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A tune from the FARNE Archive
A tune from the FARNE Archive

The FARNE Project was funded for a two year period. It became clear from an early stage that digitisation could proceed long beyond these two years. So the FARNE team set about drawing up a Content Selection Policy to help to prioritise material. This policy drove the decisions we made regarding inclusion of material on the FARNE site.

We bore the following points in mind:

Historical significance
Is the item particularly indicative of a development in Northumbrian music, or unique in some way?

Are we presenting a good range of material by date, to give an indication of the development of music over time? We decided that music of the folk revival period should not be included, since it was another project in itself.

Is the item in urgent need of preservation? Is the original extremely fragile?

How accessible to the public is the item already? Has a reprint of the original been published?

Ease of digitisation
How will the item copy? Is it a photocopy or an original?

How useful will the item be to our end users? Is it still of practical interest as a musical work?

Geographic range
Are we presenting a wide geographic spread of material?

Overlap of content
Is material very similar to that which has already been selected?
From the song collections
From the song collections
The FARNE Project was very fortunate to have expertise on hand at all times to help us make decisions about our content. Our project Steering Group includes the leading Northumbrian musician Alistair Anderson, Director of Beamish Museum John Gall and Professor of Music at Newcastle University Richard Middleton. These and the rest of the Group have been able to offer expert advice and indeed steer us onto the right ath at critical moments.

We also employed two content specialists to help with the selection and captioning of items: musician Johnny Handle worked on the selection of songs. A key figure in the region’s folk revival of the 1950s and ’60s, Johnny has a great working knowledge of the songs of the region. He had recently completed work on the Northumbria Anthology project, which set about selecting and re-recording traditional songs. We used this to our advantage and set Johnny off to select a good cross section of songs of the region, trying as best possible to represent the development of song as well as the different areas of Northumbria.
Matt Seattle joined the FARNE team as specialist in Northumbrian tunes. Matt is a keen musician and researcher, and author of several books about Northumbrian music collections. We set Matt on the trail of the region’s finest tunebooks. Matt then captioned the items for us, and indexed all items by key, time signature and Gores index. Matt and Johnny have also helped with the development of some of the background and explanatory information on the site, found in the ’Learn’ section.

There have been certain obstacles and shortfalls in our content we have been unable to avoid. The absence of much music by women is notable. Although we tried to address this issue, it seems that women did not record what they were singing or playing as men did... which is a research project in itself. Similarly, some important manuscripts which are now held outside of the region have been excluded. This includes William Dixon’s manuscript in Perth, the oldest bagpipe manuscript in the UK. Unfortunately time pressures meant that we had to concentrate on music held within the region today.

But all this leaves room for another project.... it may be coming your way soon!
Music...its what we're all about
Music...its what we're all about



Content Selection
Our policies revealed

Gateshead Central Library
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