From fiddles to pipes

One of the wonderful things about Scottish music research is that you never know quite what will come up next.  Sitting in Glasgow University Library’s Special Collections examining a heap of historic fiddle tunebooks, who would have thought we’d stumble across a whole conference about the hornpipe (it took place in 1993 and included a great paper by Scottish dance expert Joan Flett); an Australian thesis on circus music (Kim Baston, La Trobe University); or a piece of music for harp and union pipes – which led us to Nicholas Carolan’s paper on an Irish bellows piper called Denis Courtney.  (The story goes back to 1788, and was interesting because Courtney himself was named in the fiddle book that we were examining.)

Being a naturally helpful, sharing kind of research assistant, I thought I’d share these very useful and informative links with followers of the Bass Culture blog.  You can find them all here on my Diigo Bass Culture list.

Meanwhile, Principal Investigator Dr McGuinness shared with me an absolute gift of a scan – the preface to an eighteenth century collection called The Caledonian Muse.  Knowing how very much I enjoy prefaces – to the extent that I recently asked the Oxford English Dictionary why they hadn’t yet added the word ‘paratext’ to their dictionary – I am about to start transcribing this preface to see if I can date it.  Very intriguing!