A Biteable Bank Holiday

I couldn’t help myself – this afternoon, I was finding out more about Sir John Magregor again – initially by rereading Ronald I. Black’s article, ‘The Gaelic Academy’ in Scottish Gaelic Studies vol.XIV part 2 (Winter 1986), 1-38, and then by visiting the British Library’s 19th century Newspapers website.  This was very absorbing – possibly too much so!  It was, however, nice to discover that Clan Gregor offered their condolences to Sir John’s son Evan, when their clan chief died – and that the toasts on that evening were punctuated alternately by music from Gow’s band, and by a piper.  Sir John would have liked that, I’m sure of it.  (He was a judge for Highland Society of Scotland piping contests, and was also responsible for rescuing Joseph Macdonald’s draft bagpipe tutor from India and returning it to Scotland.)  Admittedly, once I’d learned that Clan Gregor met at Oman’s Hotel, I didn’t really need to find out where the hotel (aka Oman’s Tavern) actually was …  I did find out, but decided to stop delving any further.

Maybe I also didn’t really need to make a biteable video about Sir John! I have by no means encapsulated all his contributions to Gaelic culture – in 90-odd seconds, that simply wouldn’t be possible.  However, perhaps it does illustrate why he is a character worth remembering.  Here it is:-

Pipes, Tutors and Tartan


Writing about writing (sharing a blogpost by Dr Jane Secker)

I know this isn’t about copyright music! But it’s a very interesting blogpost by someone who does write elsewhere about copyright-related matters! Jane articulates very well the benefits of reflective writing.

via Writing about writing

Torn between Copyright Music and the East India Company!

I’m back from vacation with a vengeance, here.  I’ve thought of not one, but two future projects worth pursuing, so I am getting in touch with people whom I think might be interested.  One project is closely linked to the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall network, whilst the other idea could be said to tie together several strands from all the research I’ve done in the past decade or so.  Obviously, grant-writing time is approaching again!  Watch this space.

An interesting news snippet is my recent discovery that a librarianship student from Robert Gordon’s University has been doing a placement at the University of Aberdeen’s Library Special Collections – and looking at their Copyright Music collection!  This really is very exciting – I love to hear of people getting engaged with these materials, and I’m really happy to think that Aberdeen’s collection is attracting attention.  Retired music librarian and rare books cataloguer Richard Turbet did much work on it a few years ago, but it’s definitely time to be woken from its slumbers with some more close study!

So much for copyright music.  I still have more writing to do for a substantial journal article about the UK’s repertoire, amongst other things.  And we have the Brio journal issue to work towards, later this year, too. All this will be done!

Perso-Indica workshop on “John MacGregor Murray (1745-1822): Persianate and Indic Cultures in British South Asia” – Paris, May 28th 2019.

However, right now, I’m focusing on writing a paper for a seminar at the Sorbonne, which takes place at the end of May.  Sir John Macgregor Murray took an almost obsessive interest in Scottish and clan culture, but it appears he was as interested in Indian culture, commissioning translations and texts in Persian, on matters relating to Indian religion, festivals and agriculture.  His career was spent in the private army of the East India Company, so maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that he took an interest in the customs of the land that was his home for more than two decades.  He did have a base in Scotland too, having bought Lanrick Castle in his mid-twenties, though I haven’t investigated how often he came home, or whether his wife and son ever stayed there without him.  (Much as I’d like to know, I have to remind myself that I’m interested in his cultural activities, not his entire biography!)

800px-Portrait_of_East_India_Company_official from VAM.ac.uk via wikipedia
By Dip Chand (artist) – https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O16731/painting-portrait-of-east-india-company/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18728491 from Wikipedia

(The above image is dated 1760, a bit before Sir John joined the East India Company, but it was so lovely, I just had to include it!)


Buttrey MS Presentation by Tracy Macdonnell

A fascinating manuscript – and here’s the guy who listed the contents! Congratulations, and thanks, Tracy!

Buttrey Military / Social Tunes 1790-1840

The Drum of the Crown Forces were very privileged to hear Tracy Macdonnell repeat his London, Ontario, Buttrey Manuscript presentation at Fort York on Saturday. It was a delight to hear.

Tracy Macdonnell - Buttrey Presentation

Tracy is the person responsible for creating a list of all 1,061 tunes in the manuscript. Without that list to work from, this website would not have been created, Eamonn O’Keeffe would not have commented on it and told me about Ross Flowers, Drum Major of the Drums of the Crown Forces. Ross would not have taken photos of all the melodies and encouraged me to keep uploading them to this website and the Village Music Project people would not have found the photos and transcribed the entire manuscript !!  Now how’s that for serendipity !!

When asked why this manuscript was special, Tracy says, “Simply because it exists ! The sheer number of tunes and that it was…

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Networking: Research Conference on Women Collectors

If you know anyone who researches women ART collectors, please do share this CFP from National Galleries Scotland. I’m sorry to say I have no evidence of Miss Lambert collecting art, though she did collect seashells as well as cataloguing the University of St Andrews’ legal deposit music. (Certainly a kind of collecting …?!)

Call for Papers:- Research Conference: Women Collectors in Britain

New Page: Sir John Macgregor Murray

Macgregor tartan

In preparation for a lecture I’ll be giving at the Sorbonne at the end of May, I’ve returned to an individual who appeared in my doctoral research – Sir John Macgregor Murray.  He doesn’t really feature in the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall network at all, but I’ve given him a page on this blog because all my up-to-date research appears here.  If you’re interested, you’ll find the new page here.