Project Workshop 26th March 2018

RCSWell, the arrangements are all in place.  We have delegates, a board room to meet in, catering and other practicalities taken care of, and even lunchtime entertainment for our guests.  I’m happy to say that we’ve made contact with ALL of the historical legal deposit libraries, and all but two of them will be represented at next Monday’s workshop, along with big data and digitisation experts and other interested scholars.  I won an AHRC networking award last year, and here we have it – networking really bearing fruit. I’m so excited!


Bigger Picture What Did Happen - March 2016TWO YEARS … To think that it’s two years ago since I presented this slide at the IAML (UK and Ireland) Annual Study Weekend: things have moved on quite a bit since then!

TWO HUNDRED YEARS … Lastly, I can’t resist sharing this – a snapshot of what was registered at Stationers’ Hall OTD (on Charles Nicholson Flutethat day) 26th March 1818.  It really is a typical cross-section of music publishing at the time!  Just look – three arrangements of contemporary or near-contemporary operatic works for domestic consumptions (let’s not argue about who had the copyright in what! – see the posting on this blog last month!), and flute duets by one of THE big names of the time, virtuoso performer and arranger Charles Nicholson:-

Bishop’s Overture and Songs in Zuma, Book 1; Burrowes’s arrangement of Airs from Il Don Giovanni [Mozart], Books 1-3; Paer’s Numa Pompilio Overture; and Nicholson’s Four Concertante Duetts for Two Flutes.








It’s Snow Day for Staying At Home – Too Much News to Share!

The last day in February, and Scotland grinds to a halt.  I had places to go and people to see, not to mention a blissful research day ahead of me. Still, if we get Snowmageddon over and out of the way, then we can look joyously ahead to the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall research network’s impending workshop here in Glasgow on Monday 26th March.

Workshop Monday 26th March

We’ll be talking about the heritage collections of Georgian/Victorian legal deposit music up and down the UK, looking at ways to promote it, contemplating the many ways it sheds light on contemporary cultural and social history, pondering how we can improve access to it, whether by finding aids or digitisation, and considering how big data might be used to reveal stories hitherto untold.  Representatives of almost all the old (and the current) legal deposit libraries will all be there.  (This must be a first!  Assuredly, there would not have been a nationwide meeting of university librarians in the late Georgian era.  Nonetheless, the Scottish universities were certainly in touch with one another, if only to liaise about their London agents, working more or less effectively to secure the publications they were owed!  Getting their fair share of sheet music was probably the lowest priority on the libraries’ agenda back then!)

We have a limited number of workshop places left, so if you’re working or researching in this field and can manage a day-trip to Glasgow, do get in touch to tell us about your interest and secure one of those places!  Our recent February Newsletter tells more about it.


As you know, every week or so, I check Michael Kassler’s invaluable bibliography, Music Entries in Stationers’ Hall 1710-1818, and see if I can find a piece of music whose anniversary of copyright registration falls on that day.  Sometimes the piece is good, sometimes deservedly forgotten, but all of them tell us something about musical tastes and trends at the time they were written.

Today, as I cool my heels (and my toes) at home on an enforced snow-day, I turned to 1798 to see whose anniversary it might be today.  I found Stephen Storace’s ‘O Strike the Harp. For one, two or three voices, with an accompaniment for the harp or piano forte. The poetry from Ossian‘, which the publisher Joseph Dale registered on 28 February 220 years ago.  As Kassler states, the song can be found in the British Library: GB Lbl G.352.(42.).

Could I find an image of this song, clearly inspired by the late 18th century trend for minstrelsy, and still drawing on Macpherson’s Ossian poetry, despite the fairly well-proven doubts about its authenticity?

Storace O Strike the Harp 28 February 1798 page 1Well, yes!  Coincidentally, I used an image of this very song in my write-up of Sandra Tuppen’s  Big Data talk at IAML(UK & Ireland) 2015.  See ‘ASW 2015: The Bigger, the Better – A Big Data History of Music’  (17 April 2015)

The wheel certainly does come full circle: in earlier research, I spent considerable time thinking about minstrelsy as it appears in national song collections, and here’s a song that’s not a “national song”, but certainly has links with literary literacy.  I was beginning to get interested in big data, which is why Sandra’s research attracted my attention.  And big data is one of the themes at our forthcoming workshop, with two of her colleagues in attendance.   Isn’t it satisfying when links join into a chain?

Postscript.  Today, I discovered that the song has also been referenced in a new book, Figures of the Imagination: Fiction and Song in Britain, 1790–1850, by Roger Hansford.  He comments that the song is about relationships, and that the lyrics might have been written from a minstrel’s standpoint.  Another book to go on my “must read some day” reading list!

The Big Picture: Bibliographic Control

Whilst I was postdoctoral research assistant to the AHRC-funded Bass Culture project, I authored a blogpost about how/where to locate all the fiddle tune-books we were researching.  I revisited that 2015 posting today, because the same resources are pertinent to the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall (CFSH) historical legal deposit music research network.

Bibliographic control of early printed and manuscript sources is key to historical research.  In musicological discussions about British publications, it doesn’t take long before someone mentions Schnapper and BUCEM, although they’ve largely been superseded by RISM (the Répertoire Internationale des Sources Musicales).  It was hardly surprising that RISM (UK) came up in conversation at the recent CFSH meeting that I attended at the British Library just before Christmas, because our whole network centres around firstly tracing eighteenth and early nineteenth century British legal deposit music in libraries, and secondly raising the profile of this corpus of material.

Let’s set this meeting in context by explaining who Edith Schnapper was; what she achieved with BUCEM; and how it fits in with RISM.

1957 – Schnapper

2017-12-28 22.06.57
British Union-Catalogue of Early Music / Schnapper

Dr Edith Schnapper was a bibliographer who listed British published music prior to 1801, in a two-volume bibliography entitled British Union-Catalogue of Early Music printed before the year 1801: a record of the holdings of over one hundred libraries throughout the British Isles (London: Butterworth Scientific Publications, 1957).  Behind this huge undertaking was the Council of the British Union-Catalogue of Music, chaired by C. B. Oldman, with representatives from the great and the good of music and music librarianship of the time – ASLIB, the Bibliographical Society, the Bodleian, Cambridge University Library, the British Council, the British Museum, the Royal Academy of Music and the Worshipful Company of Musicians, along with other private individuals.  Editorship had commenced with O. E. Deutsch in 1946, succeeded by Schnapper in 1950.

1912, 1940 – Squire, Smith

220px-william_barclay_squireAround 60% of the material listed in BUCEM came from the British Museum (now the British Library), and Schnapper was able to draw upon an earlier publication for this:- W. Barclay Squire’s, The Catalogue of Printed Music published between 1487 and 1800 and now in the British Museum (2 vols, 1912) and William C. Smith’s supplement of 1940.  For the rest, Schnapper consulted over one hundred other libraries, in person and through correspondence.  Although inclusivity was key, a significant category was not fully listed.  Oldman, in the preface to BUCEM, noted that,

The only substantial exception consists of sheet-songs of the 18th century, which were published in vast quantities, especially from 1730 onward.  While a considerable proportion of them has been catalogued in their entirety, notably the important early songs in the Chetham Library at Manchester, there remain several extensive collections mostly of the later 18th century, which had to be left uncatalogued through lack of time.

The collections alluded to were other legal deposit libraries (Oxford, Cambridge, and the National Libraries of Ireland and Scotland), and two significant public libraries (Glasgow’s Mitchell Library and Manchester’s Henry Watson Library).  Even though the British Museum probably had the largest and most complete collection of music deposited under legal deposit, we have to face the fact that not all music was actually registered or deposited.  The unregistered material is an unknown quantity, and copies could be scattered pretty much anywhere.

1952 onwards –  RISM

RISM logo

Contemporaneously with BUCEM, and eventually supplanting it for early British printed music, emerged RISM, a huge international undertaking which began in print and more recently moved over to digital format.  RISM has been produced in various series covering different categories of musical material, both published and manuscript, and including writings about music as well as the music itself. See the RISM website for full details ( ).  Under Publications, the website summarises,

“The RISM publications represent RISM’s activities that began in 1952 and continue to the present day. The online catalog is the focus of RISM’s current activities and is freely available online. Series A documents musical sources in two parts: printed music (A/I) and music manuscripts (A/II). Series B is designed to cover specific categories of repertory. Series A and B are supplemented by Series C, the Directory of Music Research Libraries.  Special volumes have also been published on the Tenorlied and RISM library sigla (now available as an online database).”

Different countries have branches of RISM, and the UK branch is of course highly pertinent to our present research:  Since 1984, this branch has been run by the RISM (UK) Trust.  Again, the opening summary is helpful,

“This database holds details of pre-1850 music sources preserved in libraries and archives in the UK. It includes manuscripts from national, public and academic libraries, county and city record offices, cathedral and chapel libraries and some private collections.  It also now includes more than 300 printed anthologies from the 16th century, with links to digitised copies of the music in the Early Music Online collection at Royal Holloway. We estimate that about two-thirds of surviving manuscript sources in the UK have now been documented. Work has recently begun to document music sources in Ireland.  Some music collections in Dublin libraries, notably the Mercer’s Hospital Collection at Trinity College, Dublin, are included in the present database.  A new database dedicated to sources across Ireland has recently been launched by the RISM Ireland working group.”

See also the UK RISM page, ‘About RISM’, published in 2011:-

“The UK’s contribution to RISM is overseen by the RISM (UK) Trust, which was also historically responsible for documenting music source material in Dublin. An Irish working group has been set up to oversee the collection of data in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, and a new list of repository sigla has been drawn up (please see RISM Ireland’s webpage at

“Between the 1950s and 1990s, cataloguers in the UK concentrated largely on documenting printed music, along with manuscripts dating from before 1600. The data was published in RISM Series A/I and B. Work is now ongoing on the cataloguing of music manuscripts from the period 1600 to 1850, a key period in music history and one for which much significant material is held in the UK. That data is being made available via this website, as Music Manuscripts after 1600 in British and Irish Libraries.”

RISM A/1 for the UK was based on BUCEM, as is clear from Hugh Cobbe, ‘RISM A/II: The United Kingdom Contribution’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association Vol. 113, No. 1 (1988), pp. 146-148) :-

“In the United Kingdom the national contribution to A/I was swiftly completed, largely thanks to the earlier publication of the pioneering British Union Catalogue of Early Music (London, 1957); all that was required were addenda et corrigenda, and it proved possible for librarians to provide these in the normal course of their work.”

As a trust, RISM (UK) is dependent on external funding.  Between 2001 and 2007, AHRC funding supported the cataloguing of UK music manuscripts; and in 2011, JISC’s Rapid Digitisation Programme supported the digitisation and documentation of over 300 early printed music anthologies at the British Library. However, with no current funding, the work of RISM (UK) is currently dormant.

2017 – Legal Deposit Music: Visits to the British Library 1200px-british_library_londonand Lambeth Palace Library

Prior to organising a workshop for stakeholders (those who curate or work with the historical legal deposit music collections) and other interested librarians, musicologists and historians, I’ve been meeting with key individuals and groups to talk about the aims and projected outcomes of the network.  My meetings at the British Library and Lambeth Palace Library a couple of weeks ago were part of this process.  At both meetings, I explained that the network has a steering group, which hopes to run a workshop for key players and other interested parties in Spring 2018.  I also outlined the outcomes that I had committed myself to in the AHRC funding application:-

  • Blog, newsletters, social media. Guest blogposts. These are all well up to speed.
  • Conference papers
  • Workshop leading to published papers of some kind.
  • Journal articles
  • Raising the profile of collections by social media and by public events
  • Performing the collections – small-scale local events? Local history groups? At a National Trust property or another stately home? Ideally, it would be good to have at least one public performance or other event, volunteered by a participant, participant’s library or other group.
  • Bibliography (currently being compiled)

Various threads emerged, different at each meeting.  At the British Library, the potential of such a large corpus of music for big data analysis was a significant interest, but it led on to discussion of the whole issue of bibliographic control, and the fact that RISM (UK) currently has no funding to continue bibliographic documentation beyond the present cut-off circa 1800.  However, the situation is more complicated than you might think.

For example – leaving RISM aside for a moment – the British Library and Glasgow University Library have all their legal deposit music catalogued.  I have yet to explore the situation at the Bodleian and the University of Cambridge.  The University of St Andrews availed itself of funding for retrospective cataloguing of post-1800 material at individual libraries at the beginning of the present century; this way, they were able to catalogue a large proportion of their post-1800 copyright music collection, but not the earlier copyright music.  Some of the University of Aberdeen’s copyright music is catalogued online – this is a work in progress.  2017-12-06 15.27.56The National Library of Scotland still depends on the paper slip Victorian music catalogue for much of its nineteenth century printed music.  Meanwhile, the University of Edinburgh has been able to undertake basic-level cataloguing of rare music materials that were in the Reid Hall collection, using volunteer assistance – it can be found on a spreadsheet on the University’s Research Collections website.  Some of this material may well have arrived via the legal deposit route, though we don’t yet know which.  However, these examples in themselves highlight the fact that uncatalogued material, material still catalogued on paper, or indeed, just not accessible via union catalogues such as Copac or WorldCat, is now effectively invisible, in an age where so much is catalogued online, or even available digitally.  So, there’s a big research question – what do we do with analogue materials? What approaches could be taken, to the cataloguing of, and digital access to, the Stationers’ Hall copyright collections or indeed on a wider basis?  This could form the basis for a much larger funding application.

If RISM (UK) had further funding, then the copyright music repertoire could be considered as a starting point for reviving RISM (UK) documentation activity.  As a potential launchpad for a much bigger enterprise, the CFSH network acquires much greater significance!

We also talked about the “gap” between RISM with its detailed documentation, and IMSLP, with less detailed metadata but invaluable digital repertoire.  How could we bridge the gap?  (Could the early legal deposit music be digitised? There is a vast amount of it!)

This was by no means all that we talked about – another interesting strand was our discussion of a mass of music imported to Australia from the likes of Manchester and Liverpool in the late nineteenth century, and more recently acquired and repatriated by the British Library.  The story of this separate corpus of material sounds fascinating!

Meeting at Lambeth Palace Library

2017-12-13 11.55.36Mention of Lambeth Palace inevitably conjures up pictures of the Thames and views of the Houses of Parliament; of archbishops and Anglican clergy; not to mention walled gardens, and impressive interiors literally oozing history.  But of most importance to the present project is the fact that in 1996, the Palace Library took over the custodianship of Sion College Library’s pre-1850 materials, including some music.

Sion College was one of the legal deposit libraries throughout the eighteenth century until 1836, having been founded in the early seventeenth century:

“The Reverend Thomas White (c.1550 – 1624), Vicar of St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street, left £3000 in his will “for the acquisition of a house for the maSion College Wikipedia imageking of a College of Ministers, Rectors (Readers) and Curates within the City of London and the suburbs of the same.”

The most historical and valuable material from Sion College (just a handful of music falls into this category) is kept as a separate special collection, but there could be further material as yet uncatalogued apart from this.

Before the acquisition of this material by Lambeth Palace Library, its retention was sometimes threatened by financial exigencies, because books were occasionally sold to raise funds for the college coffers!  This means that not all of the legal deposit books and music Sion College might have had, was still in their possession at the time when the surviving stock was transferred to Lambeth Palace.

Rather to my surprise, I learned that Sion College Library had provided its clerical readers with wide-ranging reading matter, and was by no means confined to sermons, lectionaries and theological treatises.  So … did they keep secular as well as sacred music, for the enjoyment of the clergy?  The four surviving early music rarities indicate that they did!

2017-12-13 11.31.54
Sion College Benefactors’ Book

I was able to inspect the Sion Benefactors’ Book – a very old volume indeed, commenced in 1633 and maintained through the centuries, itemising books gifted to the library.  This does include Stationers’ Hall material, but in the 18th century, it basically lists gifts and copyright material up to circa 1789; after that, “See” lists provide references to later gifts documented elsewhere.

I also learned that Lambeth Palace Library occasionally holds concerts and visits for various groups – including current members of Sion College, which now functions mainly as a sociable society for the clergy.  And of course, the Palace is a near neighbour of the modern-day Vauxhall Gardens project.  (I walked past it, in pouring rain – it’s very difficult indeed to visualise the eighteenth century gardens vibrant with theatrical, musical and sociable activity, such David Coke and Alan Borg describe in Vauxhall Gardens: a History.) In other words, there could be distinct audiences out there, if sufficient music could be pulled together into a programme or illustrated talk.

The big question first, though, is what can be identified apart from the four ‘special’ music books that were stored with the most valuable materials.  Even if Lambeth Palace turned out not to hold very much historical copyright music, the library is still a stakeholder, insofar as it holds the rare books that once belonged to one of the copyright libraries.  And so, too, in an indirect sense, are the members of Sion College itself.  Wouldn’t it be exciting if a live music event could be coordinated?  We’ll have to wait and see!



London Networking

cropped-st-pauls-bathed-in-golden-lightLast week, I attended two very fruitful meetings at the British Library and Lambeth Palace Library – the modern incarnations of two libraries receiving the old copyright music.  The British Library was previously The British Museum Library, and Lambeth Palace Library inherited Sion College’s library.  I’ve yet to finish writing up my notes from the second of these meetings, but there will eventually be a blogpost about what we discussed.  Most crucially, we discussed possible dates for a workshop in Spring 2018, and I’ve since set the ball rolling back here in Glasgow, so watch this space!

Whilst in London, I made a quick pilgrimage to Stationers’ Hall, but since this was an unscheduled detour, I didn’t make myself known there. Definitely somewhere for my itinerary next time I’m down, because Stationers’ Hall recently brought their archives back in house.  This is certainly something worth investigating!

I’ve experimented with different ways of interpreting research in an effort to reach out to different audiences. I’ve sewn an abstract and I’ve made podcasts and even a videocast.  On the train home, I attempted a poem.  (Well, an 8787 verse, at any rate!)  If you’d like to see it, please visit our Facebook site, which seemed a more appropriate place for my amateur scribblings!

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







Dreams of Distant Places


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