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Angus Mackay's 'Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd'

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published in 1838

Angus Mackay's 'Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd'
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Angus Mackay (1813 - 1859). Born in Raasay, his father, John Mackay, an orphan herdboy (buachaill), was sent for tuition to the MacCrimmons and the Mackays of Gairloch. Angus was a prize-winner at the Higland Society's competitions and published his "Collection of Ancient Piobaireach" in 1838. Angus Mackay was appointed Piper to Queen Victoria in 1843.

The music for the Great Highland Bagpipe began to be recorded in written form in the 18th century, initially in song and fiddle collections. The first known book on Highland pipe music and 'pibroch' was written by Joseph MacDonald about 1760 but, since he died in India in 1763, his manuscript remained relatively unknown until recently. The first collection of tunes in full bagpipe notation was by the bagpipe maker, Donald MacDonald, who published his Collection of Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia called Piobaireachd about 1820. Further collections followed, notably Angus Mackay's Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd or Highland Pipe Music published in Edinburgh in 1838, and increasingly books of 'light music' such as David Glen's Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music in 17 parts between 1876 and 1911. The number of pipers in Scotland was increasing and players were becoming musically literate. The art of playing the Great Highland Bagpipe passed from an oral tradition into printed books.

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