Scottish Song Card Index and its conversion into an online database

The music collections in the National Library of Scotland contain significant collections of Scottish song. The publication details of these collections are listed in the main music catalogue but access to individual songs is only possible through a separate card song index. What makes this index stand out from most other song indexes is the amount of detail recorded for each song:

  • Musical incipit (the first bars in music notation)
  • List of different types of titles (song title, tune title, 'incipit title')
  • First words i.e. text incipits
  • Number of bars
  • Number of verses and lines in each verse
  • List of bibliographical references (Year/Name and Title/Vol no/Page no/Song no)

With this degree of detail the song index caters for the many alternative titles, first words and tunes that have evolved through oral tradition and publishing history.

The transfer of this index into the online environment will not only allow remote access to data contained in the card index but also offer new ways of searching for songs as well as offering links to digital images and sound.

See examples from the Scottish Song Card Index front and back page of the card listing details of Aikendrum, versions 1 and 2:

Aikendrum (1), front page Aikendrum (1), front page
    
Aikendrum (1), back page Aikendrum (1), back page
    
Aikendrum (2) Aikendrum (2)

 

Search the pilot database

Please feel free to send comments and suggestions to us: music@nls.uk.