Record

Engraved printing plate for 'A Collection of the Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia called Piobaireachd'

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published by Donald MacDonald, 1822

Postcard of Engraved printing plate for 'A Collection of the Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia called Piobaireachd'.
000-000-579-778-C
© National Museums Scotland

Engraved printing plate for 'A Collection of the Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia called Piobaireachd'

Lead alloy printing plate by Walker and Anderson of Edinburgh, c. 1820 for page 98 of 'A Collection of the Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia called Piobaireachd' published by Donald MacDonald, 1821 - 1822. The plate is engraved with the tune 'Cumhadh Dubh Shomhairle: A Doleful Lament for the Death of Samuel, a Celebrated Piper' and is highly significant in terms of musicology as being the first ever printed record of 'pibroch' in staff notation and marking the beginnings of the competition system (still flourishing today) and of new patronage for the art of the Great Highland Bagpipe.

Donald MacDonald and other Scottish pipemakers were notable for printing and publishing music for the Great Highland Bagpipe. He published his Collection of the Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia about 1820, the first published collection of 'pibroch' music for the Highland bagpipe. This collection preserves a unique record of some aspects of Highland bagpipe playing in the distinctive style and settings of some tunes and their association with the MacArthurs (as masters and teachers of the instrument) and Clan Donald.

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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Online ID: 000-000-579-778-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2001.949
Date: 1821 - 1922 (date of publication)
c.1820 (date of engraving)
Material:
Dimensions:
What: Printing plate
Subject:
Who: Donald MacDonald (publisher)
Walker and Anderson (engraver)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh (place of publication)
Event:
Description: Lead alloy engraved printing plate by Walker and Anderson, Edinburgh.
References:
Translations:
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