Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Quantock Carol by Ange Hardy

We came across English folk singer Ange Hardy's Quantock Carol recording on Twitter, and immediately fell in love with it.  So we thought we'd share the link with you.  Enjoy!

If you like that, maybe you'll also like this: we have Ange's earlier CD, The Lament of the Black Sheep in the Whittaker Library here at RCS. 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Beyond the Lecture Theatre (and in the Distant North)

UMIS/SUSCAG conference, 26-27 Jan 2017 

Two organisations combine to bring you this event - University Museums in Scotland, and Scottish Universities Special Collections and Archives Group.  If you're interested in how to increase interest in your rare books, special collections, archives or other unique collections, it sounds like a must!
Library and Archive staff alike will be drawn to this conference, being held at the University of Aberdeen in January 2017.  We certainly are!  For further details, visit their website:-

Whittaker's Christmas Jokes

One of the library staff is particularly keen on puns. They've kindly offered an Advent Calendar of puns, but yesterday's came too late, so you get two today ..... (drum roll ...)

1st December:- Why did Santa’s workshop get shut down?   Elf and safety!
2nd December:- What’s the best Christmas present in the world?  A broken drum. You just can’t beat it!
3rd and 4th December:-  "Mother, don't get alarmed, but I’m at the hospital.”  "Son, please. You’ve been a doctor there for eight years now." 
5th December:- a picture shared by Eliana today:-

6th December:-

HUSBAND: What’s that banging on the roof??
WIFE: I’ll go and check….. *gasp* I can’t believe it! It looks like reindeer!!
HUSBAND: I can’t believe it either, dear. Forecast was for snow.

Bonus joke: What did Adam say to his wife at Christmas?  (Wait for it ...)  It's Christmas, Eve!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Brush Up Your Study Skills

We've just catalogued a quantity of new study skills guides and books about teaching/education. Check the library's Recent Additions page!

The Pocket Study Skills series is particularly appealing!

The Real Deal: the late Christopher Hogwood's Film about Barenreiter Urtext

Music students often ask for Urtext editions - they're generally considered the best editions, with the most authentic reading of the musical text.  Did you know the late Christopher Hogwood (1941-2014) recorded a film about Barenreiter Urtext?  It's still on the Barenreiter website, and lasts less than 18 minutes.  You might like to see his insights into what's special about Urtext.

View the film on the Barenreiter website.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Finding an E-book that's on your RCS Reading List

If you're a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and you've been recommended an e-book, do you know how to find it?

1. Find the book

The reading lists are all on Moodle, so there should be links to the books.  However, we do have two kinds of e-book. It's really quite straightforward:-
  • E-Books we've bought singly, and catalogued like ordinary print books. There will be a link to the book, once you've found it in our catalogue.
  • E-books we've bought in "bundles" from the publisher.  So if a book is published as part of the  Oxford University Press bundle (for example), you might need to go to our website and click on the link for E-books, THEN on the link for Oxford University Press Scholarship Online.  Lastly, search for the book using their search facility.
2. Get access to the book

If you're on RCS premises, you may get straight in without needing to input your login details, depending on the publisher.  Some do require you to login anyway.

If you're offsite, you will definitely have to login.  

Remember, our institutional access is called Shibboleth (you might encounter that name) AND NOT Athens.  Don't click on any links marked Athens.  Once you've clicked on Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, you then use your normal login - the one you use to logon to our computers.

 3. If it all goes wrong ...

  • If you've accessed a book via our catalogue, then you should have no problem.  
  • If you've accessed a book via our e-book page and then via the publisher's website, then you have access to the book so long as it's actually in the bundle that they allow us to use.  (Sometimes, we're only allowed selected parts of their back catalogue, not every single book in it.)
  • If you've gone straight to the publisher's catalogue AND NOT via our catalogue or e-book pages, then you may miss the appropriate login prompts.  Try our catalogue and e-book pages and see if that works.  If you still have difficulty, please ask us!  The library contact details are on our website.

Finding Scottish Music Collections Just Got Even Easier

Last week, we posted a list of some recommended fiddle collections, along with some great online resources.  Read the posting here.

This week, we went one further.  All the fiddle music has been reclassified so that it lives in one glorious long sequence on our music shelves.  All nice and tidy, alphabetically and easy to find.  So ...  what are you waiting for?!

Check the Catalogue here.

A Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive

3000 Victorian Shakespeare Images!

With the blessings of its creator, we're pleased to share details of a very interesting new archive, created at the University of Cardiff.

Back in late August Michael Goodman launched his PhD project, The Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive ( It contains over 3000 illustrations from four of the most significant illustrated editions of Shakespeare's works in the Victorian period. All images have been tagged bibliographically and iconographically and there are numerous pathways through the archive.

More about the project:- a blogpost on
Introduction to the project on

Michael Goodman is a Research Assistant at Cardiff University's Digital Humanities Network School of English, Communication and Philosophy.

  • Cardiff University John Percival Building Colum Drive Cardiff  CF10 3EU
  • on Twitter @CUdigitalnet
  • Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive on Twitter:- @mikeygoodman1

How Confident are you with your Dialects?

Karen did something unusual last week - by sharing a "Drama" database with trad music students (students of traditional music, that is, not traditional students!), she forged new connections between the Schools of Drama and Music.

Our trad musicians were intrigued that different accents were recorded for the use of acting students.  Who knows? They may even get their own accents recorded! 

Meanwhile, let's share the words of the creators of Medea, so you can see what it's all about:-

What is MEDEA?

MEDEA is the new accents and dialects resource from the Centre for Voice in Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Our unique identity as Scotland’s leading Institution for the Performing Arts attracts students from all over the world allowing us to record an amazing range of accents and dialects of English as it is currently spoken. MEDEA is a living document and the database will continue to grow with new recordings added on a regular basis – everything from Latvia to Liverpool, Belfast to Barcelona and beyond.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Fiddle Music on the Move

M1450 for Dance Tunes

To clarify, this concerns our traditional Scottish and Irish fiddle music, not our classical violin music.  

Don't panic! We've just moved a few of our fiddle scores, so they're now all in one place. And very impressive it looks, too. It should make things very much easier for our fiddlers and their tutors.

After all - we're your caring, sharing, ever-helpful Whittaker Library, here to support our students and staff in their learning and teaching

Friday, 18 November 2016

£10K for British or UK-Resident Composer / Composition Student to Study in USA

Are you British or a UK resident? And a composer?  It's your lucky day!

The Bliss Trust has sent us leaflets about this incredible scholarship:-

2017 Arthur Bliss Scholarship for Study in the USA

The Bliss Trust is offering up to £10K for a composer or student composer to study at a conservatoire or university in America.  The deadline for applications is 21 February 2017. Click on the Bliss Trust link and go to the News tab for full details.  If you have further queries, there's a Contact tab on the website.

(Curious about Arthur Bliss? We have plenty of his works in the Whittaker Library! Look ...)

Your Improvising Brain (a TED talk by Charles Limb)

We thought you might find this TED talk interesting - it's a doctor talking about what your musical brain gets up to when you're improvising!  Click the link to view the video.

Charles Limb - Your Brain on Improv

Another Day in the Life of a Music Librarian

We regularly get invitations to speak to groups of students about library and research resources. (Karen thinks consultations in Waterstones' Costa outlet would be nice, but our seminar rooms are probably more convenient ...)

Today, it was the turn of the third year traditional musicians. We were talking about resources that might help with their forthcoming projects.  So ... first we talked about the projects, and then about the resources ...

  • we looked at our e-resources via the library web-pages, and talked about how to log in from outside the RCS campus or when a particular resource requires it (such as Scran)
  • we explored Oxford Music Online, JSTOR, Scran, Medea (the RCS dialect resource) and others
  • We talked about referencing, what Harvard referencing is, how to keep track of your reading, and online ways of keeping your references safe, eg RefME, Mendeley and Zotero. (Or a regularly-updated Word document!) 
  • We also looked at the RCS new portal, and the Whittaker Library portal pages (you can find them by clicking on Student Support, or just click here.)
  • and the specialist subject gateways on our library portal pages ... lots of good stuff on the music pages!
  • We explored HMS.Scot, and the National Library of Scotland's Digital Gallery
  • And we talked about the great collections of Scottish music at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, the National Library of Scotland, the A K Bell public library in Perth and the Wighton College in Dundee Central Library
  • And just mentioned some of the protocols of visiting rare books collections - pencils, not pens, bags in lockers (and booking what you want to see in advance, in some cases!)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Grants for Ethnomusicologists

British Forum for Ethnomusicology

Money for doctoral ethnomusicology students! Click the link and read all about it. We spotted this on Twitter today - the BFE Fieldwork Grants Scheme.

Finding Scottish Music Collections in the Whittaker Library


All our collections are in our catalogue, and they all live together on the shelves at M1450.  (It's the number for dance tunes).  We have loads of Scottish music, and the following collections are some that our RCS tutors recommend.   Numbers of copies are correct at the time of writing (17 November 2016).  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then please do ask! 


Don’t forget the Digital!

There are some key websites where you’ll find masses of material:-


Real Paper Copies

  1. Athole Collection 1 & 2 (we have 5 lending sets and one in special collections) 
  2. Simon Fraser Collection (5 copies) (also online at IMSLP)
  3. Fiddle Music of Scotland (Hunter) (3 copies and ordering a fourth)
  4. Harp & Claymore (Skinner)  (3 copies)
  5. Highland Collections (5 copies)
  6. Patrick MacDonald Highland Vocal Airs  (2 copies + a photocopy. Ordering 2 more.)
  7. Gow’s Repository (1 copy) (also online at HMS.Scot AND NLS Digital Gallery)
  8. The Marshall Collections (William Marshall) (4 copies)
  9. Mackintosh Collections (Robert  Mackintosh) (4 copies) (also online at Highland Music Trust)
  10. Skye Collection / Gesto Collection   (1 copy, ordering 3 more).  (Also online at
  11. Gesto Collection – We’re ordering 3 new copies.  (Also online at NLS Digital Gallery)
  12. Standard Settings of Pipe Music / Scots Guards (We have 1 and 2, and we’re ordering 2 copies of book 3)