William McCallum and P/M Donald MacLeod



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1 Introduction by George Philp 1:08

2 The Fairy Harp (Ground) 4:00

3 Intro 4 The Desperate Battle of the Birds 4:37

5 Intro 6 Mackay’s Banner (Ground and Variations) 9:48

7 Intro 8 The Vaunting
(Ground and Crunluath variations) 4:59

9 Intro 10 Macrae’s March (Ground) 2:16

11 Intro 12 The Massacre of Glencoe

(Ground and Variations

followed by Siubhal variations) 10:13

13 Intro 14 Tulloch Ard (Ground) 2:07

15 Intro 16 MacLeod of Raasay’s Salute (Lament) 1:44

17 Intro 18 I Got a Kiss of the King’s Hand 2:27

19 Intro 20 Beloved Scotland (The Lost Pibroch) 10:10

21 Structure of the Pibroch:
illustrated on the chanter by W McCallum 18:13

22 Intro to Strathspeys 0:21

23 Inveraray Castle (Strathspey) 1:11

24 The Caledonian Society of London (Strathspey) 1:12

Total playing time on this CD 79:10

Piper William McCallum
(except item 3 by P/M Donald MacLeod)

Please note: Modern tune titles may vary
from those printed in the Neil Munro text.

Spoken references to "this cassette" appear on this CD because this recording was originally published in that format.

Scotsoun wishes to thank —

Ian MacDonald for his reading of the four lines in Gaelic preceding I Got a Kiss of the King's Hand

The University of Strathclyde for permission to record William McCallum within The Barony Hall, Glasgow and also

Sir Ian Noble, Mr John Noble and the Neil Munro Society for their support in the production of this cassette

The recording by P/M Donald MacLeod was made in the Nave of Dunfermline Abbey in 1977

Quotations (and the bagpipe illustration) are taken from The Lost Pibroch and Other Sheiling Stories by Neil Munro, published by House of Lochar, Isle of Colonsay, Argyll PA61 7YR (ISBN 1 899863 10 9).
with introduction by Ronnie Renton ;
notes by Rennie McOwan and Rae MacGregor.       

THE LOST PIBROCH — notes by the piper

To the vast majority of Scots, the music of the Great Highland Bagpipe is something of a mystery. Pibroch is the original form of Bagpipe Music, developed before the later compositions such as Marches were part of the piper’s repertoire.

This branch of the music is not widely played, and although the percentage of Pibroch playing pipers is not known, the proportion would be surprisingly low.

Piobaireachd is the Gaelic word for Pipe music, but the term is generally used to denote the Ceol Mor or ‘big music’. This type of tune was composed to commemorate or celebrate such events as births, deaths, battles, gatherings of Clans, salutes to prominent people and to mark famous occasions. Examples of such tunes are: "Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor MacLeod", "Lament for the Earl of Antrim", "The Massacre of Glencoe" and "I got a Kiss of the King’s Hand".

Typically, a pibroch consists of a theme or Ground (called Urlar in Gaelic) followed by variations based on the melody and pattern of the Ground. The types of variations are of a similar character in many tunes, but not every tune will contain every type of Variation. The Variations build up in complexity of the embellishments and also tempo, reaching a musical climax usually with the Crunluath Variations – of which there are several types.

The playing of Pibroch, as well as testing the musical interpretation of the piper, is also a supreme test of the quality of technique, and the instrument itself. It is quite a challenge to put together a tune, bearing in mind the number of Variations that have to be navigated, and make something of a musical performance. A supreme performance will involve a very high level of each of these qualities.

Pibroch has been transmitted over hundreds of years, mostly by oral tradition, which conveyed the timing and musical interpretation in the teaching and passing on of the music. The musical side of the tunes can be passed on better by this method than by the placing of the notes on staff notation.

However, one feature of this is that, inevitably, over the centuries different interpretations and versions of the same tune evolved over a period of time. With communications two hundred years ago being poor, there were areas of Scotland where the tunes developed differently. This has led to a great deal of controversy as to the ‘correct’ way to play. I suspect the problem will go on and the mystery will never be solved.

The majority of Pibroch played today has come to us orally and through a number of major works such as the manuscripts and books of Angus Mackay, Donald MacDonald and the Campbell Canntaireachd. ‘Canntaireachd’ is a system of singing the tunes using syllables to denote the notes, gracenotes and other embellishments. There are a great number of other manuscripts in existence which have slightly different versions of tunes in some cases and widely differing settings of others.

The tunes mentioned in Neil Munro’s story "The Lost Pibroch" are attractive and well known. In some cases I have played the Ground only and in others I include the full tune.

When the tune ‘The Lost Pibroch’ is talked about, I thought the tune ‘Beloved Scotland’ was an apt one which describes the feeling of those who left Scotland as part of ‘the clearances’. The tune has a very gloomy feel to it and perhaps conjures up memories of those who were transported on ships bound for the New World. W.McC.

In Willie McCallum it can safely be said that "he brings the notes from the deeps of time". Willie is a piper of note having won both the Gold Medals of the Highland Society of London at Oban and Inverness; four Glenfiddich Championships; three Silver Chanters; the Bratach Gorm at London (twice); the Senior Pibroch at Oban (twice) and the Former Winners M S R at Oban (twice).

He was taught his skills initially by his uncle Ronald McCallum (Campbeltown), another uncle Hugh MacCallum and he also benefited from tuition by Ronald McCallum, Piper to the Duke of Argyll. G.P.