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Barry Shears 09-07-2018 08:11 AM

New book of dance music available
Hello Everyone,
I am pleased to announce, along with Bradan Press of Halifax NS that my new collection of music and culture from Nova Scotia will be available in October. Since I retired a few years ago, I have had an opportunity to go through my numerous tapes of the old style pipers and I have combined their music with old photos and stories about Gaelic piping in the New world diaspora. The publisher decided to split the book in two due to size ( I can be verbose at times) and so Volume 1 is over 120 pages and Vol 2 is over 260 pages. Volume one contains numerous images and anecdotal information about learning and transmitting tunes in an age without written music (hence the title) as well as genealogical studies of many of the famous piping families and pipers in Nova Scotia and a small enclave of Scottish Gaels on the west coast of Newfoundland, who left Cape Breton in the mid 19th century. Also included in this work is some of my research on immigrant bagpipes to Nova Scotia and an examination of the nascent pipe making industry which sprang up in the 19th century including several photographs of these instruments displaying the wide variety of bagpipes available to Highland immigrants to Nova Scotia in the 19th century.
Volume 2 is the largest of the two volumes and has 250 tunes, 16 of which are arranged for the violin , since many of the dance pipers in Nova Scotia also played the violin. The music is divided into 8 chapters, with each chapter describing the source of the music that follows. The music appears on the right side of the book with copious notes for each melody on the facing page. Sources for the music include a pre_WWI MS, tunes learned from Alex Currie, Dan Rory MacDougall, Rory MacKinnon, Joe Hughie Macintyre and his brother Duncan and son Danny, Angus Beaton, and several others. Volume two also includes over 80 associated local examples of mouth-music (puirt a beul). Music was transmitted largely through the singing of these puirt a beul and canntaireachd or a local form of singing known as 'jigging' the tune. Volume 2 also contains numerous photographs. This volume is dedicated to the past dance players and so consist of mostly reels, strathspeys, jigs, a few quicksteps, and a few surprises.
The book will be available in October for purchase and it will also be available from with some talk to an e-book version next year.
The book represents over 30 years of research and supplements my previous book "dance to the Piper" which was based on my Master's dissertation. the book contains numerous tunes suitable for the Scottish smallpipes, reel pipes and GHB. The music includes regional settings of several tunes and are ideal for session playing and pipe band medleys.
I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop me a line at

Steve Bliven 09-07-2018 11:33 AM

Re: new book of dance music available

Originally Posted by Barry Shears (Post 1330947)
.....I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop me a line at

Aw, it's much more fun to congratulate you here, in public. :thumb:

Best wishes,


Rob_Say 09-08-2018 03:20 AM

Re: new book of dance music available
Great news, look forward to getting that one..

One bit missing from your announcement ... the title!

"Play it Like You Sing It" (



Ian Robertson 09-08-2018 09:39 AM

Re: new book of dance music available
Indeed, this really is great news, something to look forward to in the fall.

Congratulations Barry, thanks for all the research and other effort that went into this project.


Pppiper 09-10-2018 12:16 PM

Re: New book of dance music available
Greatly looking forward to these. Thanks for what you do!


pj chowning 09-24-2018 06:35 AM

Re: New book of dance music available
So looking forward to this, Barry. Congratulations and keep 'em coming!:thumb:

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