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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 06-07-2020, 08:19 PM   #1
JeremyKingsbury
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Default Donald MacDonald Collection

Well, I realize I've been miscrediting MacDonald tunes to Angus MacKay for nearly 2 decades.
I had a bit of an issue tracking down the publication dates of the Piobaireachd collection versus the dance tune collection of later years. I see 1820 and 1840 suggested, but anyone have a better idea?
I also noticed that the later edidition is attributed to "Donald MacDonald & Son". Do we know much about that relationship? Was the later collection more the Son than Donald?
I know there is a little Biography included in the Piobaireachd Society publication of the book, but I couldn't get my hands on a copy of it.
Anyway, if you want to hear my playing through a bunch of MacDonald Setting tunes you can check out my newest podcast episode:


https://www.wetootwaag.com/s4e10
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Old 06-08-2020, 03:27 AM   #2
K Sanger
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Default Re: Donald MacDonald Collection

The question posed is a little confused but reading between the lines it is possible to identify the points at issue. I would not describe the biography of Donald MacDonald covered in the two edited volumes of his piobaireachd as 'little' as co-author I am probably biased, but was under the impression that we had covered his background to a degree which borders on tedium.

If you are referring to the tunes published with his first volume of piobaireachd then as the first 'edition' of that work was published circa 1819-20, (two known copies, one he presented to the Highland Society of Scotland and a second which turned up while the editing work was in progress and I back checked page by page against the HSl copy to confirm another first edition), then the attached tunes pre-date that copy, possibly coming from an earlier 'tutor' circa 1815-18.

The collection of dance tunes you provide the link to in the National Library of Scotland is actually the fourth edition published by Glen shortly after Donald's death in 1841. The original version published by Donald (& son) dates to 1828 and may not have been all his work in any case, but that is a different story.

Donald was not a very lucky man, shortly after he published his first volume of piobaireachd the tenement in which he lived collapsed, according to the report the only people in it at the time were some agricultural labourers living on the top floor. His sons, of whom he had three all pre-deceased him and which one is meant by the '& son' is unclear. It is unlikely to have been Donald who was in the military and posted to South Africa where he died in service. John who was probably the eldest disappears from view after 1818 while James who may be the James MacDonald, musical instrument maker in Edinburgh, was last heard of in 1834.

Keith
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Old 06-08-2020, 02:33 PM   #3
JeremyKingsbury
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Default Re: Donald MacDonald Collection

Thank you so much! Sorry for implying or describing it as "Little" I don't know what gave me that impression. Sounds like there is some really great information in it, and you make me want to seek it out even harder! I take it from your response the Biography is in both volumes not just the first one? I've just ordered the first volume from the Piobaireachd Society for your Biography, didn't realize it was still for sale there, it costs a hundred dollars or more to get it here in the states. I'm not seeing the second volume anywhere though.

I've really been curious about the life of Bagpipe Makers and musicians in the 1790s-1820s. I have had a hard time tracking down publication dates of tune collections, since my encounters with them is, like you point out, looking at later editions that have made it into archives and digital collections. I have pretty good training at this point on how to be a Historian, but it is shocking to me at how difficult it is to gain literacy in a different area of History from my specialty.



Thanks for responding, I'm so excited to read the biography!
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Old 06-09-2020, 01:14 AM   #4
K Sanger
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Default Re: Donald MacDonald Collection

[QUOTEThanks for responding, I'm so excited to read the biography![/QUOTE]

Don't get too excited, nothing Roddy or I wrote was easy reading and we both have a fetish for multiple footnotes. Still if you want the books double as a cure for insomnia.

Both volumes are still listed in the Piping Center shop, volume 2 is 30 while volume 1 is 20, not sure how the latter even at current rates of exchange turns into over $100 having just crossed the big pond. Yes, the background is spread between the two volumes, partly due to a slightly different approach being applied to the editing. Volume one being an edited version of the original book also contains Roddy's painstaking work identifying and listing every change or correction made to the printing plates.

With volume two the manuscript, additional background material had become available from Sir John MacRa's copy and by that time I was able to include a family tree for Donald's descendants, plus it includes the Donald's manuscript history of the tunes.

For the history of the various publications of collections pipe tune you should try to find a library copy of A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music by Roderick Cannon, published in 1980. With Roddy's consent it was added in electronic form to the altpibroch site and continually kept up to date by the late Geoff Hoare. If you can exercise patience then it will be available again once that site is back up and running.

Keith

Last edited by K Sanger; 06-09-2020 at 01:18 AM. Reason: Typos
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Old 06-27-2020, 06:13 PM   #5
JeremyKingsbury
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Default Re: Donald MacDonald Collection

I haven't had the time to read much of it (Moving presently) but I finally got mail in from Scotland, and seriously just one page in, and it has helped me understand Piping and history and Donald MacDonald better, looking forward to reading more!
Thanks!
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