Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Prodigal Saxophone Suite!

I arranged a short suite of Scottish tunes from Alexander Campbell's 19th century Albyn's Anthology collection, some months ago.  And rearranged two of the pieces for sax trio. I had a little panic the other day when I couldn't find them, but they turned up - where I'd shelved them - so I arranged the other three pieces, and now the sax suite is complete.  Anyone want a sax trio?  

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Writing written

I encountered Rohan Maitzen's impressive blog for the first time this afternoon:  It's set out with different sections for writings on academia, novel-reading, and much more - and it's a very attractive website to boot.  But what made me sit up today was the most recent posting, on Rohan's written output this year.  Oh, wow!

A few weeks ago I had cause to check back over my 2011 output, and found to my chagrin that I had nothing suitable for the Library and Information History Group essay competition.  (I'm hopeful that maybe I might have something for next year's competition.)  Moreover, I thought maybe it was worth looking at my written output for 2012, bearing in mind that I'm a librarian recently partially seconded to a postdoc position, and not a full-time academic.  I'm not even looking to change jobs, but how would it come across to a future employer, bearing in mind I would have to have a scholarly profile if something extraordinary did come along?

In 2012, I published three book reviews and two scholarly articles, with a book and another scholarly article pending in the first quarter of 2013.  (Another two articles have been submitted for peer-review.)  I've also made four contributions to the Times Higher Education 'What are you Reading?' column, and contributed postings to the Journal of Victorian Culture Online, and the librarianship online journal, Sunrise (CILIP East of England & CDG), for continuing professional development. 

Talking of CPD, I've followed the 23 Things programme right through, with a blogpost on just about every 'thing', on my Airs and Graces: the Muso's CPD blog.  

Actually, I've blogged much more than that, because I've also kept this blog going - True Imaginary Friends, about my journey to becoming a published book author - and the Whittaker Library blog, Whittaker Live, which is the longest-established of my blogs.  (There are a couple more, but I visit them very infrequently.)

On reflection, I realise I've actually written much more than I realised, and it's a fair reflection of my dual identity as music librarian and musicologist.  But I'm still hopeful that 2013 will be even better still.  Watch this space! 

Writing written 2012: Book Reviews
  1. Eighteenth Century Scotland 26 (Spring 2012), 30, Review of Blind Ossian’s Fingal: Fragments and Controversy, compiled and translated by James Macpherson, ed. and introduced by Allan Burnett and Linda Andersson Burnett (Edinburgh: Luath, 2011) 
  2. Fontes  Vol.59 no.1 (2012), 67-69, Review of The Music Trade in Georgian England, ed. Michael Kassler (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011) 
  3. Library Review 61.6 (2012), 470, Review of Peter Willis, Chopin in Manchester (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Elysium Press Publishers, 2011) 
  4. Times Higher Education. What are you reading? 4 contributions to this column in 2012. 
Journal articles
  1. Brio 49 no.1 (2012), 49-60, ‘Crowdsourcing the Celtic Bard: Wandering Minstrels and Mournful Harps from the Western Isles to Wales’ 
  2. Fontes Vol.59 no.1 (2012), 25-38, ‘Minstrels of the Celtic Nations: Metaphors in Early Nineteenth-Century Celtic Song Collections’ 
  3. Journal of Victorian Culture Online October 30, 2012, ‘Just another old book of Scottish Tunes?’ 
  4. Sunrise (CILIP East of England & CDG) 2012 issue 1, 2-3, ‘SocialMedia in Libraries: Me and My Cyber Presence’
  1. Article accepted 
  2. Book: Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish Song Collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era: Ashgate for publication March 2013. 

The Distracted (but not yet abstracted) Mind

Okay, I've tried to acess the Golden Pages conference website - but I can't persuade it to register me, and without registering myself, I can't register the conference either.  So, in a word, I'm stuck.

Let's look at the problem from another angle.  If I can't register the conference right now without human intervention, then maybe I should concentrate on writing my own abstract for submission to the conference.

Here's what I thought: if I start with the premise that every generation or so, there's a new book about Scottish music, then I can go back through the generations to the Scottish Enlightenment, and talk about William Tytler and John Callander.  One wrote a dissertation, and the other failed to produce a book.

There's no recorded link between the two, though they would undoubtedly have known one another.  However, what interests me is what determined that one would become an authoritative source, and the other would remain unwritten.  A case of 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man'?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

One Book Launch or Two?

 A Tale of Two Cities

This is where a First Book gets really exciting: we're going to have a Glasgow book launch in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Whittaker Library (my workplace), when my book is published.  Ashgate's estimated publication date is 28 March 2013, but until we know the exact date, we can't plan a great deal.

I'm thinking of a short talk, and music from the different eras that I wrote about - from 1760 to 1888.  And also, a suite of tune arrangements that I've done, using tunes from one of the collections.  All this depends on my persuading willing/unwilling parties to perform for me! But after all, I do work in a Conservatoire.

But now there's the chance of a second launch at the Musica Scotica Conference in Edinburgh on 27 April 2013.  I suspect that launch may not involve performers, but who knows?  I do have one or two ideas - different ones.

Given the age-old competition between Glasgow and Edinburgh, it would be entirely appropriate to have an event in each city, don't you think?

Indexed an' a'

My book layout proofs have gone back to Ashgate, and my indexer has sent me the index.  I am very, very impressed with it!  It's interesting to see what she has found to index that I - never having trained as an indexer - would never have thought of!  I now need to check it and send it off to gladden my editor's heart when she returns from the Christmas break!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Callander's Ghost

My book may be at the proof-correcting, indexing stage already, but there's still plenty about my subject to interest me.

Take Mr John Callander, Esq.  He proposed to write a book about Scottish music.  He never did, mind you, but that's hardly the point.  I wanted to know what it would have been like, if he'd written it.

Off I went to Edinburgh last Monday, to inspect the eighteenth century Edinburgh Musical Society's Sederunt books - that's the minute books of the chairman, treasurer and directors' committee meetings.  As I sat on the train to Edinburgh, Mr Callander's ghost started up. 'Why are you off to Edinburgh?  You won't find much about me there.  Haven't you got better things to do with your time?  I never wrote the book, for heaven's sake.'

I ignored him, naturally.  I wanted to know more about him, I knew he'd been in the EMS, and there was a chance I might find just what I was looking for.

Callander was scathing.  As we walked up the steep steps to the Royal Mile, he kept up a running commentary.  'THIS wasn't here when I used to come to Edinburgh.  THAT MONUMENT wasn't there.' (He pointed to the Sir Walter Scott monument).  Well, he piped down once he realised I was going to sit and read the Sederunt books whether he liked it or not.

Did I find him there?  Intermittently, yes.  But not in connection with the proposed Scottish musical history book.

He wouldn't give me a moment's peace on the train back to Glasgow.  'I TOLD you so, I TOLD you so, I TOLD you so, Oh, so I did, Oh, so I did!'

Eventually, I had to tell him to shut up.  I'm afraid I was rather brusque.  'You didn't actually write the book, John.  But I have already written 6,000 odd words about you, so you're not really in a position to criticise!'

'Madam, you should be at home looking after your family, not writing books and articles, or earning a professional income.  It's most unladylike and unbecoming.'

Shall I let him think he's had the last word this time?