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Music, Heritage, Place

Music, Heritage, Place

Unlocking the Musical Collections of England’s County Record Offices

A Decentralised History of English Music

This collaborative project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and led by Professor Stephen Rose at Royal Holloway with Professor Kirsten Gibson and Nancy Kerr (Newcastle University). The project will uncover and investigate the music manuscripts and printed music from c.1550 to c.1850 held in local archives across England. This project will document these sources by creating catalogue records within the database Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) and within the Cecilia database run by IAML UK (International Association of Music Libaries, Archives and Documentation Centres). Our research will create new understandings of the types of music that were made, used and circulated in England’s regions, revealing previously untold stories about the men and women active in musical life of past centuries. We will challenge dominant narratives of English music as based in major cities and cultural centres, instead showing how music circulated between local communities and at all social levels.

The project will investigate over 600 music manuscripts and items of printed music held in England’s county record offices. It will explore how the archival discoveries can be reworked for present-day audiences and can inspire a new generation of musicians. Performances and educational workshops arising from the research will be developed in collaboration with the English Folk Dance and Song Society and Music Partnership North. To connect this heritage with the communities where the music originated, we will co-create public engagement events with project partners Cumbria Archives, Hampshire Archives, Northumberland Archives and Surrey History Centre.

Hampshire Musical Heritage

In Hampshire, our project Unlocking Hampshire’s Musical Heritage has digitised music manuscripts from Hampshire Record Office and unlocked their contents through catalogue records in the RISM database. Explore the digitised manuscripts and explore the catalogue records on RISM. We gratefully acknowledge funding from Hampshire Archives Trust.


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