Features

The Glen shop pictured in 1977. Through the initiative of Professor Hugh Cheape, the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland purchased the bagpipe collections from the family in 1983.

Pioneers of bagpipe notation

The literature of the Highland bagpipePioneers of bagpipe notation – Angus MacKay (Raasay) By Captain John A. MacLellan Much of the early bagpipe music was published by the Glen family who came to Edinburgh from the Kingdom of Fife, just across the Firth of Forth. By the mid-1830s the brothers, […]

John Mulhearn: Let piping flourish

John Mulhearn: Let piping flourish

Place is important in music, and understanding the place that one is from, bides in, or looks to for inspiration, is a central part of traditional music in particular. It is with this in mind that I am going to ask for your help. But first, bear with me while […]

Chanter reed basics – part 1

Chanter reed basics – part 1

A major problem in piping is keeping the instrument in good tune. The greatest number of requests we get is for information on choice of reeds, setting of reeds and how to produce best tone. Understandably, reed-makers are not all that desperate to reduce their incomes by teaching everybody to […]

My father the bagpiper – part 3

My father the bagpiper – part 3

Continuing his daughter’s story of James – Jamie – McHardy, second piper to Queen Victoria from 1878 until 1881. When the Highland Games season was in full swing Jamie went the rounds. He would walk over the Lecht the dozen miles to Tomintoul Games and back again and then, next […]

Stories of the Tunes: The Edinburgh Pìobaireachd

Stories of the Tunes: The Edinburgh Pìobaireachd

Piobaireachd Dhuneideann – The Edinburgh Piobaireachd – was composed by Captain John MacLellan (1921-1991) in 1981 to mark the many piping occurrences which have taken place in Scotland’s capital city over the past couple of centuries. “At the beginning of the 19th century,” MacLellan wrote in the October 1981 edition […]

Corgarff Castle.

My father the bagpiper – part 2

Continuing the story of James MacHardy, second piper to Queen Victoria from 1878 until 1881. It was the duty of the pipers to play on the terrace each morning and at dinner each evening. On the occasion of, I think, the Duke of Connaught’s wedding for some reason [Pipe Major […]

James McHardy.

My father the bagpiper – part 1

Pipe Major McHardy (1863-1938), a native of Aberdeenshire, was a boy piper to Queen Victoria at Balmoral and at other royal residences. From 1878 to 1881 he was assistant to the Queen’s piper, PM William Ross, 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch) who was in that role from 1854-1891. McHardy was one […]

Simon McKerrell: Why we should abolish the Set Tunes

Simon McKerrell: Why we should abolish the Set Tunes

In his far-reaching blog posted on this site last week, Stuart Letford questioned whether the Set Tunes should continue to be set solely by the Piobaireachd Society’s Music Committee. I suggest it is time to actually abolish the Set Tunes altogether. I have spoken on this topic before. Indeed, this […]

Stuart Letford: The new piping normal

Stuart Letford: The new piping normal

“We will not succeed in navigating the complex environment of the future by peering relentlessly into a rear view mirror. To do so, we would be out of our minds.” – Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds (Capstone, 2001). Like most of you, I have now spent eight weeks self-isolating. […]

Coire na Creiche in the Cuillin hills of Skye. This was where the last clan battle took place on Skye. It was fought between the MacLeods of Dunvegan and the MacDonalds of Sleat in the summer of 1601.

Stories of the Tunes: The MacDonald’s Salute

The MacDonald’s Salute is one of three compositions relating to the reconciliation between the MacLeods of Dunvegan and the MacDonalds of Sleat, following a protracted period of conflict between the two. The other tunes are MacLeod’s Controversy and The MacLeod’s Salute. The tunes are attributed to MacLeod’s piper, Donald Mòr […]