Overlapping Patterns: the Extant Late Georgian Copyright Music explored by Modern Research Networking

I gave a paper at the RMA Conference yesterday afternoon (Friday 14 September 2018).


From 1710 to 1836, British copyright legislation required legal deposit of all publications to nine, and latterly eleven libraries. For music, the system worked – to a greater or lesser extent – for the last half-century of this period. However, the libraries were not always appreciative of the flood of sheet music that came their way; its survival and documentation in modern times is varied, to say the least.

After an initial study of the University of St Andrews’ Copyright Music Collection, the present author was awarded AHRC networking funding to extend the investigation to the late-Georgian music surviving UK-wide.

This paper will explore some of the interesting patterns of survival that emerge, from the borrowing habits of middle-class music-lovers in St Andrews, to the 1830 lists of the Edinburgh Advocates and the lists of rejected music at Oxbridge.

It will also describe the challenges of exploiting modern networking capabilities to achieve maximum traction, not to mention impact, and – at the end of the project’s funding period – will summarise what has been achieved, and what future directions the research might take.


A Bibliography of Historical Music Legal Deposit and Copyright

2017-12-06 15.27.11Dear friends and fellow network members,

Just thought I’d remind you that we have an extensive bibliography pertaining to the history of music legal deposit and copyright in the UK (and further afield, in a few instances).  Do take a look – if you have written on the subject but I haven’t picked up the citation, please do forward it!  Similarly, if you have colleagues whose work ought to be included in this listing, it would be great if you could let me know.  I’d hate for anyone to be missed out!  Very many thanks.

Access it here:- https://claimedfromstationershall.wordpress.com/bibliography/

Transferable Skills: my involvement with the Jimmy Shand Collection in Dundee

cropped-wighton-instr-logo_square-1-300x300Yesterday, I was at the Wighton Centre in Dundee, where I’m honorary librarian of the Friends of Wighton – it’s a charity set up to look after and augment the Wighton Collection, a renowned collection of historical music which has been housed in Dundee public library since the 19th century.
Today, we were launching the Jimmy Shand Collection, which is 23 antiquarian volumes that were bought at auction from the estate of the late Scottish dance-band musician. There were local dignitaries, and Mr and Mrs Jimmy Shand Jnr were also with us.

The Friends of Wighton support music classes in traditional instruments, and some of the musicians played for the launch today. I’m sure Andrew Wighton and his widow would have been pleased that his original epic collection is still been drawn upon for repertoire, and has now had these expertly-conserved scores – once owned by Jimmy Shand – added to it. Jimmy Shand Jnr. made a brief speech in which it was clear that the family are delighted to see their Dad’s music beautifully restored and made available to the local community – and much of it has also been digitized to further its reach.From my point of view, I spend my working week surrounded by conservatoire musicians who play at a very high level, and I enjoy the contrast of seeing other talented musicians out in the community, sharing their skills with people who perhaps haven’t the same musical background, but are still clearly getting personal pleasure from learning to play traditional tunes in the company of other like-minded folk. You could say it’s music for everyone, and not just for the gifted individuals who will set the world alight in their future careers. That’s exactly how it should be.My involvement with the Wighton Collection goes back a number of years now, though I’ve only been Hon. Librarian for a comparatively short time. It’s not directly related to my Claimed From Stationers’ Hall research, but I certainly do draw on knowledge and experienced gained in that respect, so there’s a kind of sideways, indirect link.

If you’d like to see photos of yesterday’s launch, do visit the network Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/ClaimedStatHall/

And a wee postscript!  I was back in Dundee this morning to talk to a TV reporter about the Wighton Collection and the Shand volumes.  I don’t think there’ll be anything to see for a while, so I’ll update you when it does!

Researchfish – Little Fish in a Big Pond

FishWhen one is awarded a grant by a major research body, obviously accountability is a very important consideration.  To that end, activities have to be logged on the poetically-named but very definitely serious Researchfish website.  All big scholarly funders use it, asking for details of such matters as publications arising out of the research, further funding, engagement activities (there’s quite a bit I can enter here!) and so on.

At first sight, it’s a bit intimidating, but once I’d downloaded a list of “Common Outcome Types with sub-types”, and crossed out the columns in which no-one would remotely expect me to have outputs (Medical Products, Interventions and Clinical Trials, or such Research Tools as Biological samples, or human models of mechanisms or symptoms), it didn’t look quite so bad.  I do feel a bit like a little fish in a big pond compared to people winning major awards to find cures for horrific diseases, design new space rockets, or solve the greater political and social conundrums of our age.  Still, one has to start somewhere!

So, my activity for the rest of today will be to go through the list I’ve already compiled, and add the various presentations, blogs and guest-blogposts, and so on, and just see how far I get!  For one-and-a-half days a week over 13 months, it looks okay – well, in my opinion, at any rate!  As I’ve said often enough before, watch this space.



Sacred Harmonic Society (Grove Music)

One of those chains of enquiry where one thing leads to another!  Should I need to know later, here’s the Oxford Music Online entry for the choral society for which Husk was librarian:- Sacred Harmonic Society | Grove Music

Husk, William Henry (Grove Music)

Husk was the Librarian of the Sacred Harmonic Society, and corresponded with William Chappell.  Having heard of him through researcher Alice Little, I looked him up in Oxford Music Online, just in case I needed to know about him later:-

Source: Husk, W(illiam) H(enry) | Grove Music