A Guest Blogpost on another Website

I authored the following piece for the UK Copyright Literacy website. New readers are warmly encouraged to explore our Claimed From Stationers’ Hall blog, and please do sign up to the Jisc mail list if you would like to join the conversation.

Legal Deposit (Copyright Behind the Scenes) – and Scores of Musical Scores


Some Interesting Work Out There!

Figure 3, Johnson Scots Musical Museum, Frontispiece.

Whilst I’m writing up my notes after attending five meetings in three weeks, I shall share some more interesting links with you, to keep you supplied with reading matter until I’m in a position to post a longer piece! Do take a look at these:-

  • Copyright ABC’s – ‘The Scots Musical Museum’. A post on St Andrews’ Special collections blog, the acclaimed Echoes From the Vault.
  • A University of Auckland thesis about “New Zealand’s Published Music 1850-1913” by Libby [Elizabeth] Nichol includes a chapter about publishers’ relationship with the British Stationers’ Hall, as well as information about New Zealand legislation.
  • UK Copyright Literacy (‘Decoding Copyright and Bringing You Enlightenment’) is a group concerned with educating us about copyright, and they welcome guest blogposts. I was happy to oblige … my contribution will appear soon!

New Online Stationers’ Hall Resource

Stationers Hall by KMcA 4Last week, I was on a research visit to the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. I’ll blog about the visit on my next dedicated research day.  However, in the interests of giving blog followers something new to look at, here’s the resource that Oxford scholar Giles Bergel is collaborating on, with the support of CREATe:-

CREATe supports Stationers’ Register Online project

Do follow the link to find out more!

As to my recent trip – ah, patience, dear reader! More anon…

Recommended Reading

I’ve just been reading a great article by William Lockhart, ‘Trial by ear: legal attitudes to keyboard arrangement in nineteenth century Britain’, Music & Letters 93.2 (2012), 191-221. It’s on JSTOR:


Now, it’s not about legal deposit per se, although it is mentioned. (If I were to make one minor point, it’s to clarify that when the author states that items were ‘physically deposited’ at Stationers’ Hall, this implies that the Hall was, itself, a legal deposit repository, but this was not so. Stationers’ Hall registered publications, then passed on the legal deposit copies to the libraries – if they weren’t directly sent from the publishers themselves.)

The article is, in fact, an excellent analysis of three British music copyright cases. Considering how prevalent musical arrangements were, it is no surprise that there was litigation concerning copyright from time to time. Legal arguments examined various factors. No-one disputed the importance of the melody, but as we all know, there is more to a composition than that, and as for a series of opera tunes rearranged into a different order for dancing to? Well, you’ll have to read it!

It was interesting to find names that I have often encountered in other capacities, and particularly fun to meet my friend the quadrille arranger, Philippe Musard, again. (I looked at some of his quadrilles while reconstructing the contents of the University of St Andrews’ most popular copyright music volume, vol.284, now missing.)

Even if I don’t rush off to follow up all Lockhart’s references, there are a dozen or so that I shall be adding to our bibliography. There’s a lot there, excellent for providing context to our own research:-

  • What music the Victorians enjoyed
  • The development of legal definitions around the process and art of musical arrangement
  • How musicians perceived arrangements
  • Evidence that the records of music registration were actually referred to in cases of litigation!

When I get the chance to open my laptop, I will get these references into Mendeley and then into the bibliography. For now, with a tablet on a crowded Virgin train, I have to concede temporary defeat!

A new page: CFSH Bibliography

Stationers Hall by KMcA 3NB. As well as posting this as a regular blogpost, it has also been replicated as a separate page, so that it’s easier to find later on using the tabs along the top of the blog.

Claimed From Stationers’s Hall (CFSH) Bibliography

This is a bibliography covering the various aspects of the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall music research project.  It’s a work-in-progress, and suggestions for further additions are warmly welcomed.  Click here to access the pdf.

It should be noted that blank headings have been left for any documentation about the institutions themselves, rather than just about their libraries.  This is because so much information was accumulated about the University of St Andrews, and it was felt that similar material might later turn up in connection with the other legal deposit libraries.

Headings cover the following topics:-

  • Copyright and Legal Deposit, & Publishing History (General)
  • Copyright and Legal Deposit, & Publishing History (Music)
  • Libraries
  • Individual Institutions and Their Libraries:
    • British Library
    • Lambeth Palace (Sion College holdings)
    • National Library of Scotland
    • Trinity College Dublin [currently blank]
    • Trinity College Dublin University Library
    • University of Aberdeen [currently blank]
    • Aberdeen University Library
    • University of Cambridge [currently blank]
    • Cambridge University Library
    • University of Glasgow [currently blank]
    • Glasgow University Library
    • University of Oxford [currently blank]
    • Bodleian Library
    • University of St Andrews
    • St Andrews University Library
  • Overseas legal deposit
  • Cultural History: Reading, Music, Dance etc.
  • Bibliography
  • Digital Humanities

Copyright ABCs – ‘The Scots Musical Museum’

Posted on the very excellent Echoes from the Vault blog by the capable and insightful Special Collections team at the University of St Andrews, another interesting article touching on the Copyright Collection there.  (And it’s about one of the seminal books in Scottish music, as I discussed in my book, Our Ancient National Airs …)

Echoes from the Vault

The Lighting the Past team share their highlights from the ‘M’ section of the Copyright Deposit Collection. You can see the previous posts in the series here.

Title page 1_1 The title page of vol. 1 of the St Andrews copy of The Scots Musical Museum. s M1746.J8S3 Vol. 1

While cataloguing the ‘M’ classmark (music) of the Copyright Deposit Collection, Lighting the Past discovered 5 volumes from The Scots Musical Museum, a 1787-1803 Edinburgh publication attempting to capture all Scots folk music and verse, amounting to 6 volumes once complete.

Robert Burns took a keen interest in the planned compilation project whilst in Edinburgh in 1787, writing ‘An Engraver, James Johnson, in Edin[burgh] has, not from mercenary views but from an honest Scotch enthusiasm, set about collecting all our native Songs and setting them to music.’ With Burns as the principal editor of vols. 2-4 (he died prior to the publication…

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