306 – A Collection of Quicksteps, Strathspeys, Reels and Jigs Arranged for the Highland Bagpipe by Donald MacDonald

An update by Geoff Hore 2008-2015.  The writing in black font is from A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music. The update comments are in blue font.


Cannon identified six different editions of this book:

  • I 1828
  • II 1835
  • III (Not located but assumed to exist.)
  • IV c1841
  • V c1866-70
  • VI c1888

In 2007 Colin R Blyth of Iolair Publishing, Kingston, Ontario, Canada discovered a previously unknown edition in the Library of the Canadian Museum of Civilisation, Gatineau, Quebec. On the title-page it is called ‘Second Edition’ and both the title-page and Preface are dated 1831. Cannon located a book that is also called ‘Second Edition’ and dated 1931 on the title-page, but the preface is dated 1835. He suspected it might be the third edition and there is now no doubt he is correct.

1     1828

A collection / of / quicksteps, strathspeys, reels, & jigs. / Arranged for the / Highland bagpipe, / by Donald MacDonald & Son, pipe makers, Edinburgh. /

Printed for, and sold by Them /  Below title: price six shillings. Below imprint: 1828

p [i], title; pp [iii-iv], preface; pp [unnumbered], index; p 1, finger chart headed ‘Scale for the bagpipe’, and one tune; pp 2-78, tunes (119).

  • Private collection.  (Mr. J. Campbell, Kilberry). Pages 75-78 are missing but the index shows that they had the same tunes as in later editions. Stabbed between cardboard covers. The front cover, now much worn, shows traces of the same design as the title-page.

In the centre of the title-page is the figure of a piper in Highland dress, signed below: ‘ENGD BY J. MACKIE EDINR

The preface, also dated Edinburgh 1828, begins, ‘The present work has been finished for several years, and has been so long witheld, owing to the Publisher’s diffidence regarding his own abilities.’

Manson gives the date of this edition, incorrectly, as 1829.

2      1831 (Not in original Bibliography)


Scanned image from Sullivan Ross Volume 1, Violin and Bagpipe Music edited by Colin Blyth.

p [i], title; pp [1] 2, preface; pp [1], 2-3, index; p [4], blank; p 1, finger chart headed ‘Scale for the bagpipe’, and one tune; pp 2-78, tunes (119)

  • The Library of the Canadian Museum of Civilisation, Gatineau, Quebec.  4.19” x 8.75”. Pages 37 and 38 are missing.

This book originally belonged to Sullivan Ross who was born in Dornoch, Scotland in 1828. In 1838 his father migrated to Canada and eventually settled in West Zorro, Ontario. Ross was a fiddle player and in 1964 published a collection of 223 fiddle tunes. At the age of 28 he heard bagpipes for the first time and decided to learn them. He evidently became a very good player of this instrument as in 1876 he competed at the Lucknow, Ontario Highland Games and was, according to newspaper reports, champion piper in America. Between 1864 and 1900 he compiled four manuscript books containing over 1300 bagpipe and fiddle tunes. Ross died in 1904.

The above is summarized from a history written by his grandson Alexander M Ross and published in Sullivan Ross Collection of Pipe Music by Iain G Millington, March 2007.

3     1835 (Edition II in the original Bibliography)


The scanned image is from an original in the Wighton Collection, Dundee City Library by permission of David Kett.

p [i], title; p [iii], preface; p [iv], index; pp 1-78 as I above.

  • City Library, Dundee.  3.9 x 9.6″.
  • The Author’s Collection.  Photocopy.

In spite of the date on the title-page, the preface is dated Edinburgh 1835. Perhaps this is really the third edition. (This has now proven to be the case.) One tune title has been changed from the first edition. A strathspey on p 18 previously entitled ‘P*** and keep the hair dry’ becomes ‘The Whimsical’, both in the text and in the index.

4      c1841 (Edition IV in the original Bibliography)

Title as above.

Sold by T. Glen Musical Instrument Maker 2 North Bank Street.  Above title: Fourth edition. Below title: price six shillings.

title; pp [1], 2-4, index; pp [5-8], tutor; p 1, as I above; pp 2-78, tunes (119).

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.  (Glen collection). Bound up with two volumes of T. M. Glen’s Tutor. 4.2 x 9.8′. No watermarks.  In this copy the imprint and price have been altered in pencil to read the same as in 5 below. Presumably this was the copy which John Glen worked on when preparing the next edition for the printers.

The title-page is the same as that of I above, except for the additions already mentioned, and except for the omission of the engraver’s signature.

The four new instructional pages, pp [5-8], are identical with pp [i-iv] of T. M. Glen’s Tutor (no. 309 below); and one page of music has been altered. Instead of ‘Sweet Molly’ and ‘Sleepy Maggie’, page 2 now consists of ‘Bundle and Go’ and ‘Up and Waur them a’, Willie’ printed from the same plate as in Thomas Glen’s Tutor, (e.g. p 5 of book 1, edition 11). The index has been altered accordingly. Also ‘The Whimsical’ reverts to its former title in the index, but not in the text.

According to the surviving account book (see pp 65-66 of this bibliography), Thomas Glen bought the plates in September 1840. The costs of altering the title-page and of printing the sheets are recorded in January 1841, and of binding in May 1841. It is noteworthy that only 25 copies were printed. Nevertheless, on the basis of the costs recorded, there would have been a profit of about £4 by the time they were all sold.

5     1866-70 (Edition V in the original Bibliography)


Title; pp [1], 2-4, index; pp 1-78, music.

  • Private collection (Captain J. A. MacLellan).  This particular copy formerly belonged to David Glen and contains numerous MS notes.
  • Private Collection, New Zealand.  (Formerly owned by the late Sir Ian McKay.) 

This edition can be dated to the period 1866-70. Successive entries in the Post Office Directory for Edinburgh and Leith show that John and Robert Glen first took over the firm in 1866; and that c. 1870 they extended their premises. The address thereafter was 2 & 3 North Bank Street.

6     1870-88 (Edition VI in the original Bibliography)

p [i], title; pp [ii-iii], index; PP 1-78, as IV above.

  • British Library, London.  Received 6 Sept 1892, but probably not acquired new, since the first few leaves in particular are badly worn and have had to be repaired. Library binding. 4.6 x 10”.
  • City Library, Dundee
  • The Author’s Collection.  Bound photocopy.

This edition evidently dates from 1888 or before, since the price of 2s is specified in a J. & R. Glen price list of that date. The publisher’s address actually implies the date or before, but more likely it is out of date. Manson wrongly stated that the fifth edition was on sale in 1900, but he gave the price correctly as 2s. and Askew found the book still available in 1932 at the same price. Askew does not specify the edition, but we know that this sixth edition was in fact the last. The final copy (not for sale!) remains in the possession of the publishers at the present day.


  • Rev 00. (6 September 2008).
  • Rev 01. (22 September 2008).  Adds a scanned image of edition V.
  • Rev 02. (19 August 2009).  Adds a scanned image of edition II (Now edition 3 – 23 August 2011).
  • Rev 03. (23 August 2011).  Inserts a new edition 2 and moves the book that was called edition 2 into edition 3. Changes the edition numbering from Roman to Arabic numerals..
  • Rev 04. (26 August 2011).  Corrects a date error in edition 5.
  • Rev 05.  (17 April 2015).  Format changed for bibliography.altpibroch.com. 

© Geoff Hore 2015