The Piobaireachd Society is pleased to announce the publication of Donald MacDonald’s Collection of Piobaireachd Volume 2, manuscript (1826), by Roderick Cannon and Keith Sanger.  It is available price £30 from the Piping Centre and the College of Piping. Volume 1, Donald MacDonald’s book of Piobaireachd is still available price £20.  The price for both books is £40.

Donald MacDonald’s Collection of Piobaireachd Volume 2, manuscript (1826) is the last in a series of editions of the early – ie pre Angus MacKay – sources of Piobaireachd, the main author of the series being Roderick Cannon. The first, the Compleat Theory of the Highland Bagpipe written by Joseph MacDonald in 1760 was published by the Piobaireachd Society in 1994. The MacGregor- MacArthur manuscript of 1820 followed, published by the John MacFadyen Trust. 

An edited version of Donald MacDonald’s book of 1820, was published by the Piobaireachd Society in 2006. Donald MacDonald’s manuscript of 50 tunes had never been published, so this edition is the first publication of that. The intensive work required for such a major publication started in 2006, although Roderick Cannon and Keith Sanger had been researching it before then.  All these collections, but perhaps this one most of all, are important for today’s piper because they show a style of piobaireachd which has largely disappeared.  Not only are the well known differences in cadences, echo beats and crunluath fosgailte and amach present, but there are also many tunes with different variations. 

Some examples are The Vaunting, Piper’s Warning to his Master and John Garve of Raasay’s Lament, and there are many more including attractive versons of Lament for the Old Sword, Lament for Alasdair Dheirg and the Glen is Mine.  The piper can now see clearly this style and decide whether to include these version’s of the tunes in his or her repertoire.  The tunes often take on a very different character, which many find attractive. The book contains detailed historical and musical notes, and the 50 piobaireachds are laid out clearly. T and C symbols are used, and D is used for dithis variations.  Otherwise the editing is light, erasing obvious errors and ommisions, with the characteristic MacDonald gracings being left without modification.