Publication of first scholarly edition of piobaireachd* music

Published: 26 November 2001

A publication marking the first scholarly edition of piobaireachd from an original source will be launched on the eve of St. Andrews Day, Thursday 29 November.

Event & photocall: Thursday 29 November

*Piobaireachd is the classical tradition of pipe music, including laments, clan gathering tunes and salutes, performed by a solo piper. The genre was strongly evident in Highland Clans until the end of the 18th century and flourishes today in recital and competition.

A publication marking the first scholarly edition of piobaireachd from an original source will be launched on the eve of St. Andrews Day, Thursday 29 November. The 'MacArthur-MacGregor Manuscript of Piobaireachd' dates back to 1820 when the two men recorded in staff notation unique compositions which had previously been transmitted orally through generations of pipers. Thirty of their pieces appear in the book. This publication is the first in the 'Music of Scotland' series, produced jointly by the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow.

Roderick Cannon, Consulting Editor, said: "It was with great foresight that MacArthur and MacGregor set about recording piobaireachd music for posterity. The Highland way of life changed rapidly throughout the 18th Century and it could no longer be guaranteed that piobaireachd would survive as a genre. Piobaireachd is a unique art form, which was mostly played by professional pipers. The emotive tunes are extremely complex in their structure and were reserved for special occasions such as castle visits, welcomes to chiefs, death laments and battle cries. For piobaireachd to appear in a well-researched academic publication that is also designed for performance is an achievement indeed."

The 'MacArthur-MacGregor Manuscript of Piobaireachd' is volume one in the series the 'Music of Scotland', published jointly by the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow. Launching the series, Dr Warwick Edwards of the University of Glasgow Music Department said: "The aim of the 'Music of Scotland' series is to make accessible the whole range of Scottish music traditions, including some which have been largely ignored in academic circles. This piobaireachd volume demonstrates our commitment to this pledge."

Funding and editorial co-ordination of the project was organised by the John MacFadyen Memorial Trust. The series 'Music of Scotland' is funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow.


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* A photocall will be held at 11.15 on Thursday 29 November in the Carnegie Room, University Main Building

* Accomplished piper and co-editor of the book, Andrew Wright, will play an extract from the manuscripts. Mr Wright will be available for photographs and interview

* The launch event will take place at 11.45, lunch will be provided

* Amongst those in attendance will be University Principal, Professor Sir Graeme Davies, Alasdair Milne (Former Director General of BBC, Chairman of the McFadyen Trust), Professor James Porter (Cultural History Department, University of Aberdeen, and co-general editor Music of Scotland), Dr Warwick Edwards (Music Department, University of Glasgow)

* Copies of the book are available, priced ?30, from Cawdor Book Services Limited, 96 Dykehead Street, Queenslie, Glasgow G33 4AQ. Tel: 0141 766 1000, Fax: 0141 766 1000, email: ISBN: 0 8526169 3 7

* For further information contact Dr Warwick Edwards, 0141 330 5288

* Original authors from 1820 were pipers Angus MacArthur of Trotternish in Skye and John MacGregor of Fortingall in Perthsire

First published: 26 November 2001