Home > Rare Books at New College Library > Bagpipe music of the Isles

Bagpipe music of the Isles

A collection of piobaireachd, or pipe tunes : as verbally taught by the M’Crummen pipers in the Isle of Skye to their apprentices / now published, as taken from John M’Crummen … [by Neil MacLeod, Gesto]. Edinburgh : Printed by Alex. Lawrie & Co., 1828. New College Library Gaelic Collections 137

I’m delighted to announce that just over 400 items which together form the Gaelic Collections at New College Library have now been catalogued online and their details can now be browsed online using the shelfmark “Gaelic Coll.”

One particularly interesting and unique item in New College Library’s Gaelic Collections  is an instruction book on the bagpipe  (in Gaelic Pibroch, or, Ceol mor, or, literally, Big music). Entitled “A collection of piobaireachd, or pipe tunes”  it  includes ” Canntaireachd notation” which was a way of teaching pibroch using verbal sounds.

At first sight this looks like a collection of texts, but is actually music in the traditional ‘verbal notation’ that pipers used. It was published by Captain Niel MacLeod of Gesto, in Skye and  it has a handwritten dedication to Hugh MacQueen, a Writer to the Signet.

With thanks to Patrick Murray, our Gaelic Cataloguer, for supplying details of this item.

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