Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Musical Maggots, Anyone?

Glancing through a modern edition of an 18th century flute book, we found "John Anderson's Maggot". Strange, we thought.  We know the Robert Burns favourite, John Anderson, my Jo - but Maggot is hardly a term of endearment, so ... what's a maggot?

It's an early 18th century word for an earworm, apparently - an obsessive returning to a theme.  Right, so that fits the music in question perfectly - roughly speaking, a couple of variations on a theme loosely related to the Burns song.

Don't believe us?  In the BBC film of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, they danced Mr Beveridge's Maggot. Different tune, and Mr Beveridge was apparently a dancing master.
And then we found a web discussion about musical maggots, to add to the intrigue.  If you're interested in period "country dances", you might like to take a look:-
Karen doesn't dance, but even she thinks she could walk through this particular dance! (Now, what could we do creatively with John Anderson's Maggot ...?  A flute ensemble, maybe?)

And much more recently, Ernest Tomlinson included a maggot in his First Suite of English Folk Dances.  Our thanks to flautist and flute choir director Rachel from Sheffield Flute Choir for sharing this YouTube clip with us:-

Friday, 30 January 2015

You want 24:7? Whittaker Library offers 24:7 Premium Online Resources

When we aren't here in person, the Whittaker Library offers many premium web resources for the benefit of our students and colleagues. These are the kind of quality websites that often just aren't available to 'the man on the street' - we pay for our community to have access to this material.

It's all there on our Library and IT website, and also accessible via Moodle and Mahara.  For example, Alexander Street Press alone offers music and video to stream, and scores to print out:-
Music Online equals:
Audio: 590,494 albums (7,850,143 tracks)
Video: 2,114 titles (1,994 hours)
Scores: 49,961 scores (1,070,107 pages)
Reference: 124,091 pages

Our students and colleagues are urged to drop in if they require more information about what's available.The RCS login is needed to access databases off-site.

Be Inspired by Interviews with pianist Murray Perahia

The Whittaker Library subscribes to premium online resources like Alexander Street Press, for the benefit of our students and colleagues.  We pay so our community can reap the benefits!

For example, there's the Classical Music in Video series: this month Alexander Street Press have uploaded interviews with Murray Perahia:- 

"Not of this World: Murray Perahia. After over thirty years on the concert stage the pianist Murray Perahia (1947-) has himself become a legend, one of the most sought-after pianists of our time. Interviews with Murray Perahia cast light on his approach to music, his personality and the way he has managed to cope with the personal crises that has beset him."
We are the very helpful Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. We have the best opening hours of all UK conservatoires, and our online offerings are there for you 24:7.

Dancers, Take a Breather and Watch some Class Acts!

Ballet students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland don't have to rely on YouTube clips - we subscribe to streamed audio and video through Alexander Street Press.
This month they have added more video of ballets for you to stream, so sit down, take the weight off your legs and enjoy ...

Dance in Video Volume II: 19 titles (14 hours)

  • Romeos et Juliettes (Windrose). In the first hip hop ballet of Romeo and Juliet, with 7 hip hop dancers, 1 circus performer and 1 actor, director Sebastian Lefrançois revisits iconic scenes of the original play. The electronic music created by Vincent Artaud is superimposed on original symphony music by Laurent Couson.
  • Romeo and Juliet (Opus Arte). Given its premiere by The Royal Ballet in 1965 with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn dancing the title roles, Kenneth MacMillans first full-evening ballet has become a signature work for the Company, enjoying great popularity around the world. Although The Royal Ballet has performed Romeo and Juliet over 400 times, each performance and pairing is subtly different and Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli are utterly captivating in the title roles.
  • Extended Interview with Bill T. Jones (MacNeil-Lehrer Productions). An interview with Bill T. Jones about his work as a dancer and choreographer.
We are the very helpful Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - all our web resources are listed on the RCS website Library and IT pages, and also on Moodle and Mahara.  Ask if you need to know more!

Stream some Jazz Today!

Jazz-minded staff and students at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland might like this:  Alexander Street Press have just added these tracks to their streamed sound service:-

JAZZ: 2 albums, 30 tracks
The Whittaker Library subscribes so our Staff and Students don't have to!

Treat your Ears to some Stunning World Music

Alexander Street Press tells us they've added some great new world music to their Contemporary World Music collection this month.  Staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - try streaming this!

"50 albums, 622 tracks from Nimbus, Buda Musique, Six Degrees Records, ARC Music, and more:-
Nhó Viêt Nam Xu'a (Nostalgique Vietnam): Chansons de charme, poèmes et prières 1937-1954
Gaelic Scotland
Trance Percussion Masters of South Sudan
Portugal: Fado Dos Dias Assim
If you're off-campus, you'll need to login using your RCS username and password.

Hungry for New Audio Tracks? Stream This!

Alexander Street Press is continually adding new material, so staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland can never moan that there's nothing new to listen to!

This month they've added to the Classical Music Library ...

"a large number of albums featuring C20th and C21st composers, such as Luciano Berio, Dmitri Shostakovich, Steve Reich, and John Cage, and lesser-known and living composers who also deserve a spotlight. The following playlist helps to spotlight these additions: New in 2015 – Spotlight on Contemporary Composers 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Ewan MacColl Remembered

The Bibliolore blog has posted a piece about Ewan MacColl this week.  If you were at the Blood and Roses concert at Celtic Connections, maybe you'd be interested in this: 

Ewan MacColl and the BBC

You Just Want to Get it Right? It's an Issue in Cape Breton Music, too

We found an interesting article on the subject of "correctness" in traditional music.  It is actually from the sleeve notes of a Cape Breton CD, MacKinnon's Brook.  We're trying to get the CD from the USA, but meanwhile, you can enjoy reading the article!!

Here's the sleeve notes LINK - CLICK HERE.  The article was uploaded by Kate Dunlay, one of the authors.

Full details:-

Rounder 7040. Traditional Fiddle Music of Cape Breton series, Vol.4: MacKinnon's Brook, notes by Kate Dunlay and Mark Wilson; tune identifications by Paul Cranford. 

Friday, 23 January 2015

Who has to write an Assignment on Jazz History Performance?

Our Royal Conservatoire of Scotland jazz students have essays looming - the deadline's just a week away!

Don't sit at home panicking this weekend.  If you're free, get yourself into the library (Saturday 10-4, and Sunday 11-3) and see what you can find.  If you're tied up and can't visit, then log in to our online resources when you have a chance - there's loads to help you.

Here's a quick run-down:

In the Library

At home or in RCS, use our online catalogue  to find useful books and recordings.  You might like to try these searches:-
  • Jazz criticism
  • Music criticism
  • Blues criticism
  • Jazz arranging
(Don't forget, sometimes musicians have more than one form of their name, eg Charles Mingus is also known as Charlie Mingus.  Best search both ways to make sure you don't miss anything. This goes for internet searching, too!)

Internet-based resources, accessible anywhere. You'll need to use your RCS login if you're off campus

  • JSTOR - Full text access to lots of journal articles 
  • Oxford Music Online  The world's best music encyclopedia - jazz, trad, classical are all there. Eg look up Charles Mingus
  • Streamed jazz recordings on the Jazz Music Library database from Alexander Street Press. For example there are no less than 957 swing recordings.
  •  British Library Sounds is audio recordings of music and interviews with musicians.  For jazz musicians, there is Oral History of Jazz in Britain  - interviews with people, for example Terry Day was interviewed by Christopher Clark and they talk about Evan Parker and Sun Ra.

While You're Thinking about Tax ...

The UK's H.M. Treasury is currently holding an Open Consultation on Orchestra Tax Relief.  If you are involved with a professional orchestra, do ensure that your management knows about this.

Here's the link:-

Elegant Extracts from the early 1800s

Sorting through a shelf of assorted old music volumes, we found a tatty and comparatively uninviting old book which had never been catalogued.  However, the individual piano pieces and songs inside merited further investigation.  We invited our work-experience guest, Isla, to take a look at the contents. Here's Isla's report:- 

A Book Celebrating the Art of Composers in the early 1800s


Consisting of Airs with Variations, Rondos, Marches, Waltzes & Duets, this book is a truly valuable collection. The works within this compilation were bought separately by the original owner and then bound - so this book is unique, and the contents had never before been made into a collection to then be sold. 

Printed beautifully, this bound collection of music commemorates Haydn, Pleyel, Mozart, Kozeluch, Gyrowitz, Hofmeister and other talented composers, many of which had never before been published in Great Britain. 

Read a blogpost by Emma Greenwood, about historic bound music collections at Trinity Laban Conservatoire Library, here:-
 On the Pleasures and Sorrows of Cataloguing 19th Century Sheet Music

(Trinity Laban call these books "bound-with" volumes.  We call them Sammelband (plural, Sammelbände) or Collectors' volumes.  They're lovely, but hard work and often in rather dilapidated condition!)

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Libraries can be Inspirational in Surprising Ways - like this Harping Hare!

How do you like this harp-playing hare?  He was standing on an illuminated letter in a mediaeval manuscript that was shared with us on Twitter.  A few hours later, a modern interpretation was adorning a music folder. 
Just one of the many ways you can find inspiration in a library! So - tell us about yours!

World War One Accents and Dialects

If you're studying the Voice and Text modules at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, you may be interested to know about two web resources that the Library subscribes to.
Both are partially available on open public web access, but our subscription gets our members access to more of this quality material.

WWI Accents - on Scran database

You can find World War One accents on a Scottish web-resource called Scran.  There's a special page for WW1, and this link will take you to it.  (You'll have to login by selecting the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and then using your usual RCS login.)


WWI Accents on British Library Sounds website

You can find World War One accents on the British Library's 'British Library Sounds' database.  Go to the homepage and click on the link for Accents and Dialects.  (If you're off-campus, you'll have to login by selecting the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and then using your usual RCS login.) 

We are the very helpful Whittaker Library, here to help our staff and students access quality information for their teaching and learning.

Find Me a Flute Quartet!

From Empty Stand to Full Programme in 3 Easy Steps

Did you know we index all our chamber music in the Whittaker Library, so it's easy for musicians to find the right stuff for their ensemble?
For example - here are our flute quartets.
  1. Go to the catalogue here.
  2. Enter the ensemble you need, eg Flute4 (See the format? Instrument and number, with no space between?)
  3. Find the music.  Ask a member of staff if you can't find it on the shelves.

RCS Drum Tutor Alyn Cosker joins Piano Master Blanco in Celtic connections

A Guest Blogpost  by journalist Rob Adams

Celtic Connections Concert, Sunday 1 February

“Musician” seems hardly adequate to describe Leo Blanco, the Venezuelan pianist who flies in to appear at Celtic Connections with three of Scotland’s leading jazz talents on Sunday, February 1.

As well as playing in groups such as this South American-Scottish quartet, Blanco is a concert pianist who has worked with top symphony orchestras. He is also a composer, whose works have been performed by leading string quartets in the United States and by the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, and is professor of piano studies at the famous Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts.

But that’s not all. Blanco’s first instrument was the violin, which he played in the youth

orchestra from the age of eleven in his home town of Merida, in Venezuela’s Andean region, and when he moved to the capital, Caracas, to study piano in his teens, he worked as a bassist in one band and as a drummer in another to improve his knowledge of these roles when writing for his own group.

“My parents weren’t musical,” says Blanco, “but they wanted their kids to at least get some enjoyment from music and when I was about seven or eight, a piano arrived in our house. I was immediately drawn to it, to try and work out melodies I’d hear on the radio or on records. But I also liked the violin because it seemed to me at the time the closest instrument to the human voice.”

Practising was never a chore to Blanco and the hours he put in set him on the fast track, firstly to Caracas, where he studied at the Ars Nova Institute and the University of Musical Studies and then to Boston, where he attended both Berklee and the New England Conservatory.

He quickly became recognised in the United States, becoming the first Latin American to win the prestigious Boston Jazz Society and Billboard Grant awards and he has gone on to perform all over the world, including at the Edinburgh Fringe, where in 2006 he was presented with The Herald newspaper’s Angel award for excellence in performance.

More recently Blanco has toured the UK in 2013 as a solo pianist, earning rave reviews. (Indeed, we noted his visit to Glasgow that year.)  His latest visit to Scotland reunites him with Brazilian-born bassist Mario Caribe, saxophonist Paul Towndrow, of the Brass Jaw horn quartet, and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s powerhouse drummer and RCS drum tutor, Alyn Cosker who, with Blanco, form the Blue Lamp Quartet, named after the scene of their triumphant first gig together at Aberdeen Jazz Festival in 2007.

“I’m really looking forward to working with these guys again,” says Blanco. “That gig we played in Aberdeen felt electric and the crowd were so responsive. So it’ll be great to meet up again and bring some sunny Latin American music to the Scottish winter.”