317 – A Selection of Music for the Highland Bagpipe by Donald MacPhee

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.


I      1876

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title; p [1], index; pp II-VI, instructions; pp 1-48, tunes (138).

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.* (Glen collection). Soft-backed; cloth. The cover is lettered ‘D. M’Phee’s / pipe music’. Evidently original binding. One fly-leaf at each end. 13.8 x 10.2″.
  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.* A second copy, bound up with several other books. No fly-leaves.

Baptie (1894) has a detailed and no doubt fairly reliable account of MacPhee’s career: he was born at Coatbridge, c. 1841, his parents both being from Islay. As a boy he began working in the coal mines, and his early interest in music was to play first on the tin whistle, then on the flute. It is not known who taught him to play the pipes. He later became a message-boy to the resident physician at Gartnavel Lunatic Asylum. At one time he was associated with the Forbes brothers, famous Highland dancers and sword-fencers. He became an excellent piper and competed successfully, especially in marches, strathspeys and reels. About 1871 he set up in business as a bagpipe-maker, in West Nile Street, Glasgow, then moved to 17 Royal Arcade. The firm prospered but his health gave way under the strain, and he died early, on 9 December 1880. He was succeeded in the pipe-making business by Peter Henderson, but the copyrights of his books were acquired by Logan & Co. All the above is from Baptie, but a more recent writer has added that ‘his mind gave way and he died in confinement’ (Piping Times, August 1972).


It is not known whether Logan & Co. reissued this book in one-volume form, but in 1895, according to Manson, it came out in two volumes, price 2s. each. These became generally known as MacPhee’s Tutor and MacPhee’s Selection, and I have accordingly treated them below as separate works (nos. 318 and 319).


  • Rev 00. (9 October 2008).
  • Rev 01 (18 October 2009)Scanned image of the title-page is included.

© Geoff Hore 2009