Constitution of the Piopbaireachd Society

Following last weeks EGM the Society’s Constitution and Rukles have now been updated. Read them here:

Archie Kenneth Quaich

The 29th annual amateur piobaireachd competition for the Archie Kenneth Quaich will take place on Saturday, 27th February 2021. We hope to hold it in the rooms of the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society, 127 Rose Street Lane South, Edinburgh, starting at 9.30am, covid-19 restrictions permitting. 

We will take advice nearer the time and arrange an online event if necessary. However the intention at the time of writing is to hold a face-to-face contest, though pipers may have to attend at specific times at the venue, and have to leave after playing. Entries and enquiries now to Peter McCalister at:  

Competitors should submit two tunes with their entries, one of which they will be asked to play on the day. Players will receive the name of the tune selected by the judges in the final tuning room. Competitors may not submit any tune with which they have previously won first prize in this competition.

Conditions for eligibility are as follows:

  1. Competitors must be members of the Piobaireachd Society.
  2. Competitors must be aged 18 or over.
  3. Competitors must be amateur pipers. An amateur piper is someone who has never accepted a money prize in a senior solo competition. 
  4. Anyone in doubt about their eligibility to play should contact Peter.

This competition has been increasingly popular in recent years and if it is oversubscribed there will be a ballot. The first 25 drawn will be eligible to play. A few reserves will also be drawn. Those who are unsuccessful in this ballot will be automatically confirmed entries for the 2022 competition if they intend to enter. 

Due to the pandemic, those from abroad may not be able to travel or to enter the contest. If you think there is a good chance that you can travel and play then please enter. Peter will keep in touch with all entrants as the date of the contest approaches. For this reason we will have a later closing date for entries than in the previous years, 17th January 2021. Thanks to Peter for all his hard work in organising next year’s event. His email once more:

PS Recital Change of Venue

Owing to health and safety issues we have had to switch this year’s postponed recital from St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh, to the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. Barring any further restrictions by the authorities, the date, November 29, remains, as does the start time of 7.30pm.

The concert will be livestream only and tickets can be bought on the Society webshop here priced £5. I hope everyone will support this initiative. Eight piobaireachd played by experts for £5 can’t be bad. Should we have to cancel the event all ticket money will be refunded.

The pipers, Sandy Cameron, Angus MacColl, Cameron Macdougall and Iain Speirs, will each play two tunes. There will be no tuning on stage and I anticipate the show will last two hours. This is a tremendous opportunity to hear these expert musicians playing in a more relaxed, competition-free environment. I am very grateful to the Principal of the Centre, Finlay MacDonald, and his staff for making their premises available to the Society at relatively short notice and also for guiding us through the current public performance regulations.


All members should have received notification of the EGM to be held prior to our online ‘Talk Piobaireachd’ session on November 18, 2020, at 8pm GMT. If you have not received the notice please email Secretary Bill Wotherspoon on

Talk Piobaireachd

The first ‘Talk Piobaireachd’ of the Autum/ Winter/ Spring was held on October 14. A report on the first talk by the President is now available to members here.

The sessions are open to all members free of charge. Those who have agreed to lead them are: Jack Lee, Dr Jack Taylor, Robert Wallace and Duncan Watson.

Usually two tunes are covered per session with digressions into aspects of the piobaireachd tradition and history, often with reference to master players of the past and illustrated with performance excerpts.

Anyone wishing to take part can join the Society here. ‘Talk Piobaireachd’ dates are as follows: 

Nov 18: Jack Taylor
Dec 16: Jack Lee
Jan 13: Duncan Watson
Feb 17: Robert
March 17: Jack T
April 14: Jack L
May 12: Duncan

The sessions will be on Zoom from 8pm till 9pm GMT (+1 for the October date.) A minimum of 16 tunes will be covered.

Society President Robert Wallace said: ‘The promotion of the music is enshrined in the rules of the Society and these sessions are a modern way of reaching out to our many members around the world.

‘The sessions have proved very popular and I am grateful to the experts who have agreed to lead the talks and who give freely of their knowledge and time in conducting them.’

Piobaireachd Society Set Tunes 2021

Due to the fact that the major competitions have been cancelled for 2020, The Piobaireachd Society recommends retention of the 2020 set tunes for competitions in 2021:

The Unjust Incarceration* – PS 2
Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon – PS 2, K
Patrick Og MacCrimmon’s Lament** – PS 3
The Sound of the Waves against the Castle of Duntroon – PS 6, K
Nameless Cherede Darievea – PS 8, K
The Laird of Anapool’s Lament – PS 9
MacLeod of Colbeck’s Lament – PS 10
Mrs MacLeod of Talisker’s Salute – PS 11
Lament for the Harp Tree – PS 12, K
Lament for King George III – PS 14

Competitors will submit six of the above tunes, one of which they will be required to play.

*For the purposes of the Senior competitions this tune should be played with the inclusion of the “optional” 3rd line, as recorded in Piobaireachd Society Book 2.

**For the purposes of the Senior competitions this tune should be played with the inclusion of Donald MacDonald’s additional variation (singling and doubling), as recorded in Piobaireachd society Book 3. 

PS = Piobaireachd Society Collection    K = Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor

Competitors are not restricted to settings in the Piobaireachd Society Collection and Kilberry Book.   Those who wish to play alternative settings should submit legible scores, indicating the origins of the settings, to competition organisers along with their tune selections.

Altogether different tunes known by the same or similar names will not be accepted as alternatives.


Competitors will submit eight tunes of their own choice, one of which they will be required to play.


Competitors will submit six tunes of their own choice, one of which they will be required to play. This announcement is without prejudice to any arrangements made by either the Argyllshire Gathering or the Northern Meeting.

For the Music Committee: Ronald McShannon, 2 Ascot Avenue, Glasgow, G12 0AX

Piob Soc Shop Open for Business

The best books on piobaireachd are available from the Piobaireachd Society Shop, some with members’ discount. Trade inquiries welcome to Kilt pins and ties are also available via our online shop. Check out our very competitive prices, and pay by PayPal or bank transfer. Save the digital books, complete with all editorial notes, to your iPad or tablet.

Society Lockdown Tunes on PS Facebook

We have launched a ‘Lockdown Piobaireachd’ challenge on our Facebook page starting with a tune from the President Robert Wallace, appropriately enough, Too Long in This Condition.

Robert has nominated Peter McCalister to play the next piece and Peter will in turn nominate someone else. If you are on the internet then head to here.

The Musical Legacy of the MacKays of Raasay

Read an abridged version of Dr John KS Frater’s paper entitled ‘The Musical Legacy of the MacKays of Raasay’ here. Dr Frater was due to deliver it at this year’s abandoned conference and we are grateful to him for now making this version available to all members.

New Recordings

The following recordings have been added to our member’s archive:
Donald MacPherson – Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon (Winning performance Oban 1977)
Jack Lee – Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon including A MacDonald variation.
Donald MacLeod – MacMhurich’s Salute, Desperate Battle, His Father’s Lament, Mary MacLeod, V1 MacIntosh’s Lament, Corrienessan’s Salute, Lament for Islay Flora Macleod, MacRae’s March, Old Woman’s Lullaby, The Pretty Dirk, Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay
R U Brown – Rout of Glenfruin (D MacDonald) Lament for Ronald MacDonald of Morar (Calum Piobaire and Donald MacDonald settings), Salute to the Cairn at Boreraig, Park Piobaireachd 1, Duke of Athole’s Salute
John MacDougall – Blue Ribbon, My Dearest on Earth Give Me Your Kiss
Donald Morrison – Lament for Captain MacDougall
John MacFadyen – Salute to the Isle of Iona
Patrick Molard – Leacran, the Campbell Canntaireachd version of the Half Finished Piobaireachd. Lament for the Union, My King has Landed in Moidart, Lament for the Children (Donald MacDonald settings). Left Hand Tune, Lament for the Bishop of Argyll, Middling Spree, Nameless Hindo Hindo, Highland Society of London’s Salute, The Waking of the Bridegroom, Park Piobaireachd 1 (Campbell Canntaireachd), The MacDonalds are Simple, Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel’s Salute
James MacGillivray – Glengarry’s Lament, The Groat, MacIntosh’s Banner, Munro’s Salute, Highland Society of Scotland’s Salute, Lament for Sir James MacDonald of the Isles, MacGregor’s Salute, Lament for Alasdair Dearg MacDonell of Glengarry
Donald MacGillivray – Little Spree, Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon
Robert Wallace – Battle of Waterloo, Lament for Alan my Son, Company’s Lament
Iain Morrison – MacIntosh of Borlum’s Salute
Greg Wilson – Lament for MacLeod of Colbeck
John D Burgess – Too Long in this Condition, In Praise of Morag
Murray Henderson – Rory MacLoude’s Lament
John MacDougall – Battle of the Pass of Crieff
Hector MacFadyen – MacDonald’s Salute
Duncan MacFadyen – Blind Piper’s Obstinacy
Dr Angus MacDonald – Mrs MacLeod of Talliskers Salute
Graeme Roy – Park Piobaireachd 2
John Wilson – Lachlan MacNeill Campbell of Kintarbert’s Fancy
John Don MacKenzie – Battle of Bealach nam Brog (unpublished setting)
Dr Jack Taylor – Nameless hio tro tro, Lament for MacSwan of Roaig
Dr Peter McCalister – Nameless hihorodotra cherede che, Sobieski’s Salute, March for a Beginner
John Frater – Abercairney’s Lament
John Dew – Battle of Strome

New Compositions

Lament for Alex Duncan by R S MacDonald, Salute to the 51st Highland Division, Salute to Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies by Niall Mathieson, Impotent Wrath, Bob Nicol’s Wonder and Piobaireachd at Dawn by Jakez Pincet and Salute to Absent Friends by Dr Alexander Dougall, Farewell to the Reedmaker by Stuart Samson, Nameless by Michael Laing, Lament for Charlotte MacLeod by Patrick Molard.

Archie Kenneth Quaich Result

The 28th annual amateur piobaireachd competition for the Archie Kenneth Quaich took place on Saturday, 29th February 2020, in the rooms of The Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society, 127 Rose Street Lane South, Edinburgh.

The winner was Andrew Park playing the Rout of Glenfruin. Other prizes:
2 Stuart Gaudin (The Groat)
3 Gill Cairns (Lament for John Morrison of Assynt House)
4 Stewart Letford (Maol Donn).

The winner receives the Quaich from Music Committee Chairman Alan Forbes

The competition is sponsored and promoted by the Society in memory of our former Music Committee Editor Archie Kenneth. Judges were Donald MacPhee and Patricia Henderson.

Here is the full list of those who played: