The Piobaireachd Society’s Book 10 – Revised Edition 2016

Book 10 of the Piobaireachd Society’s collection was first published in 1961 and has been re-printed several times since then.   It was the tenth, and last, book edited by the redoubtable Archibald Campbell of Kilberry, who was, at that time, Honorary Secretary to the Society’s Music Committee.   It contains sixteen tunes derived from the scores in Angus MacKay’s book, originally published in 1838 and most recently re-printed in 1972.   The tunes contained in Book 10 are as follows:

The Marquis of Argyll’s Salute, MacLeod’s Controversy, Sir Ewin Cameron of Locheil’s Salute, The MacGregors’ Salute, MacKenzie of Applecross’s Salute,  The Young Laird of Dungallon’s Salute, MacLeod of Colbeck’s Lament, MacKenzie of Gairloch’s Lament, The Red Hand in the MacDonalds’ Arms, The Earl of Ross’s March, The MacRaes’ March, War or Peace, The MacLeans’ March, The Gordons’ Salute, Prince Charles’s Lament, MacNeil of Barra’s March.

While reviewing the contents for the latest re-print of Book 10, the Music Committee took the view that, in a few cases, the scores were deficient or erroneous to the extent that they were unlikely to prove attractive to pipers and, moreover, that there were alternative scores available from other ancient sources which seemed preferable.   In addition, there were many typographical errors, both in the scores and in the editorial notes, which required correction.

It became clear that these changes could only be accomplished satisfactorily by re-typesetting all of the scores, something that had not hitherto been done for any of the sixteen books.   This proved to be quite a challenge!   We initially came up with around 50 changes of one kind or another, but this number soon doubled.   As with everything in piping, there was much debate about minutiae and it took almost three years to get everything (more or less) agreed.

Although many of the tunes are well-known favourites, a small number are not often played.   One reason for this may be that the settings of these tunes were somewhat convoluted and difficult to interpret and memorise.  A decision was therefore taken to replace them with settings which were more regular, and so easier to interpret, and which also seemed more musically appealing.   The scores of the following tunes were replaced:

‘The MacLeans’ March‘ by a version taken from the MacArthur-MacGregor Manuscript of Piobaireachd (1820).

‘War or Peace’ by a version based on the MacLeod of Gesto Canntaireachd.

‘The Gordons’ Salute’ by a version derived from the Campbell Canntaireachd.

In the case of ‘The Gordons’ Salute’ the original score was also retained.

We hope that these changes will encourage more frequent playing of these seldom heard tunes and that they will gradually become part of the popular repertoire.

In addition, a score for ‘MacLeod’s Controversy’, derived from the Campbell Canntaireachd, was deemed to be interesting and different enough from the Angus MacKay score to be included along with it.   While there are only minor timing differences in the early parts of the score, the main difference is that the crunluath variations are presented in breabach, rather than conventional, form.

The English titles of the tunes have been shown as the principal ones and, where necessary, the Gaelic names have been corrected.   For all of the tunes, the editorial notes give details of the changes that have been made from earlier editions.

While Angus MacKay’s book was the main source of the tunes, his timings and other details are not always adhered to.   For example, it has become conventional in the Piobaireachd Society’s publications to present taorluath and crunluath variations in 2/4 time, with pause marks to indicate where notes should be given a little more weight, rather than in 6/8 time.   Conventional modern notation for “echoes”, “hiharins” and other embellishments has been employed and instructions to repeat the urlar at various points have been omitted.

In the past, editorship of books in the Piobaireachd Society’s series has usually rested upon the shoulders of one individual, Archibald Campbell for the earlier books and Archie Kenneth for the later ones.   For this revised edition, however, all members of the Music Committee contributed and the results are the efforts of a team.

A wide range of source documents for piobaireachd is now available on the Piobaireachd Society website at:   In view of the accessibility of these ancient documents on the internet, alternative scores and canntaireachd texts have been omitted from the new edition.   One consequence of this was that two surplus pages appeared.   In a departure with tradition, these have been filled with illustrations – one with four likenesses of Angus MacKay and the other with photographs of Archibald Campbell and Archie Kenneth.

We hope that our work has successfully corrected most of the errors and inconsistencies in previous editions of this excellent volume and will lead to some tunes becoming more popular amongst pipers in the future.

Alan Forbes

Honorary Secretary

The Piobaireachd Society Music Committee