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The Society was formed in 1903 to encourage the study and playing of piobaireachd, the classical music of the Highland bagpipe. It has collected the available piobaireachd manuscripts and from these and the knowledge of the existing experts and players published 15 books with the piobaireachd, written in staff notation accompanied by notes on the sources. The Society has also published the Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor by Archibald Campbell - a collection of 112 of the better-known tunes. There are notes, separately published as Sidelights and Further Sidelights that tell of Kilberry's own famous teachers and what they taught him.
The Society has published a book of modern piobaireachd and more recently new editions of important works such as Joseph MacDonald's Treatise (1994), The MacArthur MacGregor Manuscript (2001 and in conjunction with the John MacFadyen Trust), Donald MacDonald's book of Piobaireachd containing 24 tunes (2006) and an edition of Donald MacDonald's hitherto unpublished manuscript (2011).
Publication of these books has helped the Society fulfill its main aim. In addition to this the Society has now developed a comprehensive website, with sound files, manuscripts, new music, photographs and other information all designed to encourage the understanding and playing of this music.
The Society currently sponsors events at the Northern Meeting, the Argyllshire Gathering, the London Competition and Piping Live. It also provides a bursary annually for a student who does not have easy access to piobaireachd tuition to attend for a week's instruction at the College of Piping.