Manuscript and illuminated piece of Piobaireachd entitled 'His Most Excellent Majesty King Edward VII Salute'

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composed by John Grant, Edinburgh, 1906

Postcard of Manuscript and illuminated piece of Piobaireachd entitled 'His Most Excellent Majesty King Edward VII Salute'.
© National Museums Scotland

Manuscript and illuminated piece of Piobaireachd entitled 'His Most Excellent Majesty King Edward VII Salute'

Manuscript and illuminated piece of Piobaireachd music, His Most Excellent Majesty King Edward VII Salute, composed by John Grant of Edinburgh, 1906. It consists of 15 lines of music within an oval decorated border of thistles, ciphers and crown in green, purple and red. With the superscription in Gaelic 'Failte a Mhorachd Ro-oirdhearr Eamhar VII'. Subscribed 'Composed by Iain Grandach 1906'. Medallion design of thistle with motto 'Wha daur meddle wi me'.

Piobaireachd, a Gaelic term meaning literally 'piping', is used for a form of classical music for the Great Highland Bagpipe. The tunes in extended form developed the air, known in Gaelic as ├╣rlar ('ground'), in a series of variations with increasingly elaborate but formulaic gracenoting. This style of composition probably preserves musical conventions of earlier centuries and required the player to be strictly trained. It is essentially the instrumental 'praise' music of Scottish Gaelic society, composed to commemorate great events, and the lives, achievements and deaths of clan chieftains and leaders of society.

The pipers themselves were often of high status and occupied an official position in the clan hierarchy. Many of the tunes belong to the late medieval period in the Highlands and were passed on by word of mouth and taught verbally before written notation was introduced. Tradition suggested that the leading exponents of piobaireachd such as the MacCrimmons and MacArthurs in Skye sang and recited the tunes in a syllabic language or canntaireachd. The collecting and study of piobaireachd began in the closing years of the 18th century on the instigation of the Highland Society of London to preserve music and an ancient tradition which was perceived as then dying out. The earliest surviving piobaireachd in manuscript was written down about 1760 and the printed collections began with Donald MacDonald's in about 1820 and Angus Mackay's in 1838. The Piobaireachd Society was founded in 1902 and it flourishes today. The Society is dedicated to the preservation and transmission of the classical music of the Great Highland bagpipe and has published most of the corpus of known piobaireachd music.

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Online ID: 000-000-579-830-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2002.1345
Date: 1906 (date of composition)
Material: Paper and card
Dimensions: 788 mm L x 568 mm W
What: Manuscript
Who: John Grant or Iain Grandach (composer)
King Edward VII (Eamhar VII) (subject of composition)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh (place of composition)
Description: Manuscript and illuminated piece of Piobaireachd music of 15 lines written on heavy paper mounted on green card.
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