Three of the four big pibroch tunes composed by Raghnall Mac Ailein Òig have songs associated with them: An Tarbh Breac Dearg, A’ Ghlas Mheur, and Maol Donn. It is my understanding that in the old, pre-19th century oral tradition, the ceòl mór instrumental music usually had associated songs which helped to tell the story behind the music, as well as helping an instrumentalist to understand the phrasing and pacing of the tune1. This genre of song is nowadays sometimes referred to as “pibroch songs”.

There is also another song associated with Ranald, Beinn Eadarrainn. This is of a similar “pibroch song” form, though as far as I know it does not have an instrumental tune associated with it.

Unlike the pipe tunes, these songs do not have a strong performance tradition into the present day. Some of the songs were written down in the 19th century, and some were collected from oral tradition in the 20th century.

Click on a song title for more information, references and recordings.


1. Allan MacDonald, The relationship between pibroch and Gaelic song, MLitt thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1995. online at cl.cam.ac.uk ^