Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Now available on DT+ Eric Bentley at 100: On Brecht, Theatre, Politics and Writing

An interview with Bertolt Brecht's closest collaborator

"Digital Theatre Plus is proud to announce the release of an exclusive two-hour interview with Eric Bentley, conducted in New York in 2015 by Professor Anna Furse, Head of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths University. It provides a unique insight into the life and work of Bentley, Bertolt Brecht’s closest collaborator."
"Brecht did believe in himself, his talent. He was a Brechtian! But I'm not."
"One of Brecht’s strongest advocates, Eric Bentley introduced Brecht to the English-speaking world, and is often referred to as his offstage other.  This interview sheds significant light on the specifics of translating Brecht’s writing, the enduring power of his work, and the ideas and politics of a remarkable moment in history."

Staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland can view this interview via our DT+ subscription.  Access the interview with Eric Bentley here. (You'll need to use institutional login, aka Shibboleth, with your username and password, if you are off-campus.)

About Being an Opera Singer: Hanna-Liisa Kirchin at Grange Park Opera

Grange Park Opera is in Guildford, quite a long way from Glasgow!  Tweeting as @GrangeParkOpera, their byline promises "Exceptional opera in the UK's newest opera house - at a most elegant summer festival at West Horsley Place."

Their repertoire is interesting, and what interested us particularly today was the blogpost authored by one of their opera singers. If you're aiming for a career in opera, this might interest you. Hanna-Liisa tweets as  @Hanna_Liisa_K

Introducing Hanna-Liisa: Life of an opera singer

Monday, 22 May 2017

A new database for British musical festival repertoire, 1695-1940


This announcement has just been shared with music librarians world-wide.  If you're interested in the history of musical performance and repertoires, then a database of historical music festivals might be right up your street!  Extending from 1695 to 1940, it offers a wealth of information from over 250 years.

Let's quote from the announcement we've just received,
Announcing the Public Launch of the Musical Festivals Database (with apologies for cross-posting)
The Musical Festivals Database (MFD; is now launched! The MFD is a fully-searchable index of programs, personnel, ensembles and venues of musical festivals held in Great Britain between 1695 and 1940. As of May 15, 2017, the MFD contains searchable records for over 500 festivals. These records include complete programs for major festivals such as Birmingham, the Handel Festivals at the Crystal Palace, Leeds, Norwich, and the Three Choirs Festivals. Through searching the MFD, one can trace the dissemination of repertoire throughout Great Britain, track how a singer’s or performer’s repertoire changed over time, see the changes in ensemble size and makeup, or even gauge the popularity of a specific performer, composer, or composition. 
We invite you to explore the site and browse for your favorite performers and compositions. In the next few weeks, we will discuss ways we have used the MFD in classes on our Facebook page ( In the meantime, feel free to share any comments you have about the site and the information contained within it with us!
Technical: The MFD is an open-access research tool, freely available to all users. It is hosted by the Oberlin College Library, and was created and is supported in collaboration of the Oberlin College & Conservatory Office of Sponsored Programs, Duke University’s Digital Scholarship Services, the Five Colleges of Ohio, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The MFD was created by Charles Edward McGuire of Oberlin College & Conservatory and Chris Borgmeyer of Crooked River Designs. Undergraduate research assistants at Oberlin and graduate students at Duke completed much of the data entry for the MFD. 

The Aria Database 

While we're talking about databases, here's a really useful searchable database listing opera arias along with English translations - the Aria Database, boasting 1288 Arias - 177 Operas - 65 Composers - 389 Translations - 1027 Aria Texts - and 223 MIDIs  ...


Scottish musicians might also be interested in a brief history of the very first Edinburgh Musical Festival - NOT the festival that you know and love today, but one that was a brave new attempt way back in 1815 ... 'The First Edinburgh Musical Festival: 'Serious and magnificent entertainment', or 'A combination of harmonious and discordant notes'?' / Karen McAulay, Brio, vol.53 no.1, 35-46

Friday, 19 May 2017

Imagine Your References Sorted and Cited - How Good Would That Feel?

"Please Use the Harvard Style ..."

What do you need for your essay?
  • Have you been recommended to use the Harvard style of referencing, with an in-text reference matched with a bibliography at the end?  Eg, "McGonnigal (2016) asserts that all pigs are capable of flying ..."
  • Or do you need footnotes with full details at the bottom of the page? 
  • Or endnotes at the end of the essay?  
 Visit our Portal for information about what Harvard referencing should look like.  Ask a librarian, or get in touch with our Effective Learning Support team.  Or take a look at Anglia Ruskin University's helpful website.

Referencing (bibliographic, citation) software

Using referencing (also called 'bibliographic' or 'citation') software makes sure all your references are consistent and have the right information, so that your teachers can follow what you've been reading and where you're quoting from.  The RCS generally asks for the Harvard style.

The Performing Arts Librarians often tell people about referencing software.  There are various free versions available (and others that you have to subscribe to).  Basically, they all have two main functions - collecting and sorting your references, and then formatting them to insert into your writing.

Now, you don't have to use referencing software.  It's helpful and effective, but it's perfectly possible to do your references without it. However, if you're completely turned off by having to quote references in the right order with appropriate punctuation and all the relevant details, then referencing software will definitely make things easier for you.  And if you embed referencing software into your Word programme, then you can choose whichever form output you like.  You might need different formats for different purposes - Harvard here, but some other referencing style for a journal article, for example.

Alternatively, you might like using this kind of software just for keeping track of what you've been reading.


Find Quick Intros on YouTube!

What are your options?

The four most frequently mentioned sites are Mendeley and Zotero, Endnote and Cite This for Me (formerly RefME).  We recommend Mendeley or Zotero - but you can learn more about each one here:-
  • Mendeley (free, very usable, excellent if you use different devices at different times and need to synch across them) - take a look at Get Started With Mendeley (5 minute YouTube). Follow up with Referencing in Microsoft Word with Mendeley Desktop, but this takes 15 minutes).  
  • Zotero (great, but not quite as transferable across devices as Mendeley).  Here's a YouTube Tour of ZoteroIt's really good if you need to cite a wide variety of references.
  • Endnote (We don't subscribe, but our doctoral students can access it at the University of St Andrews)  And you can get a free trial, so if you're curious, maybe watch this YouTube video - How to Use EndNote in 5 Minutes (Windows) or other videos on the Endnote training page.
  • Cite This For Me (formerly RefMe) is not recommended, because the free version only lets you keep your references for a week. If you're curious, then here's a 6-minute YouTube video on How to Use Cite This for Me, from Plymouth College of Art.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A Contemporary Finnish Symphonist: Fridrich Bruk

We received a complementary CD from composer Fridrich Bruk earlier this week, showcasing four of his symphonies (nos. 13-16).  Look out for it on our new acquisitions display shelves.

The symphonies are performed by the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Imants Resnis.  

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Podcast Your Research

We've just found a great blog post on the LSE Impact Blog, about the benefits of disseminating your research using social media - and, specifically, by using podcasts.

Podcasting is like broadcasting, over the internet.  It tends to mean an audio recording, and means your research can potentially reach a much wider audience.  Have a look at this!  

When you're sharing something visual, then it's technically a screencast, and offers a whole load of different permutations of audiovisual media.

There's a book, Communicating Your Research By Social Media, which looks really interesting, but we'll get that later on this year.  For now, read the LSE Impact Blog and see if it sets you thinking!
  • What could you podcast about?
  • Or would you use a blog (with or without video)?
  • Or screencast a powerpoint (ditto)
  • Or screencast a powerpoint with voiceover?
  • What technical expertise would you need?
  • Would it be worth learning these skills?  (Rhetorical question!)

New Music for Guitar and Another Instrument by David Braid

Our postbag today included a kind donation of music by RCM guitar and composition graduate, the British David Braid (there's another David Braid, also a composer, in Canada).  So, guitarists - if you fancy trying out some new duets with a flute, mezzo-soprano or violin, just keep an eye on our new acquisition shelves!

  • Invocation and Continuum - flute and guitar
  • Songs of Contrasting Subjects - mezzo-soprano and guitar
  • Perpetual Pavan - violin and guitar
  • From Dance to Fugue - violin and guitar
 Check the catalogue here

Glasgow to Dorchester, Anyone? English Music Festival

We've just heard about a music festival which will undoubtedly be enjoyable ... are any of our readers going to be anywhere near Dorchester between 26th-29th May?  Click the link for more info.

English Music Festival

Warlock - Delius - Britten - Ireland - Dring (and more) 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Historical Accuracy: Dance a Branle or an Almaine

In the UK, we're fortunate to have an organisation called the Historical Dance Society.  If you are an actor or opera singer, you might be interested to learn how historical dances were actually performed, so  this is definitely a website to save to your favourites:-


The Ould Almaine
  • Dances from 12th to early 20th century
  • Music
  • Costume
  • Research
  • Education
  • Promotion
(As a matter of interest, the Society was formerly called the Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society.  Arnold Dolmetsch founded the firm that makes recorders, and the Historical Dance Society was named after his wife Mabel Dolmetsch.  You could say they left quite a cultural legacy!) 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

WFH (Working From Home) - Resources For Our Staff and Students

Staff and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland have a wide array of electronic resources to enhance their teaching and learning. But what if you're not on campus today?  Our e-resources can generally be used at home as well - no problem. And if you do encounter an access problem?  It's usually just a question of knowing how to login off-site.  We have instructions on the library portal pages.

Easy Offsite Access:- 
  1. Log into the Portal
  2. Look for the Library pages
  3. Look for the Offsite Access Guides
The Portal looks different for students and staff:-

STUDENT PORTAL   Log into the Portal

Once you get to the list of links, click on 'Offsite Access Guides for E-Resources' 
Please contact the library if you need further help getting into your chosen resource.


STAFF PORTAL  Log into the Portal 

 Once you get to the list of links, click on 'Offsite Access Guides for E-Resources' 
Please contact the library if you need further help getting into your chosen resource. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Ignacio de Loyola Glasgow Premiere


Starring RCS graduate Andreas Muñoz. This film is a modern and very human take on the story of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, often called ‘The Saint of Second Chances.’

As a brash, hot-headed soldier in a time of political upheaval in Spain, the young Iñigo went from living a life of brutal violence and debauchery, to becoming one of the greatest saints in the history of the Church. This film chronicles Iñigo’s torturous struggle to turn from darkness to light—a struggle that nearly destroyed him, but also gave him the key to a spiritual weapon that continues to save lives to this very day.

It was screened 10 May 2017, the first UK screening after the London premiere.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Friday, 5 May 2017

Musique Concrete and Silk Paper: a Percussionist's Kit

  'Allegro ma non troppo: 

version for solo percussion and tape'

by Unsuk Chin 

You wouldn't think cataloguing a new piece of music would cause so much intellectual activity!  In a recent consignment of new music, appeared 'Allegro ma non troppo: version for solo percussion and tape', by south Korean composer Unsuk Chin.  

Music using everyday objects is called musique concrete, and the list of instrumentation certainly places this piece into that category: the instrumentation list includes a kitchen grater, teaspoons, a 'thin, inexpensive wine glass' (we studied the score - you throw this particular glass into a trash bin), not to mention 2 large wine glasses and a small sturdy water glass, 2 clocks, a paperback book, 4 metal chains and sundry other items - oh, and some 'proper' percussion too.

Of more concern is the requirement for at least 81 pieces of silk paper.  We're not talking of silk-finish printer paper - not at all.  Rather, a YouTube video demonstrates it's a more delicate kind of paper.  Although silk paper can be hand-made,* it's probably not necessary to go to these lengths for your performance of this piece.  (Try Googling "silk paper".  It appears to be a kind of Asian tissue paper.)  Only one piece of the paper is required to be crumpled at the start of the performance, suggesting that the rest is crumpled 'en passant'.  So you'll need another 80 sheets for your next performance. 

Another list informs the enthusiastic percussionist of their technical requirements - a stage, 3 tables, 2 lighting zones, an assortment of hardware and a stereo tape, which can be obtained by emailing the publisher, Boosey and Hawkes.  (It comes with, and without the click-track.)  You'll need an in-ear monitor or playback monitors as well as 4 loudspeakers, which must have subwoofers.

Now, all we need is an enthusiastic percussionist to try this out for us.  The score uses standard percussion notation, with very clear instructions - it's not improvisatory.  Anyone up for adding it to their solo repertoire?

* Making Silk Paper, website by artist Lisa Volrath

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Reflection, Critical Commentary, Portfolio - it's All Coming Together

If you're a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, there's a sporting chance you will be polishing off some kind of portfolio or reflective journal this weekend.  Lots of courses have critical assessments of some description due for submission very soon.

How can the library help?  Do you need to cite references?  Could you do with any more reading matter, just to give weight to a theory or argument? (Or, indeed, to argue with?)

Maybe you could use a book on reflective practice, or learning journals, to see what approach other people have taken?

Or are you wondering if there's anything you could access online, to save having to make an unscheduled trip into the library?  Articles?  Recordings?  Maybe a play or opera production?

We're here for you!  Get in early, ask us today and we'll offer whatever help we can.  And don't forget, there's plenty of information on the library portal, and even more on our e-resources pages.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Acting graduate Andreas Muñoz stars in major new movie.

Ignatius of Loyola

Above is the trailer for a historical Roman Catholic drama shot in English in the Philippines about the life of  Saint Ignatius of Loyola, it stars former acting RCS graduate Andreas Muñoz.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish priest and theologian, who founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first Superior General, he was often called 'The Saint of Second Chances.'

Ignatius is remembered as a talented spiritual director. He recorded his method in a celebrated treatise called the Spiritual Exercises, a simple set of meditations, prayers, and other mental exercises, first published in 1548.

Andreas as an acting student was great user of the drama library when he was a student at RCS.  He would be happy to know that when the film is published later this summer on DVD we will be first to buy it for the library DVD collection.  

The Making of Ignacio De Loyola

A look behind the making of "IGNACIO DE LOYOLA" a modern and very human take on the story of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  This short documentary will be of interest to technical and production students as it shows many different technical aspects of creating a film set to represent 1500s Spain.

Monday, 1 May 2017

May Day for Grant Applications! This Time, Film and TV

We're not alone! We've come across another suggestion that you spend your Bank Holiday profitably, by applying for grant funding. This one's the Scottish Film Talent Network, promoting Scottish Shorts 2017.
(Meanwhile, the Whittaker Library is still open, whether you have assignments to write or the next film short to research and author!)

Celebrating Folksinger Jean Redpath and her work on Robert Burns' Songs

Jean Redpath Would Have Been 80

The celebrated Jean Redpath would have been 80 this year, and Bibliolore blog is marking the anniversary.  Read RILM's posting about Jean Redpath and Robert Burns.

(RILM is an online music abstract and indexing service.  Their Bibliolore blog is full of fascinating detail about a huge variety of different musical topics - well worth following.)

May-Day - Why Creative Artists Should Get Up Early

The story goes that milkmaids would wash their faces in the morning dew on 1st May, to make themselves beautiful and attract a handsome mate.

Forget the mythology!  Welcome to 2017.

Nowadays, we get up early to look for grant funding opportunities and chances to develop our careers in new and innovative ways.  In Scotland, Open Project Funding from Creative Scotland is an attractive continuous programme for people in the creative sector.  Obviously, there are terms and conditions, and the waiting time is longer if you're seeking larger amounts of funding.

So, if you got up early this May morning, why not put your time to good use and take a look at the Creative Scotland website?  The early bird catches the worm.  (Some sayings never go out of fashion!)  From the website:-
"Open Project Funding is a continuous programme, meaning that you can make an application at any time throughout the year and there are no deadlines. You will however need to allow enough time between when you apply and when you plan to start your project to allow Creative Scotland to undertake the assessment of your proposal."  Visit the website:-