Cumha Raonuill Mhic Ailein Òig or Lament for Ronald MacDonald of Morar is a lament in memory of Raghnall Mac Ailein Òig. Most commentators say that they do not know who composed it. Angus Mackay’s manuscript1 says, I think, that it was composed by Donald Mor MacCrimmon, but he is supposed to have lived a century before Ranald.

The tune first appears printed in Donald MacDonald’s Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia in c.1820. It remains a well-known tune and appears in many of the major collections of pibroch from the 19th and 20th centuries2.

Opening of the c.1820 print showing Donald MacDonald's piano arrangement.


John D. Burgess (pipes), ‘Lament for Ronald MacDonald of Morar’, 1960, University of Edinburgh School of Scottish Studies tape SA1960.224.B2, online at Tobar an Dualchais.

Donald MacPherson (pipes), ‘Ronald MacDonald of Morar’s Lament’, A Living Legend, Siubhal 3, 2004, Track 3.

This video shows a not particularly good demonstration of the setting from Donald MacDonald’s book, played on the fiddle


1. Angus Mackay, ‘Ronald MacDonald of Morar’s Lament’, Angus Mackay’s manuscript, volume 1, NLS MS 3753, p.110-11, c.1840. Online at piobaireachd.co.uk. I am reading “Cumha Raonuill Mhic Ailein oig. / by Donald [Maor McCrummin] / Ronald MacDonald of Morar’s Lament. / who [composed] .... / he was [the best gentle man piper] / of his day. ^

2. William Donaldson, ‘Ronald MacDonald of Morar’s Lament’, Piper & Drummer magazine , 2002-03. Online at pipesdrums.com. ^