The Piobaireachd Society
Patron HM The Queen

News

Ballindalloch Manuscript

The Ballindalloch manuscript, written by Donald MacKay, nephew of Angus MacKay, has now been added to the website.  It contains 23 tunes, and is a significant addition to our collection, complimenting the manuscript written by John Smith, around the same time.  Both manuscript show mainly the styl...

Archie Kenneth Quaich

THE ARCHIE KENNETH QUAICH COMPETITION The twenty-fourth annual amateur Piobaireachd competition for the Archie Kenneth Quaich will take place on Saturday, 5th March 2016, in the rooms of The Royal Scottish Pipers' Society, 127 Rose Street Lane South, Edinburgh, starting at 10am. Entries and enqu...

Roderick Cannon

It is with sadness that we record the death of Roderick Cannon on 9th June. Roderick Cannon's contribution to the Piobaireachd Society was immeasurable, as it was to the wider bagpipe world.  He applied his sharp academic mind in all matters, and much of his work can be seen on this website.  H...

John Smith Manuscript

A manuscript of 79 Piobaireachd written by John Smith (1840-1877) given to the Piobaireachd Society in 1928 has now been added to the website.  In contains some tunes not published elsewhere, such as the Brothers Lament, and many settings not heard today.  Hiharins are written several ways, taorl...

 

Welcome

When the Highlands and Islands of Scotland adopted the bagpipe, perhaps some seven hundred years ago, pipers began to develop it and its music to suit their needs and tastes.

What emerged was the instrument we know today as the Great Highland Bagpipe, and a form of music, piobaireachd (pronounced ‘pee-broch’).

Piobaireachd is unique to this instrument. It cannot be successfully reproduced on any other. (The name piobaireachd is literally ‘piping’ in Gaelic.)

This classical pipe music consists of a theme, known as the ground, or in Gaelic the urlar (‘oorlar’), and variations on this theme.

The theme can express joy, sadness, or sometimes, in the ‘gathering’ tunes, a peremptory warning or call to arms.

Variations on the theme usually progress to the ‘crunluath’ variation, where the piper’s fingers give a dazzling technical display of embellishments or gracenotes.

The Piobaireachd Society was founded in 1901 to encourage the playing teaching and study of this music.