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Old 03-14-2019, 12:34 PM   #3
K Sanger
Forum Silver Medal
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Scotland
Posts: 326
Default Re: Composer of an old Piobaireachd

Such a short question but a long complicated answer. I have previously covered the background to the tune here

To paraphrase the event would from contemporary sources have occurred in 1615 when Colla Ciotach was under siege in Dunnyveg Castle on Islay. Colls party escaped under cover of darkness in three boats one of which contained the piper. The 'warning' would have been because the piper played when his boat ran into the ships from the other side thereby giving Coll and the other two boats a warning to head in a different direction.

That being the case then the 'Pipers Warning' was because he played, rather than what he played. That in turn raises two possibilities, that the tune the piper played was re-named the 'pipers warning', or that another piper composed a tune in memory of the event. Arguably it was the latter since under the circumstances where most of the participants were subsequently executed it was unlikely that the actual tune would have been noted.

Regarding it being a MacDonald piper that to is open to question. What is known is that of those escaping from Dunnyveg Castle who remained un-captured were a group of four MacDonald rebels, led by Coll and nine or ten men of other clans, including a Malcolm MacRorie MacLeod, who had scattered individually.

So the piper for a number of reasons was probably not actually a MacDonald. In any case most of the references I have to pipers at that period only tend to give a first name and not 'clan'.

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