312 – 1854 The Piper’s Assistant by John MacLachlan

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.


1      1854 (Edition 1 in the original Bibliography)


Below title, left: May, 1854. Right: Price 6/- title; pp I-II, index; pp 1-72, tunes 1-120.

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.  (Glen collection). Boards, marbled, perhaps original binding. There is a flyleaf at the front, but not at the back. 4.7 x 9.7″. An Alexander Glen price list is pasted inside the front cover.
  • Private Collection.  Neil McMillan, Invercargill, NZ.
  • The Author’s Collection.  Photocopy

Manson gives the date 1853, and contents 120 tunes, as here. Possibly there was a previous edition.

It is suggest that the date 1853 is nothing more than a mistake. The address on the title-page of edition 1 is St Andrew Square and this dates it before 1869. The book below is called edition 2 on the title-page and can be dated after 1869 from the address (16 Calton Hill) in the imprint. There is therefore no doubt that only be one edition appeared prior to edition 2.

2     1870-73 (Not in original Bibliography)


title; (i)-vi, Preface; pp I-II, pp I-IV Instructions; index; pp 1-72, tunes 120.

Geoff Hore’s Collection.

Cannon did not find this edition during his research although was aware that it existed. This edition has a Preface and Instructions and they are identical to those in edition 1 of the Caledonian Repository by Alexander Glen 1860 (313 below). There is a price list in the front of both books that are identical in their original form and apparently date from 1860.

However, the price list in MacLachlan’s book has two alterations made by someone with an ink pen. The list of prices is divided into 6 parts; Part No 6 Item 2 is ‘Bagpipe Tutor, second edition, containing 155 tunes, edited by Angus MacKay priced 8s 0d’ and the 8 is overwritten by 6.  Part 6 Item 4 is ‘New Collection. By Alex Glen, containing 100 Tunes’. The figure 100 has been scored through and 120 written along side. We know that Alexander Glen’s Caledonian Repository edition 1 has 100 tunes and edition 2 has 120 tunes.  

On the title page of MacLachlan’s edition 2 the address 30 St Andrew Square has been scored through and 16 Calton Hill written in ink below.

In the original edition of A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music page 32 Cannon states that the change from 30 St Andrew Square to 16 Calton Hill occurred in 1869. 16 Calton Hill was Alexander Glen’s home address until he died in 14 March 1873. At that point his son David took over the business and the address changed to 8 Greenside Place.

Edition 2 of Alexander Glen’s Caledonian Repository has June 1870 as the publishing date on the title page. Since the advertisement in edition 2 of John MacLachlan’s Piper’s Assistant has the amendment showing the publication of edition 2 of Alexander Glen’s Caledonian Repository we can safely state that MacLachlan’s edition 2 was published after Glen’s but between June 1870 and March 1873.

3      1877

Title as 1.

1877. Edinburgh published by David Glen, Bagpipe maker, 8, Greenside Place.

Above title: Third edition Below title, left: 1877. Right: Price 5/-

title; pp I-II, index; pp 1-72, tunes 1-120.

  • University Library, Aberdeen.  The binding seems to be original and the outside front cover is lettered David Glen’s / Bagpipe Music / No. 3. Another copy exists in a private collection, which formerly belonged to David Glen himself, and contains numerous annotations in MS.

This edition is advertised in a David Glen price list of 1881.

There may have been other editions subsequently to 1877, since (a) David Glen price lists of 1886 and c.1890 give the price as 4s, not 5s and (b) Brown and Stratton (1897) cite the book as ‘Edinburgh, n. d.’. The book was out of print in 1901, according to Manson, and since Manson gives the price as 6s he must presumably have consulted an earlier copy. A large proportion of the tunes were incorporated in revised form in David Glen’s Collection (No 316 below), book 9, first published 1892.


  • Rev 00 (13 September 2008)
  • Rev 01 (20 February 2011).  Corrects some minor errors and changes the edition numbering from Roman to Arabic numerals. Adds the copyright notice.
  • Rev 02. (29 April 2015). Format changed for bibliography.altpibroch.com.  

© Geoff Hore 2015