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Early Manuscripts and books of Piobaireachd
This section shows many of the early manuscripts and books of Piobaireachd.
The anonymous piobaireachd manuscript now known as the Hannay-MacAuslan manuscript is believed to have been written about 1815. It contains ten tunes written out in full detail, in staff notation, and is the oldest such collection known.
The manuscript turned up in 1940, in a second-hand bookshop in Hawick. It is now in the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, currently catalogued as Acc. 11600. This facsimile was scanned directly from the original manuscript, and we are grateful to the Library for permission to publish it here.
A full description of the manuscript, and an account of its history as far as known, will be found in the Piobaireachd Society’s new work, “Donald MacDonald’s Collection of Piobaireachd, Volume 1, The Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia (c. 1820)”. To cut a long story short, the anonymous manuscript has turned out to be one of the sources from which Donald MacDonald took tunes for publication.
The manuscript consists of forty pages, i.e. twenty leaves, and they are numbered in the usual way for manuscripts. Only the right-hand pages have the numbers, marked in pencil at the top right hand corner. The scans here are also numbered in the usual way, in the order 1r, 1v, 2r, 2v, etc up to 20v. So the first page of the manuscript is 1r (short for “folio 1, recto”); the page on the other side is 1v (“folio 1, verso”) etc.
Folio 1r has a scale and fingering chart, and the music starts on folio 1v. A list of the tunes is given here, showing the names as they appear in the manuscript and also the modern names as they appear in the current series of Piobaireachd Society Books.