Instead of going to Sheena’s house this week I got to be a massive geek at the Wighton Heritage Centre. We looked through several really interesting collections – Wighton’s collection was a bizarre mix of dirty songs copied from Thomas D’Urfey and more respectable tunes from Gow and Marshall. The Thompson collection was really interesting how it combined classical and traditional music with reels and sonatas next to each other. Today it is seen as innovative to combine traditional and classical music but in these 18th and 19th century collections it seemed very commonplace.
We did squeeze a little bit of singing in between looking at the collections. I sang two songs I had learnt since our last visit. The first I had learnt from Sheena, Willie’s Fatal Visit. I felt really comfortable with this song – I love ballads. Sheena pointed out the importance of stillness whilst singing a ballad. I hadn’t really considered this before, and I agree that a singer who has a stillness to them can really capture an audience.
The second song however I wasn’t comfortable at all with (and apparently it showed!). Crookieden is a faster satirical song about revenge on the Duke of Cumberland, I need to work on getting this really light yet menacing!
Before I caught the train home I got a real treat – a glance at their newly acquired Jimmy Shand collection! There were only a couple of dance tune books like I had expected – he alo had exquisite handwritten manuscripts from the 18th and 19th centuries. Seeing the tunes and songs beautifully written out from years and years ago made the music of the time seem so familiar to me, if it wasn’t for their condition they could’ve been written today. I felt very lucky to get the chance to look through Shand’s impressive collection!