We’re a research network! (And Scroll Down for the Pixis Variations Challenge!)

Pixis Hommage a Clementi TP
Title page of Hommage a Clementi, by Pixis. Image from copy in Glasgow University Library Collection, with thanks

It feels like time for a quick update, so I’ll spend the last few minutes of the working day doing just that.  Here’s a quick reminder of what the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall music research network is all about:-

The project is investigating the music deposited in the former British Copyright Libraries under the Queen Anne Copyright Act and subsequent legislation up to 1836, when most university libraries lost their legal deposit entitlement, receiving book grants instead. The repertoire largely dates from the late 1780s (when legal action clarified the entitlement of music to copyright protection) through to 1836.

The project aims to establish what exactly has survived; whether there are interesting survival patterns; and the histories of the music’s acquisition, curation and exploitation, not just in during that era, but also subsequently. It also aims to raise the profile of the material and to foster more engagement with it, both within and outwith academia; and the repertoire can be used to inform historical cultural perceptions which often became embedded into contemporary writings; for example, an idea very prevalent during the 19th century was that the English had no national music; and yet collections of national songs were very popular.  Thus, both the  fact that these books were popular, and our close reading of the paratext within individual volumes can be used to inform our modern-day understanding.  But a nation’s music is not just “national songs”, of course – it’s the whole repertoire of music published within that country.

To date, I’ve visited the University Libraries of St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow.  I’ve been in touch with retired scholars from Aberdeen, and I’ve visited the National Library of Scotland.  Next, I need to spread my wings south of the border, and hopefully after a few more such meetings, we’ll have a clearer idea of what we’d like to talk about when we plan a study day to be held in Spring 2018.

The exciting, and yet tantalising part of all these visits is the realisation that there is a lot to explore, but not being able to stop and do all the research then and there!  For example, there are undoubtedly pieces of legal deposit music at the University of Edinburgh that aren’t labelled as such, but that appear in other copyright libraries and therefore probably arrived by the same means.  I so long to find them all, or to encourage other people to find them!  Similarly, the University of Glasgow has a very generous collection of copyright music – alluded to by the late 19th century author, W. P. Dickson amongst “works of fiction, juvenile literature, fugitive poetry, and music … issued yearly from the press” – but previously summarised by Divinity Professor Dr McGill in 1826 as “a great many idle books”.   (Dickson, The Glasgow University Library, 1888 p.16)  I’m eager to see if I can work out which volumes they might have been in before they were re-bound into their present volumes!  Meanwhile, the National Library of Scotland has an online catalogue, a card catalogue, but also “the Victorian catalogue”.  This I must see!

It is interesting to reflect that earlier musicologists have also had a hand in the arrangement and preservation of these materials.  Cedric Thorpe Davie in St Andrews disbound some volumes, and moved pieces to different places in the library.  Fourth Reid Professor Donaldson got involved with the Advocates’ collections in Edinburgh; Hans Gal had a go at listing some of the Edinburgh University Library Collections; and Henry Farmer spent some time in what for anyone else would have been retirement, as a music librarian at Glasgow University Library – one of the many careers in his portfolio! – and yes, he did some sorting out and rearranging, too.  Whilst we sigh over the thought of original sources being shuffled, we also owe these chaps a debt of gratitude for taking care of them and ensuring that they were preserved at all.

The Pixis Variations Challenge

I long to play, or hear performed, some of these long-forgotten treasures.  I’ve been generously allowed by the Special Collections department of Glasgow University Library, to share a set of piano variations by the now forgotten German composer, Pixis:  Hommage a Clementi, which are actually based on the National Anthem, ‘God Save the King’.   I’m putting them on our Twitter feed and Facebook page, one page at a time.  At page 3, my pianistic skills are already being stretched beyond their comfort zone!  I wonder if anyone will get to the end …. ?  PLEASE let us know if you do!

Other pieces were undeniably less interesting.  I tweet “on this day” posts about some of the pieces that were registered, just to give a flavour of what was being published.  These references come with no value-judgements whatsoever!  Luckily for me, I don’t have instant access to all these pieces, so I would only go out of my way to hunt down something that looked particularly intriguing.

Here, for the record, is the start of Pixis’s variations – I’ll add the rest in due course.  Please do keep following the blog!  And I’m pleased to say that it’s not long before the first of our guest postings will appear – a welcome change of “voice” and a fresh insight into a different aspect of this fascinating topic.

Pixis Hommage a Clementi p1

Pixis Hommage a Clementi p2

 

Pixis Hommage a Clementi p3Pixis Hommage a Clementi p4Pixis Hommage a Clementi p5Pixis Hommage a Clementi p6Pixis Hommage a Clementi p7Pixis Hommage a Clementi p8Pixis Hommage a Clementi p9

Pixis Hommage a Clementi p10Pixis Hommage a Clementi p11

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dreams of Distant Places

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This week’s news is cautiously optimistic.  I have the opportunity to speak at a conference in New Zealand if I can secure the funding to get me there! I’ve applied for funding – so watch this spot.

What about the Colonies?

Meanwhile, however, it set me wondering about legal deposit in the colonies in the nineteenth century.  This is not something that I’d thought about before.  Obviously, early printed music in New Zealand or Australia would generally have come from Europe, whether as new imports, brought by emigrants or sent to them by their families.  (See the excellent work being done by Sydney Living Museums in Australia, or – as an example of an early immigrant musician’s life – Michael Kassler’s fascinating paper, ‘The remarkable story of Maria Hinckesman‘, in Musicology Australia (2007).  I really don’t know much about the nineteenth century music trade beyond Britain.  I seized my copy of Partridge’s The History of the Legal Deposit of Books (1938) for a quick overview, where I learned that New Zealand’s own legal deposit legislation came much later.  It would still be nice to know more about the publication of music actually composed there during the 19th century!   Has anyone studied this?

You can’t beat a good bibliography

Over the past couple of years, I’ve compiled quite an extensive bibliography covering legal deposit (both at the general and music-specific level), and the nineteenth-century histories of the British legal deposit libraries.  I’m sure I haven’t yet listed everything that’s out there, but progress is being made.  I’m currently tidying up this listing, then I’ll post it online.  What I need more of, are links to finding aids, published or online, outlining what archival information is available for the different libraries.  Once I’ve got it into a shape fit for public consumption, I’d love to receive any further suggestions for suitable additions.  A student at the University of Edinburgh made a great listing of catalogues, accounts, and borrower loan records (“receipt books” in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century terminology) this summer, and I’ve currently got a copy of it on my desk to peruse closely.  Next week, I’m going to consult a couple of resources recommended to me by the National Library of Scotland’s Music Librarian – these will hopefully fill in my knowledge about what’s available there.  In this age of the internet, it pays to remember that not everything is online, and it’s invaluable to know about the existence of earlier finding aids that remain in their original print format.  I’m quite well clued-up about the resources in St Andrews, and I’ve got several useful links for Sion College’s holdings, now in Lambeth Palace Library.  Any further suggestions about other libraries, anyone?!

Official Commissions

At various times, official commissions looked into the legal deposit libraries’ handling and curation of the legal deposit materials, and library provision for universities in general. I really do need to capture details of all surviving documentation.  Partridge  mentions that after the 1814 Copyright Act, returns were requested from the legal deposit libraries (1st July 1817), which resulted in the Return of the Libraries, ordered to be printed by the House of Commons on 6 March and 9 April, 1818 [BM.515 l 20] (Partridge ibid, p.73].*  This contains a table of rejected items from Oxford or Cambridge – I have also found an amended return from Cambridge, which has of course been added to the bibliography!

Amended Return Cambridge - see mention of music

Similarly, from 1826 onwards, there was a Royal Commission investigating library provision to the University Libraries in Scotland. I’ve seen one of the huge tomes emanating from this exercise, regarding the Aberdeen responses, and transcribing interviews with individual professors.  Revd. William Paul remembered the sale of some legal deposit music, a couple of decades earlier.  Oh, really? This is interesting stuff!!

Great Britain. Commission for Visiting the Universities and Colleges of Scotland  W. Clowes and Sons, 1837

It’s fair to say that bibliographic control of this material is sometimes slightly inconsistent, but it would appear desirable to track down each Scottish university’s response, and to look at the other responses from St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow!

Evidence Oral and Documentary Commissions 1837 top page

Evidence Oral and Documentary Commissions 1837 middle page

Evidence Oral and Documentary Commissions 1837 bottom page

 

Guest Blogposts Ahead!

We now have five offers of guest blogposts for this blog, two of them scheduled for the beginning of December.  Embracing technology, I’ve set up a Doodle poll for other interested guests.  The link has been sent to everyone signed up to the Jisc Music from Stationers’ Hall mailing list.  Completing a Doodle poll is simplicity itself, and I’ll get to see any responses to the poll. If you’re on the list, please check your email inbox!  (If you’re not on the list, here’s how to sign up!  Open Invitation to Join the Conversation)

And More Visits

When I only have one and a half days a week for research, even scheduling visits to all the former legal deposit libraries is just a touch more tricky, but I’m doing my best.  Every week, I try to think ahead and start planning another trip, so we’ll see where I end up visiting next! Which reminds me … time to tie up some arrangements …

  •  House of Commons, Extracts of so Much of the Returns Made by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, (pursuant to the Orders of the 1st July 1817 and 20th February Last) as State, Whether Any of the Books Claimed under the Late Copyright Act Have Been Omitted to Be Placed in their Respective Libraries, and how otherwise disposed of.  (1818) [Paper no.98. Available via database, UK Parliamentary Papers (ProQuest)]

Legal Deposit of Music – a Soundscape

2017-05-25 09.47.08
Parliament Hall & the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh – one of the old legal deposit libraries.

I should confess at the outset, that this is a reflective piece, rather than a seriously documented aspect of the legal deposit music research.  It outlines what can best be described as a playful attempt to describe the legal deposit process by evoking the imagined sounds of the early nineteenth century.  I was contemplating different ways to bring the story alive to an audience unfamiliar with the context of my research.  After I’d told the story in what I hoped was an accessible and reasonably lively way, I continued to reflect upon ways of utilising other media to enliven things another time.

I offer you two SoundCloud recordings today, firstly a podcast update, which goes on to outline my experimentation with making a playlist of appropriate sound-effects.

  1. Claimed From Stationers’ Hall: Podcast no.3
  2. Legal Deposit of Music – a Soundscape

For the purposes of transparency, the individual audio-clips in the Soundscape are listed below, acknowledging the sources and durations.  My thanks go to their creators.  I particularly thank Alessandro Cesaro and Simone Laghi for uploading their beautiful performances to SoundCloud.  They’re wonderful!

Only by listening to the podcasts will you be able to discern why the other audio-clips – all sound effects – were chosen!

  • Michelle’s Pen on Paper (0:10) / Kate Baker Music
  • Wrapping Parcel (0:31) / SoundMods
  • Sound Effect of Door Opening 0:06) / Switcher12
  • Door Slamming Shut (0:02) / Amy-Jane Wilson 1
  • Footsteps Sound Effects (0:08 ) / l13hk
  • Horse on Cobbles at Münster (0:30) / Simon Velo
  • Boat at Sea (1:58) / Misha Rogov
  • In Bruges / Clip & Clop (0:30) / Bib-6
  • Door Open And Close Puerta Abriendo Y Cerrando 2 (0:50) / FX Sounds
  • Turning Pages (0:05) / Angela Morris
  • L. Dussek Rosline Castle with variations, piano (5:02) / Alessandro Cesaro
  • Ensemble Symposium – Gioacchino Rossini – Quartetto Originale n. 3 – Andante (3:09) / Simone Laghi
  • Countryside Birds – Ambisonics sound effects library (1:30)/ A Sound Effect

 

Building a Network

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I spent the day authoring and starting to disseminate the first network Newsletter; actually, it’s both an update and an invitation to particate!  After spending some time this evening reading MailChimp’s instructions, I worked out how to get the hyperlink for viewing in your browser.  Triumph!  Click the link to read it, here.

By way of light relief, I opened my favourite book – Kassler’s Music Entries at Stationers’ Hall* – to see what was registered on this day, over 200 years ago.  Two surprises awaited me.  In 1784, John Valentine of Leicester registered Thirty Psalm Tunes in Four Parts, and eleven copies are still extant, not only in legal deposit libraries.  Plainly psalm tunes were considered worth keeping (or leaving to libraries!); not only that, but Trinity College Dublin has a copy, and they didn’t as a rule show much interest in trivial matter such as legal deposit music.

The second surprise was some piano trios by Pleyel, dedicated to Miss Elizabeth Wynne and registered on 20th September 1790.  According to Copac, several copies survive in UK, and the British Library also has copies with a later date posited.  And there could still be others not yet catalogued online.  But here’s the exciting bit – you can access a German edition on IMSLP.  Who wants to be first to play it?!

http://imslp.org/wiki/3_Keyboard_Trios,_B.437-439_(Pleyel,_Ignaz)

* Michael Kassler, author of Music Entries at Stationers’ Hall, 1710-1818 : from lists prepared for William Hawes, D. W. Krummel and Alan Tyson  (Ashgate 2004), advises us that ‘since the demise of Ashgate, it is now published in hard copy and as an e-book by Routledge, and the e-book is £30 cheaper. See https://www.routledge.com/Music-Entries-at-Stationers-Hall-17101818-from-lists-prepared-for/Kassler/p/book/9780754634584

Networking is the Name of The Game

Pinterest British Library Spiders Web

The first network steering group meeting took place a couple of weeks ago, and in the past week more networking has taken place.  I’ve already blogged about Monday’s highly satisfactory meeting with retired University of Aberdeen music librarian Richard Turbet, in Norfolk.

Back in Glasgow, on Friday I attended a collaborators’ meeting for another new network, this time at the University of Glasgow: the Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded Romantic National Song Network.  It is spearheaded by Principal Investigator Professor Kirsteen McCue and Postdoctoral Research Assistant Dr Brianna Robertson-Kirkland.  My own doctoral research was about late 18th and 19th century Scottish song-collecting; I had examined collections both with and without accompaniments.  The new network focuses largely on collections with accompaniments, and certainly – like my own research – on collections with music, aka, “songs with their airs”.

Although the focus of my research has changed slightly since my PhD, I can see that the work I did on the borrowing of “national song” collections from St Andrews University library could be pertinent in the context of the RNSN.  I am also enthusiastic about the possibility of revisiting some of my favourite nineteenth century Scottish song collections!

Mrs Bertram’s Music Borrowing: Reading Between the Lines

Moving on to another research network, I recently wrote a blogpost for the EAERN (Eighteenth-century Arts Education Research Network) .  “Mrs Bertram’s Music Borrowing” occupied quite a few evening hours when I stumbled across a reference to her in my perusal of the early nineteenth-century St Andrews University borrowing records, and I was very pleased to have the opportunity to write it up in to a coherent piece for EAERN.  Yes, I’ve stretched a point – we’re talking about the long eighteenth-century here!  Nonetheless, I think it will demonstrate the value of interrogating archival records in minute detail.  After my many years spent cataloguing music materials for the Whittaker Library, my endurance levels for dealing with repetitive detail are exceptionally high!  It’s very rewarding when hours of capturing data can be turned into a human story about someone who lived, breathed and – most importantly – borrowed music from the library!  Do visit the EAERN website.

And lastly – some more networking news about the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall network.  We now have a Facebook page:- https://www.facebook.com/ClaimedStatHall/ – and I’ve also set up a Jiscmail list, so at some stage this week I’ll be sharing details with people whom I think might be interested in joining in the discussion about this fascinating, but often overlooked body of music.

Impact, Dissemination and Big Data

A few days ago, I offered to read and review a new book being produced by Fast Track Impact – I can’t think of a better way of ensuring I’m thinking along the right lines with regard to this crucial aspect of a research project!  I can’t wait to read it.

Meanwhile, we’ve been planning for the first steering group meeting for the network, and I’m looking forward to see the project being fleshed out as we pool ideas and discuss the various activities and actions that I’ve either embarked upon or promised to do as part of the network!

I’ve also recently been in touch with two scholars who between them have years of experience and knowledge about the early legal deposit collections at the University of Aberdeen.   Reading about King’s College and Marischal College’s library provision  led me to investigate reports and evidence provided by various libraries firstly in response to a Parliamentary Select Committee on legal deposit in 1817-18, and secondly to a Royal Commission on Scottish universities and their management, in the late 1820s.

Straker, Henry, 1860-1943; Woman Looking at Books

As far as legal deposit was concerned, it’s fair to say that music was the Cinderella category, along with juvenile literature and ephemera.  Sometimes music was singled out; maybe we can use this to read between the lines in other responses to the official questions?

  • 1817 – Trinity College Dublin tells their London agent “to claim neither music, novels nor school books”
  • 1818 – St Andrews fills in a return to the Select Committee, alluding to “works of little utility“, saying they’ve recently been receiving only “those of the most trifling and useless description”.  Scholar Elizabeth Ann Frame observed from their records that,”A small proportion of the contents of every parcel, chiefly of children’s books and books of mere amusement, is laid aside in a separate bale accompanied with an exact list, besides being referred to in the Register.  All these bales are arranged in regular order, in a room adjoining to the Library”.  But was music “mere amusement?” It’s hard to say.  Most of it would not have been in “books”, for a start.  Also, there’s plenty of evidence of the music being used – a lot!
  • 1826 – Aberdeen informs the Royal Commission that, “trifling or pernicious works are sent in great abundance.”
  • 1826 – Dr McGill, Glasgow professor of Divinity, advises that “The Stationers’ Hall privilege is not at all effective: we get very few valuable books comparatively, we get a great many idle books” (whatever he may have included under this term) “and it is very expensive to bind them.”  Further to this, the author of a book about Glasgow University Library (Dickson, The Glasgow University Library, 1888 p.16), concluded that, “The working of the privilege was in reality far from satisfactory.  The library freely obtained its share of the works of fiction, juvenile literature, fugitive poetry, and music that were issued yearly from the press; but the books were procured with ease in the inverse ratio of their value, and continuations, periodicals, and works with expensive plates, especially if issued in parts, were either not procured at all, or supplied imperfectly.”
  • In a report published in 1837, King’s College Aberdeen alluded to what Barrington Partridge (The History of the Legal Deposit of Books p.128) called “shoals of useless publications … including children’s primers, and labels for blacking.”  (Barrington Partridge cites Parliamentary Papers (1837), xxxviii, p.64.  He similarly cites an 1826 Edinburgh allusion to “a great deal of trash“, although it would be imprudent to assume that this embraces music.  However, we do know that the University of Edinburgh sold at least some of its legal deposit music, as it would appear did King’s College Aberdeen, judging by evidence that I blogged about last week and the week before.

 

 

Claiming Copyright in your Music

Music Copyright, the 18th/19th Century Way:

So you’re a composer in Regency Britain, say 1813, and you want to claim copyright inwriting-1043622_640 your music.  What do you do?  Well, if you have a publisher, they might submit it to Stationers’ Hall, where it would be registered.  They might not, though.  (Some publishers thought they’d have the best of both worlds – they’d print a copyright statement to the effect that it had been entered at Stationers’ Hall, but they wouldn’t actually bother doing so.)  In any event, it’s a bit hit or miss.

If you’re self-publishing, then you might consider it in your own interest to register your copyright in the work.  After all, by now it’s at least accepted that composers’ work did count as intellectual property and deserved protection.  That wasn’t necessarily the case in the mid-18th century!

Copies of music registered at Stationers’ Hall would then be sent to all the legal deposit libraries – the British Museum (which became the British Library), Sion College in London, the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, Aberdeen and Trinity College Dublin, the Advocates’ Library (which became the National Library of Scotland), and Kings’ Inns, also in Dublin.  Whether the music gets to all these places is also a bit hit or miss!  It’s not always sent, not always kept methodically upon arrival, and some libraries don’t want all this music anyway.

Tracing It Today

The Claimed from Stationers Hall project sets out to find out more about what happened to all the Stationers’ Hall music.  This is Week 2 of the network’s existence, so you’ve come in right at the start.  If you’re interested in early music publishing, library history, or the social, cultural side of the music borrowed from these libraries, then this network is right up your street.  Please follow this blog, and the Twitter @ClaimedStatHall, and do let us know if you’re working on anything in any way related to this repertoire!

St Andrews and now Aberdeen

Karen has spent some time exploring the rich archival resources at the University of St Andrews, where the Stationers’ Hall music was sifted through, much was catalogued, and then it was eagerly borrowed by a number of people via the professors’ library memberships.  We can trace what was received, find it in a fascinating handwritten catalogue, and even observe who borrowed what.

unknown artist; King's College, Aberdeen
King’s College, Aberdeen
unknown artist
University of Aberdeen

But what of the other libraries?  This week, the magnifying glass focused on the parallel collection in Aberdeen.  Work has been done on the documentation of what was received by the library in the 18th century by former librarian and research scholar Richard Turbet, and we can now see what was received in these early years, even if it doesn’t all survive today.  (Turbet, ‘Music Deposited by Stationers’ Hall at the Library of the University and King’s College of Aberdeen, 1753-96′, RMA Research Chronicle 30 (1997) pp.139-162)

Roughly half of the surviving copyright music is now in the online catalogue there: at the time of writing, 2062 of an approximate 4400 items in the entire bound Stationers Hall Music collection.  How was it used by the community in contemporary Aberdeen, though?  The next question is to establish where there are comparable loan records to those in St Andrews.  We do know, through Richard Turbet’s work, that there were concerns as to what had happened to the Stationers’ Hall music, in the Aberdeen Censor of 1826.  Intriguing!

Catalogues and Conundrums

The union catalogue of UK University and national libraries makes it easy to trace most things so long as they have been catalogued online.  However, differences in cataloguing mean that it’s not always as easy as you’d think.  Take Gesualdo Lanza’s Elements of Singing in the Italian and English Styles.

Different cataloguing approaches make it a little difficult to untangle, but if you search Lanza, Elements of Singing, you retrieve 16 entries, one of which is just a print portrait. It was published in 1813 – different catalogues have it self-published, published by Button and Whittaker, or indeed printed and sold by Chappell.  Around 1819-20, an abridged version appeared, again by Chappell (though the catalogue records don’t all state this the same way), and apparently again in 1826.

So there are at least two if not three basic versions, and you’d expect them each to appear in all the copyright libraries?  Think again!  Differently styled catalogue records reveal copies of the 1813 publication in Glasgow, St Andrews, Aberdeen, the British Library and Oxford Bodleian, and a copy in York, which was not a copyright library.  The other legal deposit libraries don’t have it, unless it’s still not catalogued online.  (That’s another interesting question.  Some pre-1801 material is definitely not yet catalogued – grant-funding for retro-conversion theoretically took care of (most of) the post 1801 material, just over a decade ago.)  In total, the two or three versions of 1813, 1820 and perhaps 1826 yield 16 entries in Copac, which equates to slightly more than 16 copies.

This Was Week 2 of the Project

Besides looking at work already done on the Aberdeen collection, this week has also entailed documentation of some of the conferences and other networks that touch upon the subject of Regency music or library history – see our Useful Links page, and do please contact us if there are others we’ve missed!  And of course, we’ve been networking.  We’ve tweeted and we’ve emailed, and we’re loving the responses we’ve received.  Keep in touch!