313 – The Caledonian Repository of Music for the Great Highland Bagpipe by Alexander Glen

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     1860


title; pp [i] ii-vi, preface; 1-11, index; pp I-III, instructions; p IV, exercises; pp 1-73, tunes 1-100; (Note: the arrangement of the Preface, Index, Instructions and Exercises may not be in their original positions as the book has been rebound.)

  • Geoff Hore’s Collection.  Cannon had not seen a copy of the first edition but had been told of one in a private collection. The copy in the present writer’s collection was in poor condition. The covers had come off and the title-page, pages I and II, and page 73 were missing. These pages have been photocopied from another 1st edition and inserted into the book when it was rebound.

2     1870

Caledonian repository / of music, for the great Highland bagpipe /// a new collection of / marches, quicksteps, / strathspeys & reels / consisting of 120 tunes // a great many new / by living authors / and the remainder never published / for the instrument before / / /

Edinburgh, June 1870. Selected and published by Alexr Glen. Bagpipe maker, 16, Calton Hill.

Below title, left: 2nd edition, with supplement. Right: price 6/

title; pp 1-11, index; p [111], index to supplement; pp [i], ii-vi, preface; pp VII-IX, instructions; p X, exercises; pp 1-72, tunes 1-98; pp 1-18, supplement, tunes 1-22.

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.  (Glen collection). Library binding, but with an Alexander Glen price list pasted inside front cover. 4.5 x 9.7”.
  • Black Gate Museum, New Castle.

The instructional pages VII-X are identical with those in Angus MacKay, The Piper’s Assistant (no. 310 above), and the preface, pp [i], ii-vi, is the same as in the 1872 edition of that work.

The index on pp 1-11 (note the misprint for I-II) lists 100 tunes, and doubtless corresponds with that of the first edition. However, two of these tunes, ‘MacRae of Harris’ and ‘Why should I forget my ain Guid Man’, are no longer in the main text, but are Nos. 3 and 21 of the supplement. They conform in printing style to the supplement, which differs from the main body. Presumably these two tunes were originally Nos. 99-100 in the first edition. They would have just filled one page.

Now that edition 1 has been located the above comments can be confirmed. The two tunes mentioned are on page 73 and are tunes 99 and 100.

Advertised in 1881 as ‘second edition’, price 5s.

3   1882

The third edition is not represented in any public collection. There was formerly a copy in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, but it is now missing. The catalogue entry gives the title and date, 1882.

Early in 1971 a copy of this edition turned up in the attic of a house in Edinburgh, along with a number of other old music books, formerly belonging to David Glen. The books were later offered for sale, and this one is now in a private collection. The title-page is printed, ‘3rd edition, 1882. Price 6s.’ There are numerous annotations, such as additional tune titles, in manuscript.

3a 1882


p [i], price list; p [iii], title; p [iv], blank; pp 1-11, index; p [v], index to supplement; pp vii-x, instructions; pp 1-72, tunes 1-98; pp 1-18, supplement, tunes 1-22.

  • Geoff Hore’s Collection.

This edition differs from edition 3 in that it has ‘3rd edition, with supplement’ on the title-page and is priced at 5/-. Whether this edition came out before or after the one above has yet to be determined. The imprint states this book has been ‘Revised and Published’ by David Glen. The music has been compared against that in edition 1 and there have been a number of changes. These consist mainly of the addition of key signatures, addition of grace notes, amendment to grace note groups (ie doublings) and the removal of the symbol TR and replacement with an embellishment. These amendments seem to have been engraved into the original plates as the rest of the music appears to be identical. In some cases tunes have been completely reset. The Preface has been removed but the instructions remain and are identical to edition 1.

When Cannon carried out his research he could not compare edition 2 against any others and until access can be gained to that edition it is impossible to tell at this time if it differs from editions 1 and 3a. It does have the supplement that appears to be the same as that in edition 3a.

The price list on page [i] (which is bound into the book) advertises parts 1 and 2 only of David Glen’s 17 volume Collection at 3/- each. These two were published in 1876 and 1880 respectively and are the only ones marked at that price. Part 3 was published in 1886.

David Glen’s Tutor is also listed at 3/- and the first edition was published in 1881 at that price. Edition 2 was published in 1883 at 2/- and no other known editions were priced at 3/-. Price lists usually advertise books currently available and as post 1882 books (or editions of books) are not listed this makes it almost definite that 1882 was the date when this edition 3 was published. This implies that edition 3 and 3a were published in the same year but does not explain the different prices or why one has the supplement and the other does not.

Upon closer scrutiny, edition 3 may reveal more information that will clarify these points.

4     No date

The price must have been reduced not long after, since the book is advertised as ‘Alexander Glen’s Collection’, price 4s, in a David Glen price list of 1886. The collection was out of print when Manson compiled his bibliography in 1900-1. A large proportion of the tunes were incorporated in revised form in David Glen’s Collection (no. 316 below), book 10.

Unicorn Limited Inc in USA offers a reproduction on CD. See www.scotpress.com.


  • Rev 00. (7 October 2008).
  • Rev 01. (5 February 2011).  Adds details of edition 3a.
  • Rev 02. (29 April 2015).  Format changed for bibliography.altpibroch.com.  

© Geoff Hore 2015