Where Are They Now? Unidentified pibrochs from 1829

The Highland Society Papers provide a source of both enlightenment and more questions. As in this case with the tune lists submitted for first triennial competition in 1829. There were twenty-five pipers who each lodged twelve tunes for the preliminary Rehearsal. This served to select those pipers who were to proceed to the actual competition. 1829 was the first year in which the pipers’ Rehearsal tune lists were printed and so are somewhat easier to read.

Many of these tune titles are well known today and appeared in several competitors’ lists then, but a few are no longer current. It is often unclear whether these are alternative titles for pibrochs that do survive, or whether the music has been lost – for example, the first tune in the following selection:

O’Kelly’s Lament / Cumha O’Cellie
M’Crummen’s Groat / Buthan Mhuc Chruimean
The Town of Edinburgh Salute / Failt’Bhaile Dhuneidin
John Mcallum’s Lament / Cumh Eoin Mhic Chaillaim
The Bridal Tune / Port na Bhainnse
King Donald’s Lament / Cumh’ Righ Dhomhuil
Donald Brandy’s Lament / Cumh Dhomhnuil Bhrandaidh
Drunken Robert / Rob Daorach
John Clark / Eoin Clearach
The Glen’s Maid / Maighdean na Ghlinne
Tibie Askan/
The Smith’s Salute / Failtte na Ghobhain
The Little Finger / An Ludag
Battle of Stomcarnoch / Blar Stroncarnaich

The lists are drawn up in two columns with the English name first. In view of the interest in the ‘Finger Lock’ recently on this site, there are two further points of note. This title features in the lists submitted by 16 of the 25 pipers. The Gaelic spelling is consistently given as ‘Ghlas Mheur’, but interestingly in four of those pipers’ lists it is described in the English translation as ‘A favourite Piobrach’. A similar situation occurs with ‘Mhaol Donn’ (3 times) and ‘Mhaol Dhonn’ (2 times). In none of the five lists is this title translated; instead, it is simply described in English as ‘A favourite Piobrach’.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a complete copy of the 1829 competitors’ tune lists:1829-1

1829-2 1829-3 1829-4



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