Oxford Bibliographies

Here’s an exciting free trial for an online music resource, for staff and students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.   It’s available until 29th June via internal access.

A member of our teaching staff asked about this, and it looks potentially very useful. (Oxford is the publisher that already gives us Grove Music online – an invaluable resource.)   The Whittaker Library is looking forward to getting feedback from members of the RCS community.  Details of the Trial :-

"Welcome to Oxford Bibliographies –  free trial access to the Music module is available to Royal Conservatoire staff and students until 29th June 2013

Your trial provides access to exclusive, authoritative research guides developed cooperatively with scholars and librarians worldwide. Combining the best features of an annotated bibliography and a high-level encyclopedia, this resource guides researchers to the best available scholarship across a wide variety of subjects.

Site Access Information:

To begin using Oxford Bibliographies, visit Users accessing the site via registered IP addresses will be automatically authenticated. Once you are authenticated, you can begin to access your trial immediately. 

Get the most out of your trial by exploring available and forthcoming subjects, taking a quick guided tour, or visiting our Help section for quick answers to many common questions you might have."  

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Emigrating Ethnomusicologist Sells Book Collection

An emigrating Ethnomusicologist and Scottish music scholar is retiring overseas.  They are selling much of their book collection.  There are bargains to be had.

As you know, 'Whittaker' doesn't sell things.  However, since this scholar is well-known to Whittaker and colleagues, here is the link to their book-sale.   Be quick!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Practice Makes Perfect - BufferApp says it happens to be true!

Read this great article, passed on to Whittaker by BufferApp:-

Practice Makes Perfect

(It's not about how to do your piano practice, though!  More to the point, it tells you about the neurological things that happen to your brain when you practice something repeatedly - whether music practice, or any  other skill!)

(By the way, let's introduce BufferApp -   It's a website for programming your tweets to appear at regular intervals.  Very useful!)

A Charitable Trust Raising the Profile of Women Composers

The Ambache Charitable Trust raises the profile of women composers, by funding people who promote this music to the widest possible circle. 

So, this is a trust that helps concert promoters.  Interested? Read on ...

This and That: Conferences and Study Groups

Some useful websites that 'Whittaker' has gleaned over the past few days:-