Interleaved 'Scots Musical Museum' 4 volumes annotated by Robert Burns.

James Johnson, editor; Johnson & Co, publisher 
Object Number:


Robert indulged his lifelong passion for music throughout the 1790s. When he visited Edinburgh in the late 1780s, he met the engraver James Johnson who had begun collecting Scottish songs for publication. When the two met in 1787, Johnson’s first volume of The Scots Musical Museum was well-underway.

Johnson, recognising a fellow lover of music, invited Burns to contribute to the subsequent volumes. Over the next few years, Robert contributed over 150 original songs to Johnson as well as many more traditional songs he had collected and re-worked with new lyrical arrangements.

Three more volumes of The Scots Musical Museum came to be published during Burns’s lifetime. This four volume set was in the possession of Burns’s neighbour Robert Riddell at Friars’ Cares while Burns farmed at Ellisland.

It is interleaved with blank pages between songs, which allowed Robert to write personal notes about the individual songs he contributed. Burns provides unmatched insight into his creative workings through these annotations, often describing where he gathered the song, how he changed the lyrics or melody, and how his personal experiences influenced the reworking.

Bookmark and Share
Back to top