If you’ve any knowledge of popular Scottish dance-music of the mid twentieth century, then accordion player Jimmy Shand will undoubtedly come to mind. His band became synonymous with Scottish country dancing for several decades.
But fewer people know that he collected old Scottish music – historic material, make no mistake – and the Friends of Wighton in Dundee successfully bid for his collection a couple of years ago. Now they’re crowdfunding to raise money to restore the books, which are in a rather fragile state.
I’ve had quite a bit to do with the Wighton Collection during various pieces of research that I’ve done, and next Saturday I go to Dundee Central Library to give a talk to the Friends of Wighton about both Wighton’s and Shand’s collections. I consider this a great honour – some very famous names are connected with the Wighton Collection, and I’m relatively unknown except in academic circles.
My family are a bit bemused by the copies of harpsichord music appearing on our piano stand this week!
I’ve been practising my musical examples furiously, and today I got access to a harpsichord so I could familiarise myself with the harpsichord touch. Sadly, the instrument had been moved recently, but had not yet been retuned. My ears were practically bleeding after half an hour playing a piece in the key of F, because this was what I was actually hearing:-
At that stage, I moved to a grand piano where I played merrily, if inauthentically, enjoying the lack of dissonances! I’m looking forward to playing the very beautiful harpsichord in the Wighton Centre, which I know has just been tuned. (Ahh, happy ears!)
I took myself off to Glasgow University Library to look at their copies of other music in the Shand collection, to see if I might find more worthwhile musical examples. And indeed I did, so I’d better print my photos out now, to see what I can use …