Pibroch Tempos

List of explicitly indicated tempo markings.  Every tempo indicator is captured here, whether mentioned in the urlar only, or in later variations, or both.

Collections are limited to primary source materials, both from pipers and non-pipers, up to 1854.

Titles are listed as written in the originating source collection.  PS numbers link to the relevant Tune Page in the web site.  You may sort the table to compare sources and tempos.

Original work done by Allan Speedy, 2017.

The following is a list of definitions taken from MacKay’s book, with BPM ranges taken from a 19th Century Paquet de Maelzel metronome, contemporary with Angus MacKay.  Modern BPM ranges are given in parentheses.

  • Adagio – “very slow and expressive” 98-126 bpm (66-76 bpm)
  • Andante – “a little faster than Andantino” 126-152 bpm (76-108 ppm)
  • Andantino – “slow and distinct movement” (although this term has always been uncertain throughout its history)
  • Allegro – “synonymous with siubhal, a lively movement or variation” 152-182 bpm (120-139 ppm)
  • Vite – “quick” (French)

Mode indicators (French, Italian): these are not the standard, dominant tempo indicators, but are related to tempo, insofar as they describe the mode or style of execution expected.

  • Legerement – “light”
  • Animato – “animatedly, lively”

 – J David Hester 2017


SourceDateTitlePS No.GroundVariations (Other)TaorluathCrunluath
MacDonald Book1820'n ann air mhire tha sibh131Very SlowA little lively
Patrick MacDonald1784A' Ghlas Mheur132Very slow, solemnV1 -brisk
V2 - slower
V3 - same time
V4 - brisk
Patrick MacDonald1784Alike to me peace or war204Rather slowVariations Brisk
MacArthur1820Beinn na Ghrian180Andante
Angus MacKay1838Chisholm's Salute065Andante
Angus MacKay1838Donald Doughal Mackay's Lament039Andante
MacDonald Book1820Donald Gruamach of Slate's Lament for the Death of his Elder Brother102ModerateLively
(D) A little quicker
(T) Live
Pointed and livelyVery Quick
Daniel Dow1778Duke of Atholl’s Marc161Slow
Angus MacKay1838Glengarry's Lament249AndantinoV1 - Allegro
MacDonald Book1820Glengarry's March170Slow
Angus MacKay1838I got a Kiss of the King's Hand213Andante
Peter Reid1826I return no more057Very slow
MacArthur1820King James Salute179Legerement
MacArthur1820King James VIth's Lament014Andante
Angus MacKay1838Lady Doyle's Salute251Andante
MacArthur1820Lady MacDonald's Lament194
MacDonald Book1820Lament for Ronald MacDonald Esqr of Morar176Slow
MacDonald Book1820Lament on the Death of Patrick More McCruimmen137Slow
MacDonald Book1820Lamentation for the Duke of Hamilton085Slow(D) Lively
Daniel Dow1778Lord Breadalban’s march002Slow
Angus MacKay1838MacCrimmon will never return057Andante
Angus MacKay1838Macintosh's Lament200Andante
Peter Reid1826MacLeod of Raasay’s Lament207SlowV1 - slow
Angus MacKay1838MacNeil of Barra's March084Adagio
James Oswald1755Marsail Lochinalie203SlowTo be begin slow and increase in quickness to the last part but one, as the tune represents a Battle
MacDonald Book1820Mary's Praise for her gift [or] McLauchlans March067(D) Lively
(T) Quick
Patrick MacDonald1784McIntosh’s Lament200SlowV1 - moderate timeSomewhat Quicker, Repeated a little quicker
James Oswald1755McIntosh’s Lament200Plaintive
Peter Reid1826McIntosh’s Lament200Very slowV1 - slow
Angus MacKay1838Menzies Salute218AdagioV3 - Allegro
MacArthur1820Murray of Abercairne's Salute186Adagio
Patrick MacDonald1784Never more shall I return057SlowV1 - a little quicker
V2 - quicker
V3 - quick
James Oswald1755Pioberachd Mhic Dhonuil177SlowTo begin slow and increased in quickness to the End
Angus MacKay1838Sir Ewin Cameron of Lochiel's Salute236AdagioV1 - Allegro
MacArthur1820The Bells of Perth181Vite
MacArthur1820The Big Spree178Andante con Expresione
Angus MacKay1838The Carles with the Breeks
MacDonald Book1820The Clan's Gathering169Moderate
(D) Lively
Angus MacKay1838The Duke of Perth's March070Allegro
Peter Reid1826The Earl of Ross' Pibrach118SlowV1 - slow
V2 - pointed
V3 - round
distinct running
(D) - smart
MacDonald Book1820The End of the Great Bridge171Slow
(D) Slow
Slow and pointed
(D) A little lively
(D) Lively
(T) Livelier still
(D) Very brisk
(T) As lively as can be played distinctly
MacDonald Book1820The Finger Lock132Very SlowSlow
(D) A little Quicker
(D) Quicker
(T) Very quick
MacDonald Book1820The Gathering of the McDonalds of Clanranald to the Battle of Sheriff Muir174Lively
(D) Lively
Angus MacKay1838The Glen is mine058AndanteV4 - Allegro
Angus MacKay1838The Gordon's Salute016Andantino
Angus MacKay1838The Grant's'[sic] Gathering052Andante
MacDonald Book1820The Grants Gathering052Very slow
MacArthur1820The Highland Club184Animato
Angus MacKay1838The Highland Society of Scotland's Salute184Animato
Peter Reid1826The Lament for Graham of Chlaverhouse190Very slow
MacArthur1820The MacDoughall's Gathering198V1 - Andante
Angus MacKay1838The MacLean's March077AdagioLivelier
(D) Lively
(DD) Livelier still
Angus MacKay1838The MacLeod's Salute231Andantino
Peter Reid1826The Masacre of Glenco088Very slow
Angus MacKay1838The Massacre of Glencoe088Andante
MacDonald Book1820The Princes Salute173ModerateVery Quick
Peter Reid1826The Rout of Bendoeg217Slow
Peter Reid1826The Sutherlands Gathering072Slow
Angus MacKay1838The Vaunting235Andante
MacDonald Book1820Too Long in this Condition161Lively
James Oswald1755Will you go to Sherriff Muir295Brisk
Peter Reid1826Young George’s Salute055SlowV1 - slow
V2 - round & pointed
(D) - quick
V3 - slow
(D) - quicker
(T) - quick
Angus MacKay1838Prince Charles Lament061Allegro



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