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Joseph MacDonald’s ‘Compleat Theory’ – digital edition


This is the first ever serious work devoted to the music of the great Highland bagpipe and, in particular. piobaireachd. This celebrated edition by Dr Roderick Cannon examines in great detail the contents of the original book and makes some learned suggestions as to the meaning of MacDonald’s more arcane comments and scores. This edition of Joseph MacDonald’s book (first published circa. 1760) was published by the Society in 1994 and contains a facsimile of the original work. Dr Cannon writes: ‘Joseph MacDonald was born in 26 February 1739, son of the Revd. Murdoch MacDonald, minister of Durness. In 1760 he wrote the manuscript which he entitled ‘A Compleat Theory of the Scots Highland Bagpipe’. He was a piper himself, and as far as we know he was the first piper ever to write on the subject or to attempt to record in notation the music we now know as piobaireachd.’ 

Previously available in hard copy, this book is now only available in digital download. This download is optimised for use on tablet computers and other devices. It is not compatible with printing out. Download expires after 30 days.