Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

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

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