Home > Rare Books at New College Library > Piping treasure on display in ‘The Piper’s Whim’ Exhibition

Piping treasure on display in ‘The Piper’s Whim’ Exhibition

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

Currently on display at St Cecilia’s Hall, Cowgate, Edinburgh is an instruction book on the bagpipe  (in Gaelic Pibroch, or, Ceol mor, or, literally, Big music) from New College Library’s Gaelic Collection. 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.

The volume is on display as part of THE PIPER’S WHIM: Exhibition of Historic Bagpipes from Scotland, England and Ireland,  a special exhibition showing the full variety of bagpipes played in Britain from the past 250 years. These include Lowland and Border pipes, the more familiar Highland bagpipe, Northumberland smallpipes and Irish union or uillean pipes. The exhibition explores the traditions of piping, pipemaking and bagpipe ownership.

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