A Flurry of Activity

The Bass Culture team has adopted a serious, studious demeanour as the project rolls towards its October web-launch. Not that we weren’t serious and studious before, but we’re even more so now, which goes some way to explaining why there are fewer blogposts these days.

David and Karen are editing the spreadsheet (consistency is our middle name, and qualitative judgements are very carefully weighed up, if they’re allowed to remain at all!).  Luca is building the website.

It’s all the extra things that Karen’s afraid of forgetting!  There is going to be a bibliography of key sources: the following are some of them, but we’ll provide the full bibliographic details on the website itself!

  • Baptie’s Musical Scotland
  • The British Union-Catalogue of early music printed before the year 1801 : a record of the holdings of over one hundred libraries throughout the British Isles (in our database, abbreviated as BUCEM)
  • Douglas, Sheila – The Atholl Collection catalogue: 300 years of Scottish music and poetry (Perth, UK: Perth & Kinross Libraries, 1999)
  • Glen, John – The Glen collection of Scottish dance music : strathspeys, reels, and jigs, selected from the earliest printed sources, or from the composer’s works [2 vols, 1891 and 1895](In our database, in the format: Glen, Collection of Scottish Dance Music)
  • Gore, Charles – Scottish Music Index http://www.scottishmusicindex.org/
  • Johnson, David – Music and Society
  • Kidson, Frank – British music publishers, printers and engravers : London, provincial, Scottish and Irish. From Queen Elizabeth’s reign to George the Fourth’s, with select bibliographical lists of musical works printed and published within that period (1900) (In our database, in the format, Kidson, British Music Publishers
  • National Library of Scotland, Digital Gallery
  • Oxford Music
  •  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • RISM (Repertoire Internationale des Sources Musicales)
  • Scottish Book Trade Index (In our database, SBTI)
  • Smith and Humphries’ Music Publishing in the British Isles

All the information is there in Karen’s Mendeley and Diigo accounts, but it still needs to be collated and double, treble-checked!

Hold onto your hats, folks – it’s going to be quite a ride!

Is Daniel Wright the Right Mr Wright?

We encountered an interesting conundrum at Dundee’s Wighton Centre today – a book with no title-page.  It’s said to be published by Daniel Wright, and certainly some of the contents match a known early 18th century book by Wright, although that one is portrait format, whereas the one we saw today is landscape format.  But the intriguing thing about this book is the fact that it apparently contains two repertoires, perhaps from two different fiddle books – each sequence appearing on either side of a page.  Sometimes sequence “A” comes first, and sometimes sequence “B”, but they lollop along in tandem throughout the whole book.  The font is slightly different for each sequence (for the most part), and there’s a slight difference in emphasis so far as the contents go.

Much more could be said – but we’ll see what more we can find out first!  We’ll examine the collection again on our next visit.  Ooh, I do love a good mystery!

Keeping track of it all

Index, locate, define, he said, quoting yours truly!  Well, here’s what the ‘locate’ bit entails:-

I’ve created a spreadsheet of all the fiddle books in Charlie Gore’s Scottish Music Index.  I’ve noted which libraries he says they’re in.  And now I’m going through COPAC – the totally brilliant online union catalogue listing everything in British university and national libraries (and those in Dublin).  You’d think this was straightforward enough, wouldn’t you?  Look up a few tunebook titles, and off you go.  Think again, dear reader.

  • Names that Charlie has used as index entry-points, are not necessarily authors.  If they’re publishers or have some not-quite authorial status, they may not be indexed as authors in COPAC.  Searching for such a name in the “author” box yields a big, fat nothing.  Hmm.
  • Similarly, different cataloguers input more or less of a title, many of which include various combinations of the words Collection, Selection, Popular, Favourite, Favorite (yes, you have to search for the right spelling there), Strathspey and Reel, or their plurals.
  • Lastly, if a number is input as a numeral, then searching for the word (eg, 30 or thirty) won’t retrieve anything, and vice versa.

Now, I did a silly thing this morning – I looked at the end of my spreadsheet and discovered I had to search for 285+ different fiddle books.  If I could spend 90 seconds on each one, it would be done in just over a day.  Given the complexities listed above, even someone with my experience of cataloguing is going to require vastly longer than that.  Already, I’ve decided to  check locations, but not attempt to list every shelfmark.

At the end of today, I’m not yet halfway.  I need liquid sustenance – if only to give my eyes a break from the laptop while I fetch the sustenance!  Courage – I’ll get there yet.