Prose & SongCorrespondence & Poetry

An update on progress

It’s been so long since I last wrote a blog post! it’s been a busy time, with lots of work to be done both for my Research Assistant post with ERBC21, and beyond.

For the past few months I’ve been busy tying up the last strings for Murray Pittock’s Scots Musical Museum volume. It has involved a lot of song collation and comparison, checking through manuscripts and contrasting them with the published versions – a bit tough on the eyes at times, when you have to make sure you’re not missing out on any comma, apostrophe or dash! There still is some work to be done for the Scots Musical Museum part of the project, but checking through the bibliography really felt like a definite sign of progress. Speaking of bibliographies, I was not expecting to take so long on it – I thought it would all be done in a week’s work, but I found that eighteenth-century bibliographical studies pose many issues and questions. We’ve had some humorous Twitter responses from the ‘Bass Culture’ team (another project here at Glasgow), who also deal with eighteenth-century music collections and completely understood the problems! Bibliographies can be fiddly things at the best of times, but when there are several publications with exactly the same title appearing in the same date but by different authors, or the same author with several publications with the same title out in different dates…confusion is unavoidable.

At this stage I’m shifting my focus towards the work to be done for Kirsteen McCue’s volume on George Thomson’s collections of Robert Burns songs. I’d already done research for this phase a few months back, but my colleague Gerard McKeever has been dealing with Thomson while I was occupied with Scots Musical Museum details. Now there’s a hiatus in the Scots Musical Museum workload I dedicate myself to Thomson a bit more too. Another bibliographical riddle, as you’ll gather from Kirsteen’s posts! For the time being it will be important to fill gaps in the databases, adding information such as references to composer settings in the complete works by various composers – from Pleyel to Haydn, Kozeluch, Beethoven and others. This will make research easier and will give us a wider picture of the connections we need to reinforce and emphasise. We also have plenty of plans for digital resources to complement the Oxford University Press edition.

I’ll try to write more regular updates – unless Thomson gets the better of me! things never get boring here at ERBC21: it’s a constant learning curve, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

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