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The School of Scottish Studies Sound Archive

TitleThe School of Scottish Studies Sound Archive
DescriptionThe Sound Archive is the main product of sixty years of fieldwork by staff, and more recently by students, of the School of Scottish Studies. Around 10,000 recordings have been made, mainly concerned with life and the traditional arts in Scotland. The collections include descriptions of daily life and work, custom and belief, songs, music, poetry and traditional tales. The subject matter is very varied including information on rural and urban life. Around half of the recordings feature traditional songs in Gaelic and Scots, usually unaccompanied (laments, love songs, work songs, ballads, lullabies and children’s rhymes) and there is a particularly rich repertoire of instrumental music, mainly pipe and fiddle tunes. Traditional narrative, stories and storytelling also feature (hero tales, romances, supernatural tales, accounts of historical events and clan battles) and there is a large collection of tales from Scotland's Travellers, many of which have been transmitted through families and communities from generation to generation. Recorded from the start by Calum Maclean and Hamish Henderson and those who followed them, the collection includes discussion of the life of crofters and farm servants, the agricultural year, food gathering and preparation, house construction, the herring industry, herbal cures, animal husbandry, weather lore and seasonal customs. Also documented are recollections of shipbuilding, factory work, mining, transport, housing, street life and entertainment. Both continuity and change are evident in the collections. As well as being a rich repository of oral tradition the Archive is invaluable for its range of dialects and accents in both Gaelic and Scots. The ethnographic fieldwork undertaken by the School includes a small video collection of craftwork, customs, fishing, agricultural work, tradition bearers, storytellers and singers. The Archive incorporates the Scottish Place-Name Survey and the Gaelic and Scots Linguistic Surveys, each of which combine audio recordings and manuscript material such as annotated maps and questionnaires. Donated material adds approximately 10,000 further recordings including a range of oral history projects from the 1970s to the present. Among these are the Scottish Labour History Society’s ‘Working People's Oral History in South East Scotland’, and projects from areas such as Luing, Glengarnock, Arbroath, Fife, Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow. Broadcast and commercial material includes discs of traditional music, folk music and music-hall donated by individual collectors. Material from outwith Scotland includes Peter Cooke’s ethnological work in India and Uganda, and copies of the Burton-Manning collection of songs and music from Appalachia along with the John Levy Archive. The Archive also acts as a repository for Qualidata, records produced by researchers in Scotland with ESRC grants. The collections are continually being added to and are currently being digitised for preservation and access purposes.
CustodianThe School of Scottish Studies
OriginEurope; Scotland; United Kingdom
Parent Collection The School of Scottish Studies Archives

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