This may sound as though I’m speaking in riddles. Truly, I’m not!
I alluded in my earlier posting today to the question of “When less is more”, in the context of the apparently minimal amount of Stationers’ Hall music surviving at Edinburgh University Library, and how I was forced to look at the little that was there, in quite a close focus.
But I still have copies of those lists of music that was SOLD by the National Library of Scotland. So, on the one hand, we have very little of the music surviving in what was then “Edinburgh College”. On the other hand, we have a list of music that we know was discarded by the Advocates Library in 1830.
I’ve started to transcribe these lists – only a few pages, but interesting nonetheless. But, how do I rationalise to other people just why they’re interesting? And this is why:-
If I can establish which of these discarded pieces actually SURVIVED in different libraries, then I get a snapshot view – fragmented and blurred, admittedly – of which libraries retained more, or less, and I can see if certain categories were more likely to survive at that time, shortly before the legal deposit system was radically reduced. Yes, it means another spreadsheet. But I still think there may be something interesting to unearth. Watch this space!
And yes, I do still need to establish whether there is music surviving but not yet catalogued online. I know about some of the libraries, but not absolutely clearly for all of them. That’s why I’m making my visits around the country!