Read about Song-Collector Alexander Campbell, in ‘Thirsty Work and Other Heritages of Folk Song’ Conference Papers

I’ve just received my own copy of a new publication by Ballad Partners, Thirsty Work and Other Heritages of Folk Song, which contains my most recent Alexander Campbell article: ‘Alexander Campbell’s Song Collecting Tour: ‘The Classic Ground of our Celtic Homer’. There’s a section on Campbell and his musicianship – an entirely new angle which I spent some time contemplating during lockdown.

The book is Ballad Partners’ third book of Folk Song Studies.

I have just catalogued a copy for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Library – I listed the contents there, so I’ll repeat the list here for your interest. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, please visit the Ballad Partners’ website. (I’m unconnected with the publishers – I am just one of the contributors!)

CONTENTS

Thirsty work: traditional singing on BBC Radio, 1940-41 / Katie Howson — From Tyneside to Wearside: in search of Sunderland songs / Eileen Richardson — Sam Bennett’s songs / Elaine Bradtke — Newman and Company of Dartmouth and the song tradition of Newfoundland’s South Coast / Anna Kearney Guigne — Railwaymen’s charity concerts, 1888-89 / Colin Bargery — Picturing protest: prints to accompany political songs / Patience Young — ‘That is all the explanation I am at liberty to give in print’: Richard Runciman Terry and Songs from the Sea / Keith Gregson — Drawing from the well : Emma Dusenberry and her old songs of the Ozarks / Eleanor Rodes — Alexander Campbell’s song collecting tour : ‘The Classic Ground of our Celtic Homer’ / Karen McAulay — ‘Don’t let us be strangers’ – William Montgomerie’s fieldwork recordings of Scottish farmworkers, 1952 / Margaret Bennett — ‘No maid in history’s pages’ : the female rebel hero in the Irish ballad tradition / Therese McIntyre — Who is speaking in songs? / David Atkinson

Copyright in 18th Century Plays: new book by Jane Wessel

Idly browsing Twitter whilst eating my Shreddies (edible cardboard, but good for me), I suddenly put down my spoon at the sight of something far more interesting. Here’s mention of a new book about intellectual property and plays in eighteenth-century Britain!

Owning Performance | Performing Ownership:

Literary Property and the Eighteenth-Century British Stage, by Jane Wessel

‘How playwrights, actors, and theater managers vied for control over the performance of popular plays after the passage of England’s first copyright law.’

The book is published by the University of Michigan Press later this year. I shall clearly have to add this to the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall network bibliography!

Music Engravers (a recap)

Six years ago, I wrote a wee blogpost about music engravers for Whittaker Live – the Whittaker Library had a Blogspot blog for many years, until I migrated it to WordPress last year.

Just in case it ever goes missing, I thought I’d reproduce that single posting here, now. The truth of the matter is that music librarians don’t generally spend a lot of time with really old volumes, whilst rare books librarians spend a lot of time with really old volumes … but music is only a small part of their remit. This means that things that are obvious to librarians with one specialism may not be obvious to their counterparts in a different library or department.

Can You Tell Your Scripsit From Your Sculpsit? (20 May 2015)

https://whittakerlive.blogspot.com/2015/05/can-you-tell-your-scripsit-from-your.html

Here’s a little bit of book history to broaden your mind!

If you’re looking at REALLY old music, sometimes you see tiny writing at the bottom of the title page – “Script” or “Sculpt”, and then a name.  Rudolf Rasch, who is a book historian, and Associate Professor of Musicology (Emeritus) at Utrecht University,  has kindly provided us with an explanation:-

“Script = scripsit = “he wrote”, normally this refers to the one who designed the engraving or made a drawing as a design for the engraving. This should refer to a title page only. [Typesetter is not a good description of this person.]
“Sculpt = sculpsit = “he sculpted”, refers to the engraver.

“If a title page is signed by a “sculpsit” one is not a priori certain that the same engraver did the music too. The best way to decide whether the engraver of the title page also engraved the music is too look at the form of the letters on the title page and on the music pages. In many situations title page and music are engraved by the same hand, but there may be cases where the publisher had different engravers work at the title page and the music.
“But please keep in mind: 18th-century indications are never full-proof. Never turn off common sense.”So now you know. Just a little advancement in knowledge every day …!  One day you might be grateful to Whittaker for sharing this little piece of book history with you!

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love a blogpost that Kelsey Jackson Williams wrote for this present blog, a few years ago. Here you are:-

18th CENTURY PARATEXT RESEARCH NETWORK SEMINAR – Weds 17 March

I’m speaking at the second Pondering Paratext seminar next Wednesday afternoon between 2.30 and 4 pm. There will also be a talk by Dr Hazel Wilkinson.

My talk is entitled ‘Scottish Songs and Dances ‘Preserved in their Native Simplicity’ and ‘Humbly Dedicated’: Paratext in Improbable Places’. Amongst other delights, I’ll be sharing some of my recent findings about subscription lists to Scottish fiddle tunebooks.

You can book to attend the seminar by clicking this Eventbrite link here – and find out more about the Eighteenth Century Paratext Research Network – by clicking this link.

(Musicologists of this kind of music – do take a closer look at the tune pictured above. The book it comes from is riddled with errors in the basslines – I know this for a fact. So, the first bar and the third bar here are actually very similar, and I’m tempted to play the first bar with the bassline that the third bar uses. I promise not to talk such heresy in my talk, of course, when I shall focus on the paratext rather than the notes themselves!)