MCP1: Library helpful hints

If you missed the Study Management clinics in the Library don’t worry. The Library team has put together a few helpful hints to help you find the articles/books chapters you require for your annotated bibliography.

You need to find 3 additional journal articles or book chapters related to the topic(s) covered by the reading for the critical reading worksheet, 1 to complete the second critical reading worksheet, and 2 to write an annotated bibliography. For the full assignment brief please see the MCP1 Moodle page.

  • By reading your chosen article you should have a good idea of what the topic is and the keywords that will help you to find other relevant resources.
  • Think about using the footnotes and/or bibliography from the critical readings to find further relevant resources.
  • Some of the readings are chapters within books, how about looking at the other chapters from the book?!
  • The Library catalogue will search books within the Library and e-books. It will NOT search the chapters within a book, so think about broadening your keywords to find relevant books and then go to the shelves to see if there’s a suitable chapter.
  • To access online resources you will need to know your Athens username and password. Make sure you know what this is before you go home for Christmas!
  • Grove Music Online has loads of articles about all aspects of music. Use the article bibliographies to lead you on to further resources.
  • JSTOR contains both journal articles and book chapters.
  • Use RNCM Discovery to search even more resources, including e-books, JSTOR, Oxford Online and Cambridge Online. It will give you a greater range of results than just JSTOR alone.
  • For a clear and concise explanation of what an annotated bibliography is go to (Linked with permission from Olin Library Reference, Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA)

Library Christmas party!

You are warmly invited to join the Library staff for an end-of-term/Christmas celebration on Wednesday 13 December, 12-2pm, in the Library. Mince pies and other drinks and nibbles will be provided!

Christmas opening hours

Library Opening Hours

Christmas Vacation

Monday 18 – Friday 22 December 9.30-13.00


Saturday 23 December – Monday 1 January


Tuesday 2 – Friday 5 January




Saturday 6 – Sunday 7 January


Monday 8 January Term-time opening hours resume

From Friday 15 December: 7 Day loans, CDs and DVDs will be due on Monday 8 January

From Friday 22 December: Short loan items will be due on Monday 8 January

(Please note that these extended loan periods are a trial and do not represent what may happen during other vacations. This may be subject to change at any time.)

Online resources are still available while the Library is closed using the links on Moodle, or your Athens login.

All opening times are subject to staff availability and the Library reserves the right to close if necessary. You are advised to phone in advance if you are making a special journey to visit the Library (0161 907 5243).

RNCM Library                      +44 (0) 161 907 5243

124 Oxford Road       


M13 9RD




Quick tips for searching the Library catalogue

Below is a list of helpful hints to help you make the most of the Library catalogue.

  • Include the letter prefixes when searching for a numbered piece e.g. no.1, op.1, or BWV.525, NOT 1, or 525.
  • Use Duo(s) NOT Duet(s)
  • Use the asterisk (*) to fill in the blanks if you’re unsure how to spell something. For example. Tcha* will find Tchaikovsky, or Fant* will find fantasy, fantasia and fantasie.
  • Use the drop-down database list to search a particular format, including CDs, Books and Music.
  • Use the Advance search option when you want to do more specific searches, e.g. a particular publisher. You can also use it to search a particular section. For example searching ML 410 and selecting shelfmark will show all the items in the ML 410, biography section.
  • Use the Browse tab to see all the items by a particular composer or under a certain title.

Weekly Library enquiry sessions

New pic 1The Library holds weekly enquiry sessions for students to ask for one-to-one help with any Library query. This could be help finding materials for your assignments, or how to search our online resources, or whatever you need.

The next enquiry sessions are:

Monday 9 Ocotber

Thursday 19 October

Library staff will be available 9-5 on these dates to help you, so just pop in and ask us for assistance.

New Acquisitions Reflect the Diverse Interests of Our Students

At first glance, the daily routine of a library assistant can admittedly be a little dry: new score arrives, stamp the score, add a barcode, print the bookplate, bag it, add to shelf. Repeat. Thankfully, the interests of our students and staff make for some fascinating reads along the way – it is not uncommon to find one of us flipping through the pages of a brand new score or book, momentarily grinding our makeshift assembly line to a halt while we pause to appreciate the intricacies of a particularly inventive graphic score (lines and dots printed on acetate? Mind = blown) or a beautiful facsimile of an ancient masterpiece (why are there only 3 lines? They used colours back then?).

This morning a particularly rich batch of scores arrived, prompting me to write this blog post – what better way of understanding the activities of our community than by offering a cross-section of the music that we play, study and enjoy? So here goes, a sampling of our most recent arrivals:

1. Alfred Schnittke, Hommage à Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokoviev and Dmitri Shostakovich, for piano six-hands

The German / Soviet composer Alfred Schnittke (1934 – 1998) is perhaps best known for his deeply personal form of ‘polystylism’ (perhaps more apt is the label of ‘post-everythingist’, as described in one media outlet), in which the composer freely borrows idioms from music of different times and places in Western culture. The results are often disorientating and wonderfully chaotic; Hommage certainly embodies these characteristics – as one might expect from most pieces involving one piano, six intertwined arms and thirty contorted fingers – although a certain unity is achieved as Schnittke skilfully highlights the stylistic intersections between these three giants of the Russian canon.

2. Björk, 34 Scores for Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and Celeste

At the more docile end of the musical spectrum, these solo keyboard arrangements of Björk’s songs emphasise the wonderful intimacy of her lyrics, in stark contrast to the often expansive and high-tech textures that populate the Icelandic superstar’s albums. Stylishly bound and visually seducing (the custom engraving, with its red and blue barlines and naively curled quavers, is quite touching), the collection offers the chance for anyone with some degree of keyboard skills to bash out these tunes in the privacy of their homes while singing along (vocal melodies and lyrics are included as well). To me, the main strength of the collection lies in its invitation to become an active participant in the re-creation of Björk’s music, offering a different perspective for Björk enthusiasts more accustomed to experiencing the music purely as a listener. It’s a Victorian living room revival for the modern era.

3. Cyril Scott, Selected Piano Works

Continuing the theme of Victorian living rooms (or Edwardian in this case), the piano works of Cyril Scott (1879 – 1970) paint a charming portrait of middle-class salons in the first decades of the 20th Century. Colourful, camp and a little bit saccharine, these pieces will delight anyone with a taste for the lighter side of Impressionism, coupled with nostalgia and some seriously singsong-y melodies (the Sonata op.66 strikes a more modernist tone). If I could think of an aural equivalent to the ITV period drama, this would surely be it!

Hopefully this small snapshot accurately reveals the wide range of interests of both students and staff at the College. It goes without saying that the Library is proud to respond to these diverse interests, by building a collection that reflects the needs of the RNCM community!

Most importantly, if there is some music, book or recording that you think would be useful to have in the library, do let us know, we’re always happy to order in new resources!












It’s Glastonbury this weekend, and with extensive coverage on bbc iplayer, here are the bands that the library staff are most excited about:

Top overall choices:

Radiohead: international art-rockers return to Glastonbury 20 years after the release of seminal album ‘OK Computer’

Laura Marling: folk-tinged singer-songwriter plays Glastonbury following the release of critically-acclaimed album ‘Semper Femina’

Hacienda Classical (feat. Manchester Camerata): DJs from the legendary Hacienda nightclub re-interpret rave classics with chamber orchestra

Full list of staff choices below line-up poster:

Glastonbury Poster

Alan (Library Assistant): Radiohead, Metronomy, Kate Tempest, Laura Marling, Glass Animals

Beavan (Library Assistant): BadBadNotGood, Thundercat, Alt-J, Solange, DJ Shadow

Doug (Senior Library Assistant): Radiohead, Rag’n’bone man, Hacienda Classical (feat. Manchester Camerata)

Sarah (Assistant Librarian): Radiohead, Hacienda Classical (feat. Manchester Camerata), Laura Marling, Martha Wainwright, Birdy

Peter (E-Learning Co-ordinator): First Aid Kit, Chic, Angel Olsen, Goldfrapp, Toots & the Maytals, Orchestra Baobab

Library opening: Summer vacation 2017

Monday July 10 – Sunday July 30

Monday – Friday 10am-1pm; 2pm-4.30pm
Saturday & Sunday Closed 

Monday July 31 – Sunday September 3 *

Monday – Friday Morning: Closed

2pm-4.30pm: Open

Saturday & Sunday Closed

*Monday August 28: Bank Holiday: CLOSED

Monday September 4 – Sunday September 17

Monday – Friday 10am-1pm; 2pm-4.30pm
Saturday & Sunday Closed

 Monday September 18 – Sunday September 24: INDUCTION WEEK

Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm
Saturday 9am – 1pm
Sunday Closed

Normal term time hours resume on Monday September 25

Afternoon opening during August is subject to staff availability – you are advised to phone in advance if you are making a special journey to visit the Library (0161 907 5243)

Berlin Phil’s Digital Concert Hall May Provide Your Next Summer Binge-Fest

Some of you may have already taken advantage of the Library’s subscription to the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall, where you can access live streams from the legendary orchestra’s concert season, as well as a veritable treasure trove of archival recordings, films and interviews. For those of you who have yet to discover the service, here are 5 reasons why you should probably ditch Netflix right now and start streaming some lush orchestral textures:

  1. The Philharmonic in HD
    The quality of the video is seriously stunning (provided your internet connection is decent), and the audio is top-notch as well. Although they say you can’t beat the live experience, where else can you witness a close-up of Simon Rattle’s hair in full HD?! To get an idea of the technical virtuosity involved in bringing us such a high-quality experience, check out this behind the scenes video.

  2. A Slick and Intuitive Interface
    Apart from looking really swish, the site is easy to navigate and includes a variety of options for exploring the different features: upcoming live streams are listed by date, and you can browse through archival recordings by selecting from a list of terms including composer, soloist, genre and season. There is also a search feature on the top of the page, which is useful, although as librarians we don’t like the fact that you can’t search for different terms (i.e composer and title) within the same search. We can excuse this one fault however, as the rest of the interface works pretty well!

  3. Vintage Gems
    Many of the orchestra’s archival recordings have been digitised, meaning that you can watch Karajan conduct Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe in 1978, or Abbado’s inaugural concert from 1989, in which he delivers a stellar Mahler 1.

  4. Bonus content
    Remember when DVDs had all that extra content that no one ever bothered watching? Well, DCH has a large collection of bonus stuff that you will actually want to watch! This includes exclusive interviews with luminaries such as John Adams, Barbara Hannigan and Isabelle Faust, as well as a series of short portrait films featuring individual musicians from the orchestra.

  5. Mobile Concert Hall
    They have an app! Which, in the true spirit of German innovation, is highly functional, looks great and contains all of the same great features that can be found on the website. The app is available for Apple, Android and Kindle Fire (apologies to the last remaining Blackberry user who may be reading this).

By now you’re probably asking yourself, how do I sign up? The answer to this question is quite simple: from a college computer, start by visiting the website. The site will prompt you to create an account as an RNCM student or member of staff. Once you have created the account and verified your email address, you’ll be given instant access, on and off-campus, to this fountain of orchestral extravagance. There is one tiny bit of fine print: you will have to login to the service once a month via the college network for your subscription to remain active. And there you have it, as easy as Covfefe.

Library opening: Easter vacation

Easter Vacation 2017

3-23 April

Week 1
Monday 3 – Friday 7 April 9.30am – 4.30pm
Saturday 8 April CLOSED
Week 2
Monday 10 –Thursday 13 April 9.30am – 4.30pm
Friday 14 – Saturday 15 April CLOSED
Week 3
Monday 17 April CLOSED
Tuesday 18 – Thursday 20 April 9am – 5pm
Friday 21 April 9.30-5pm
Saturday 22 April 9am – 1pm