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These two brothers were important collectors of Gaelic music in 18th century Scotland. We present here their books - key source texts for understanding early Gaelic music.
Roderick Cannon (ed)
Joseph MacDonald’s Compleat Theory of the Scots Highland Bagpipe (c.1760)
Piobaireachd Society, 1994
Joseph MacDonald was a piper from the far north-west of Scotland; he was also an accomplished fiddle player. He was the first to ever write down about Gaelic piping or pibroch. Unfortunately his manuscript was not published until after his death, and when it was printed in the early 19th century, many errors were introduced. This excellent modern edition of the original manuscript presents both a facsimile and an edited printed text, with copious annotations and footnotes explaining all of the curious technical contents. There are also sections by Cannon on the Gaelic and English musical terminology, and a good general introduction.
The book itself covers the musical style and technique of pibroch, with general comments about style and idiom as well as detailed fingering charts for various pipe ornaments and gracenotes.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in historical Gaelic music performance practice. It has long been out of print but was re-issued in a second edition in 2010. Extra-large format paperback, 160 pages. The front cover illustration of a piper is a drawing from the manuscript.
£6.00 (UK only - select for overseas postage)
£10.00 (Airmail within Europe)
£15.00 (Airmail outside Europe)
Collection of Highland Vocal Airs
Taigh na Teud, 2000
Patrick McDonald wanted to publish some of the tunes Joseph had collected, but there weren’t enough for a complete book, so Patrick collected more tunes himself. He ended up publishing this excellent book in 1784, with tunes from various parts of Scotland arranged by region. There are also some of the earliest notated pibrochs for pipes and for fiddle, and a very wordy introduction explaining the collecting and arranging of the tunes.
This new edition presents all of the music from the original, newly typeset so it is easy to read. Also included is the original introduction. Formore info on this book and some of the tunes in it, please visit my Sources page.
£3.00 (UK only - select for overseas postage)
£7.00 (Airmail within Europe)
£10.50 (Airmail outside Europe)
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© Simon Chadwick
First published March 2009.