Before the Internet

A few weeks ago I was looking for something in my filing cabinet and came across a dissertation I had written in 1964. I had written this while at college training to be a teacher and studying music. The pages were yellowing and brown around the edges. The typing was raggedy and inconsistent in colour. The music examples were fading as they had been hand written in blue ink. The work had been typed on a manual typewriter where you hit a lever to move to the next line. The pages were 8 inches wide and ten inches long not A4 as we use now.

Several thoughts came to my mind. How on earth did I manage this on a manual typewriter, 20,000 words or more and all the music examples? It must have taken me days to write. Then there was another thought, how did I find out all the information? There were no computers or search engines. The library and bookshops were my sources for the biographical information and descriptions of the music. I also used music scores as well. Listening to the music was done on a record player, the vinyl records playing at 33 rpm.

I decided to retype this and get it published via lulu, the company I use for my books so I had a much better copy of the work I had done. This was easier said than done however. I am managing the typing bit although there are lots of foreign names in it and strange characters that other languages use. A Google search helped me to solve that problem. So what about the music examples? I have music notation software but some of these examples were so complicated and would have to be printed and then scanned in order to place them in the document that I decided that handwriting them after all was the best policy. I still have to scan them but I find it quicker to handwrite them than to do them in the music notation programme.

While retyping, I am also learning. I have forgotten just how much I knew about these specific composers and their music which are the topic of the dissertation. It makes me realise just how much we learn at times during our lives and just how much we can forget as well. Do our memories only hold a certain amount of information so that when it is full like the memory on the computer, we have to erase some to make room for more? Some food for thought there! So this is an interesting experience. Not only am I relearning old stuff I am learning new stuff as well. Below is a scan of one of the original music quotes. The music is by Vaughan Williams.

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