The Prince's Salute

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edited and published by Major General Charles Thomason, 1850 - 1900

Postcard of The Prince's Salute.
© National Museums Scotland

The Prince's Salute

Part of one tune in the collection of piobaireachd music made in the second half of the 19th century by Major General Charles Thomason. Having collected piobaireachd music from every possible source for about 30 years, the editor brought his collection together finally in 1900 as 'A Collection of Piobaireachd played on the Great Highland Bagpipe - Ceòl Mór'. Using his own system of musical shorthand, he was able to compress nearly 300 extended pieces of music into the one volume that would make all known or recovered piobaireachd available to pipers at a modest price. The Prince's Salute was a tune that had been published many times since 1820 when it appeared in Donald MacDonald's Collection and, with its political and romantic associations, it seemed to have been one of the most frequently played tunes at the Highland Society competitions from 1781 until 1838. The authorship of this tune was attributed by Donald MacDonald to John MacIntyre of the Braes of Rannoch, commemorating 'the landing of His Royal Highness James Prince of Wales in Britain in the year 1715.'

Major General Charles Thomason (1833-1911) joined the Royal Engineers in 1852 and served in India. He was a keen amateur piper, inheriting the interest from his maternal grandfather, James Grant of Elchies, and he began the serious study of piobaireachd while in the army. He corresponded from India with leading pipers at home such as Donald Mackay, the nephew of Angus Mackay, and built up a music collection which was then destroyed in Delhi during the Indian Mutiny. He retired from the army in 1888 and began, in his own words, his 'ceol mor campaign' to collect piobaireachd music. He collected piobaireachd from every source he could to produce a definitive collection.

He spent 30 years collecting Highland bagpipe music and published his collection on piobaireachd consisting of 288 tunes in 1900. He and others believed that the classical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe was about to die out. He inspired the founding of the Piobaireachd Society in 1902, dedicated to the preservation and transmission of the classical music of the Great Highland bagpipe, and became its first President.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-579-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  Bagpipe Archive 3.13
Date: 1850 - 1900 (date of composition)
Who: Major General Charles Thomason (editor and publisher)
Description: The Prince's Salute.
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