Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 21 October 2016

Whittaker Library - Using the Catalogue and E-Resources

Hey, we now have a Whittaker Library YouTube presentation! Don't get too excited - you won't find librarians doing cartwheels or anything like that - it's just about using the library catalogue and exploring some of our electronic resources.  We thought that a few slides with a voiceover might just be helpful to any of our new students who haven't had much to do with online catalogues or databases before.

It's here (imagine your own fanfare):- Using the Library Catalogue and Accessing Electronic Resources

It "does what it says on the tin"!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

E-Journals, E-Portfolios and Reflective Practice

New arrivals at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland may find they have a whole new vocabulary to learn - and not specifically about music, drama or dance!

This is the age of the reflective journal.  It's expected that we will reflect on our practice, whether it's teaching a subject, learning an instrument, or providing student support in the library or admin departments.  So ... students are asked to keep e-journals and e-portfolios, and - embracing new technology - to make use of the virtual learning network (Moodle), and to explore the brand-new Portal (based on Wordpress), for sharing documents in various formats.

But what if you're not used to this explicit reflection at every turn?  Sure, you think about what you do, but maybe you haven't sat down to write commentary about your practice before now?
Don't panic!  The Whittaker Library has plenty of material about reflective practice and reflective journals - both "real books" and electronic resources.  And of course, the great thing about e-resources is that you can access them from anywhere.  So, settle down with that tablet or laptop and have a quick read to see if there are aspects of your performing/compositional/creative practice that you never thought of reflecting upon before.

Reading list for Reflective Practice

Monday, 17 October 2016

Music Librarianship: the E T Bryant Award

This is an award for early career music librarians. You can find full details on the IAML(UK and Ireland) website.

"The E.T. Bryant prize of £300 is awarded at the Branch's Annual General Meeting for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship, by a student or group of students of Library and Information Science, or to a librarian in their first five years of music librarianship."
The closing date is 12 December 2016.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Get Your (Georgian) Dancing Shoes On! Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Four exciting events are coming up for historic dance enthusiasts, both at the Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street Edinburgh.  And to prepare for these events, there is a series of Saturday Regency dance classes.  Talitha Mackenzie is the organiser and can be contacted for more info:- talithamac at gmail dot com.

"In honour of the Bicentennial of Nathaniel Gow’s introduction of Quadrilles to Edinburgh, there will be a Regency Ball at the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms on 11th of March, 2017. Music will be provided by Nathaniel Gow's Dance Band (members of Concerto Caledonia)."


"In preparation for this, a series of dance classes in Edinburgh beginning 22 October, taught by Alena Shmakova and Talitha MacKenzie, will cover all of the dances on the ball programme.  The first 5 are on the following Saturdays:

22 Oct 1-4 PM
29 Oct 2-5 PM
19 Nov 2-5 PM
3 Dec 2-5 PM
17 Dec 2-5 PM

Classes are £5 each or £20 for a block of 5. There will be another 5 classes scheduled for Jan-Mar 2017, dates TBC.  Please contact Talitha MacKenzie if you would like more information.  Thank you!"


  • 20th January 2017 at 7.30 pm Concert of the Nathaniel Gow Band (Quadrilles)
  • 21st January 2017 from 2-5 pm, Dance Workshop
  • 11th March 2017 from 1-3 pm, Dance Workshop
  • 11th March 2017 at 7 pm, Regency Ball
    By the way, Talitha recommends a DVD on Baroque dance, by Nicola Gaines and Christopher Tudor. We have a copy in the Whittaker Library here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - indeed, it's on Talitha's reading listDetails here.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Kanopy Online Video Streaming for Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Staff and Students

If you haven't come across Kanopy, it's well worth looking at.  This on-demand video streaming service covers documentaries, on subjects such as music, dance productions and a range of indie, foreign and classic films.  It's available on-site at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, via our electronic resources pages. Off-campus, we use the Shibboleth login process of identifying our institution then using the normal RCS login details.

Here's one about female jazz musicians of bygone ages!  Just one example of a huge catalogue of films.

The Girls in the Band

National Poetry Day - Do Limericks Count

A few years ago, we penned a collection of musical limericks.  Since it's National Poetry Day today, here's a link to the whole lot! 

Musical Limericks from the Whittaker Library

The Angus Fraser Collection - is it Harp Music?

Angus Fraser was the natural son of Simon Fraser,  who had published his own fiddle tune collection in the early 19th century.  Apparently it's a moot point whether the Angus Fraser Collection is really - as it says on the modern title page inside - Highland harp music.  What do you think?

The title page? 

A Collection of the Vocal Airs of the Highlands of Scotland: Communicated as sung by the people, and formerly played on the harp. 
By Angus Fraser.

Confused yet? Let's check the preface next!

The manuscript was found in an Edinburgh bookshop and presented to Edinburgh University Library.  Francis Collinson (author of The Traditional and National Music of Scotland, in 1966) said it was "the most important collection of Scottish Gaelic airs to be recovered in the past hundred years and the only seemingly authentic Scottish harp music every to be recovered."

But! The original title of the collection apparently said it was for piano - despite no piano accompaniment being given. It just contains tunes, some with variations.  The modern publishers says they're equally suitable for fiddle or whistle, and Angus Fraser apparently said that some of the variations were like piping pibroch.  It's a pity that the Taigh na Teud (Harpstring House) edition (1996, ISBN 1871931665) doesn't give library details of the manuscript itself.  In Edinburgh University Library Archive Catalogue, it is Coll-58, and you can read all about it here.

You can read more about the Angus Fraser collection on the Alt Pibroch Club blog, in this article by harper Simon Chadwick:- Burns March: a Gaelic Harp Ceol Mor?

There's further discussion about this manuscript here:-

  • Simon Chadwick's harp website is well-worth visiting; here is the homepage:-

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Where is the Trad Music? Another Library Tour

We think we've cracked the library tour conundrum, with this idea!  Here's a Storify about our library. If you're a trad musician, this shows you much of what you need to know.  For the rest - look out for the trad music guide or the expert staff to assist you find what you're looking for!

Karen went to talk to Marie Fielding's fiddle students the other day.  We talked about the library, and about, too.  It's a website with the dual purpose of sharing 22 newly digitized historic fiddle tunebooks, and listing another 200 collections together with commentary about the compilers and details of where to see copies.  (HMS = Historical Music of Scotland.)  And we reminded ourselves that there are all sorts of little clues about performance practice in these collections, from the wording on the title page, to commentary in the preface or alongside the tunes, or the kind of bassline or fiddle ornamentation supplied.

And the National Library of Scotland has uploaded more digitized collections onto their Digital Gallery website in the year since the Bass Culture project ended, so do look there too.

Where is the Jazz?

We do a lot of visits to different classes at this time of year!  We just want all our new students to know WHERE the Whittaker Library is, and WHAT they can find in it.

Today, we're visiting the new jazz students.  We tweeted some helpful images ... all that's needed now is to share them, and for that we've used Storify.  See our Storify story, "Where is the Jazz?"

Monday, 3 October 2016

Dyslexia Awareness Week

Did you know it was Dyslexia Awareness Week this week? (Week starting 3rd October 2016.)  Download posters and other info here:-

Sir Neville Marriner - a Life Full of Music

2nd October 2016

We were saddened to hear that conductor Sir Neville Marriner has passed away at the age of 92.  Founder of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, his name has simply always been there for anyone involved in classical music.

We've got a lot of his recordings in the Whittaker Library, if you'd like to remind yourself of this great man's achievements.  Check here.  (You can also stream his recordings via Naxos or Classical Music Library, or read his biography on Oxford Music Online - click here for the e-resources ink for our staff and students.)

Monday, 26 September 2016

Lost Manuscripts

Lost Manuscripts

To be fair, a lot of people like new music, but there are enough of us old music enthusiasts to make this initiative thoroughly worthwhile:-
"The ambition of Lost Manuscripts is to build a union catalogue of manuscript fragments in the British Isles. The first stage is this pilot project which takes the Harsnett Collection housed at the University of Essex as its corpus." 
Find out more ....

Friday, 23 September 2016

Free Choral Music - the Choral Public Domain Library

If you're a conductor or choral singer, then news of free choral music is a very good thing indeed!

Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL) is a choral wiki which is updated daily; it permits unrestricted downloads and no-edit viewing.

Our Performance Library Adminstrator says it's well worth a look!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

UK Copyright - What Can I Copy?

Copyright - Keeping Things Legal

Here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, we have a CLA (Copyright Licensing Agency) Higher Education Licence.  It allows you certain concessions as a student or staff member in a UK Higher Education establishment.  This document tells you what you're allowed to do:-

CLA Notice for Display

If you've never really thought about copyright before, or if you're from another country, you might find things are different to what you expected, so here's the UKCS (UK Copyright Service) summary of UK Copyright Law, which you might find it helpful:- 

Fact sheet P-01: UK Copyright Law

Monday, 26th September, 6 pm - Hear Our Brilliant Musicians!

It may be the September weekend in Glasgow, but we have just the event to enliven your Monday evening!  

The first of the Conservatoire's Exchange Talks takes place on Monday 26th September at 6 pm, with an illustrated talk about the music that might have been heard in Scotland in 1808 - the year of Beethoven's benefit concert.  (The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is reconstructing that concert - and at our own Exchange Talk, speaker Karen McAulay has been looking for other music being played at the time.)

Fiddler Bernadette Kellermann and cellist Wallace Calvert will share some traditional tunes.We also have mezzo-soprano Svetlina Stoyanova, pianist Jose Javier Ucendo Malo, cellist Marina Sanchez-Cabello, violinist Michelle Dierx and harpist Ewelina Brzozowska.

The event is free, but you do need a ticket - visit our Box Office to get one!