Volume I, preface, page iii - Scanned from the 1853 edition...
Volume I, preface, page iii - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
This first volume was published in 1787 and it is clear that Johnson never intended the project to extend to six volumes, he says 'The Subscription will be kept open, at least, to the publication of the Second Volume'. In 1803, 7 years after Burns's death and 16 years after the project was begun, Johnson published the sixth, final, volume.
This preface page is Johnson's mission statement to his target audience, whom he calls the 'true lovers of Caledonian song'. He does not explicitly mention Burns's involvement with the preparations for the second volume, but says he has enrolled 'a number of Gentlemen of an undisputed taste'. At the bottom of the page Johnson appeals to the public to submit songs, or unpublished music, 'of the true Ancient Caledonian strain' for inclusion in the 'Museum', which he calls the 'Repository of our National Music and Song'.