Resources for Musicians
To book any of the instruments, or the rooms mentioned, for practice purposes please email the Conference & Events team. Keys for the pianos should be signed out from the Porters' Lodge. Room bookings are usually limited to 2-hour slots. In the interests of fairness, during busy periods the College may limit the number of sessions an individual can book. During quieter periods an individual may book multiple sessions per day. Please wash your hands before using pianos and wipe keyboards with anti-viral wipes provided, ensuring you dry any excess moisture immediately with a tissue.
There is a Yamaha grand piano in the Music Room in Fuchs House, along with a Chappell Baby Grand piano in the Combination Room: these are available to pianists with Grade 7 or above. There is an upright piano for practice purposes in the Seminar Room. The digital piano in the Lee Room is for all to enjoy- no need to book. Please provide your own headphones. The WCSA piano in the club room can no longer be tuned due to its age.
The Steinway grand piano in the Lee Hall, donated by Dr Roger Briscoe and Professor Linda Wicker, may only be used by advanced players (Diploma level or music student). As well as completing the application form please email the Director of Music enclosing a copy of the relevant qualifications to gain access.
Silas Wollston has kindly given us a long-term loan of his beautiful chamber organ, which is kept in the foyer of the Lee Hall. It is a copy of a 17th-century English chamber organ, perfect for Purcell and earlier repertoire (Coprario, Lawes) but also useful for continuo. It is a single manual instrument which can play at four pitches 390-415-440-460hz, and has four stops (8', 8', 4', 2'). It can be moved into the hall to accompany college services and concerts.
The Wolfson College Music Society harpsichord is a fine double-manual instrument in the Flemish style made by renowned Boston maker William Post Ross. The instrument was generously bought for and donated to the College by Professor Brian Moore, a long-standing supporter of the Music Society.
The instrument, no. 24 in Ross's catalogue, was built in 1968. It is a concert instrument with unusually powerful voices and rich sonorities. The two 8' stops are of pronounced individuality, and together with the shiny 4' stop, they mix well to give a full, harmonious tutti. The fine lute action carries remarkably well in the concert hall.
The keyboards each have 63 keys, from FF to g''', with ebony naturals and highly polished white bone sharps. The case measures 232 cm long, 94 cm wide, and 28 cm deep. The outside is painted dark green while the inside is dark red, both surfaces in a smoothly rubbed finish. The inside of the lid is decorated with gold bands. The inner sides and borders of the case are paper finished, matt varnished over for protection.
The antique spruce soundboard is hand painted in tempera with delicate flowers, leaves, butterflies, insects, etc, that follow the Flemish tradition. A Shakespeare sonnet is beautifully copied along the spine.
The instrument is stored on the stage in the Lee Hall (on stage heating must be kept off at all times). Because of its fragility it is available to play only by the most experienced players. Advanced keyboard players who would like to play the instrument must obtain permission from the Director of Music, Lyn Alcántara, by completing the application form.
The Music Society wishes to record its sincere thanks to Professor Moore for making this instrument available. It can be heard at termly Early Music Recitals.
Other musical resources
To book a music practice room, please email the Conference & Events team. Keys for the room should be signed out from the Porters' Lodge. Room bookings are usually limited to 2-hour slots. In the interests of fairness, during busy periods the College may limit the number of sessions an individual can book. During quieter periods an individual may book multiple sessions per day. Rooms which may be booked include Fuchs House Music Room, Lee Hall, Seminar Room and Combination Room. During the pandemic we ask that you keep the room ventilated, whilst being mindful not to disturb those living and studying nearby. During the Quiet Period during the summer there may be limits on music practice.
There are music stands on the Lee Hall stage and in Fuchs House and the Seminar Room. Please do not leave music stands in the Combination Room. Please do not remove any of these without permission from the Director of Music.
The Society has an extensive choral library. Please email the Director of Music for access.
There is also a selection of sheet music available, mostly for voice or piano or violin, including some chamber music, in the Fuchs House Music Room. A number of opera scores are also available. Feel free to browse but please complete the borrowing book if you take a score out of the room. There is a large selection of music reference books and set texts in the Lee Library.
Music Society notice board
Please check the notice board in the corridor on the ground floor of Bredon House next to the KSJ room for information about musical activities in College and advertisements for local concerts.
Useful web links
Here is a small selection of links to sites likely to be of interest to members of the Music Society and Choir:
- Choral Public Domain Public Library (CPDL) - free choral/vocal scores, texts, translations and other useful information
- Free scores from the Petrucci Music Library
- Cyberbass - Resources to promote innovative learning amongst choral singers
- Oxford Music Online - This subscription service is available free of charge and without a password from within the Cam domain; a Raven password is needed to access the service from elsewhere. It includes Grove Music Online.
- CUMS - Cambridge University Musical Society
- West Road Concert Hall
- Cambridge Concert Calendar - free online list of Cambridge concerts
- Sight Singing School - an online subscription sight singing course
- ABRSM - Music Exam board.
- Gerontius - Choral Music Resources