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Simon Chadwick's
Early Gaelic Harp Emporium

Scottish lute books

See also Scottish Lute CDs

Balcarres facsimile

Matthew Spring (ed)
The Balcarres Lute Book
The Music of Scotland / Ceòl na h-Alba, volume 2, The Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, 2010
This long-awaited book presents a very high quality facsimile edition of the entire manuscript, presented in two very large oblong format paperbacks in a rather lurid pink slipcase. Volume 1 includes a forward by the manuscript's owner, the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, an introduction by Spring, and a full-size halftone b/w facsimile of the entire book. Volume 2 has a transcription of all the music into staff notation, and a tune-by-tune commentary which also lists other 17th century appearances of the tunes.
The overall presentation is very good, with the introduction and commentaries written to the highest academic standards and with some interesting new research on the manuscript's provenance and its comparison with other contemporary sources presented in the introduction. However the overall tone is rather old-fashioned, and the editors seem unable to resist making jibes about the native idiom (e.g. ‘they can sound pretty grim if played on the modern piano’, vol 2 p. ix). The introduction divides the music up into ‘French pieces’, ‘Scottish tune arrangements’, and ‘music from printed sources up to 1700’ (i.e. English repertory). The Gaelic harp tunes are not recognised as such, and are included under the discussion of Scots tunes. Port Lennox, suprisingly, receives no commentary at all. But it is super to have them available in a reliable staff notation transcription, put into context with the rest of the manuscript. Recommended.
For a description and partial index of this manuscript, please visit my Sources page.
Please note this book is very large and heavy, so overseas postage is very expensive. This can confuse the shipping cart, so I may need to ask you for extra to cover the shipping costs. Thanks for your understanding
£100 +

Straloch transcription

Wayne Cripps
The Straloch Manuscript
Lyre Music, Texas, 1995
This book gives a typeset transcription (in French lute tablature) of the lute manuscript written in 1627-9 by or for Robert Gordon of Straloch, in North-East Scotland. The transcription is clear and complete, and decorated with rather cheesy line drawings and decorations. It has five very important pieces from the early Gaelic harp repertory. For a full description and partial index of this key source, please visit my Sources page.
£25 +

Wayne Cripps
The Rowallan Manuscript
Lyre Music, Texas, 1995
This book gives a typeset transcription (in French lute tablature) of the lute manuscript written in in the early 1600s by Williuam Mure of Rowallan, in South-West Scotland. The transcription is clear and complete, and decorated with rather cheesy line drawings and decorations.
£25 +

Music for the Lute in Scotland

Robert Phillips
Music for the Lute in Scotland
Kinmor, Scotland, 1995
This book by Rob MacKillop includes tunes from the Pickeringe, Rowallan, Straloch and Wemyss lute books from 17th century Scotland, transcribed in tablature and also in staff notation. It has only one Gaelic harp tune, 'A Port' from Straloch, but it is a very beautiful one. The introduction is also very useful.
£11 +

The Highland King

Ronn MacFarlane
The Scottish Lute vol. 2, The Highland King
Mel Bay Publications, USA, 2003
Tunes from the Wemyss, Rowallan, and Balcarres lute books, in tablature and also in staff notation. There are only a few tunes from the early Gaelic harp repertory but they are really important ones - two settings of Da Mihi Manum, and also Port Atholl and the Horsemans Port. These are early 17th century settings which may include elements of early clàrsach harmony, phrasing and idiom.
£14 +