George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

The Panmure Music Books: acquired in 1957

The Panmure manuscripts are the most remarkable collection of manuscript music ever to be acquired by the National Library of Scotland.

They include by far the largest and most significant surviving collection of Scottish music of the 17th century.

Within the collection, which is known as 'the Panmure Music Books', the most important volume is 'Robert Edward's Commonplace Book' (pictured). The collection contains music for voice, both solo and in harmony, for keyboard and for cittern (a medieval stringed instrument), as well as treatises on music, and some poetry.

The compiler, Robert Edward, was a kinsman of the Maules of Panmure. From about 1640 to 1665 he seems to have copied down tunes that he heard, that he saw in manuscript, or that he came across in published sources. Italian, French, and English music is represented, as well as Scottish, and some of the tunes appear to be of his own composition, e.g. 'Constant Penelope'.

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