The John Rook Manuscript

by Rob Say in Wall, England, United Kingdom

The John Rook Manuscript
We did it
On 3rd June 2021 we successfully raised £5,135 with 128 supporters in 42 days

Publish the 1840 music manuscript of John Rook and details of his life and role in music in North Shields and Cumberland in the early 19thC.

by Rob Say in Wall, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Additional funds would allow the initial print run of the hardback to be extended and make the information more widely available. 


The Manuscript

The Rook manuscript was compiled in 1840 by John Rook and contains over 1260 tunes from a wide variety of contemporary 19thC and earlier 18thC sources as well as a significant number of otherwise unknown pieces. The cover sheet also indicated that Rook was a multi-instrumentalist playing fiddle, flute, smallpipes, and other instruments. In addition to the sheer quantity of music, the manuscript has some intriguing links both to the very early years of the Northumbrian Smallpipes and the less well documented musical traditions of Cumberland. 

The manuscript has been shared amongst trad musicians for almost 40 years however the original is now considered lost. The content of the manuscript is only known from a photocopy (with 1 missing page) - however nothing was known about John Rook himself nor why someone in rural Cumberland appeared to be playing the then newly invented smallpipes.

The Research

Much research has already been carried out - and John Rook has been found! (although the manuscript is still lost). John Rook was born, and grew up, in North Shields and moved to Cumberland in 1833 following the death of his grandfather. Perhaps the most significant discovery has been that of two of Rook's own journals - including one from 1833 which details his relocation to Waverton and provides great detail on his musical activity.

The Book

This crowdfunder will allow the creation and printing of the reference hardback with:

  • details of John Rook's life and his place in the history of his music
  • a full transcription of his 1833 journal with annotations
  • a transcription of the manuscript - including notes on the tunes

Along with the hardback - a player's manuscript edition is also being created specifically intended to provide direct access to the music.

The pledges will be committed to production costs; extending the one-off print run to make the information available. 

Once published the transcription of the Rook manuscript (in ABC format) and indexes will also be made freely available. The player's manuscript can also be kept in print as long as there is interest!

1619096044_rookmanuscriptsamplepages.jpg

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£45 or more

Subscriber's Hardback + Player's Manuscript

Add your name to the list of subscribers in the book* and receive a copy of the limited edition hardback containing a full transcription of the Rook manuscript, notes on the tunes, details of his life and a transcription of his 1833 journal AND the a copy of the player's manuscript - posted to your address in the UK. * you can opt out of printed acknowledgement if you choose

£16 or more

Player's Manuscript

A copy of the players manuscript - a spiral/ coil bound copy of the Rook manuscript containing all the transcribed tunes & fully indexed - designed for the practising musician! (Posted to your address in the UK)

£35 or more

Subscriber's Hardback

Add your name to the list of subscribers in the book* and receive a copy of the limited edition hardback containing a full transcription of the Rook manuscript, notes on the tunes, details of his life and a transcription of his 1833 journal - posted to your address in the UK. * you can opt out of printed acknowledgement if you choose

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