318 – A Complete Tutor 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.


This book was originally published as part of A Selection of Music for the Highland Bagpipe by Donald MacPhee in 1876, (See 317). It appears that when the second printing was required in about 1895, it was split into two different books, A Complete Tutor for the Highland Bagpipe and A Selection of Music for the Highland Bagpipe.

Cannon treated these two new editions as separate works. The Tutor is discussed here and the Selection can be seen in 319.

Cannon discovered four editions of this tutor. The present writer has two additional editions; one has ‘Ninth edition’ on it and the other can be dated after the ninth edition and before the Paterson’s edition. There is now a sequence of eight, ninth and tenth editions and this implies there is a series of editions the publishers considered to be the second thru seventh editions. To make provision for these missing editions when they are located it has been decided to revise Cannon’s edition numbering.

However, in the College of Piping Museum is an edition that differs from anything previously seen. The contents are as follows:

p [i], title; p [ii], index; pp I-VIII, instructions and exercises; pp 1-14, tunes (51); -pp 1-3, pibroch; p [4] blank.

The differences being the numbering of the pages that contain the pibroch. It is difficult to determine when this book was published but it may well be the first edition and the one described by Cannon below could be the second or later edition.

1      c1895 (Edition I in the original Bibliography).

A / complete tutor / for the / Highland bagpipe / with piobaireachd exercises. / and a selection of / marches, strathspeys & reels, / followed by a piobaireachd, / arranged by / Donald MacPhee, / Glasgow.

Publishers / Logan & Compy / Inverness, Aberdeen & Elgin. Below title, left: Ent. Sta. Hall. Below title, right: Price 2 /= nett.

p [i], title; p [ii], index; pp I-VIII, instructions and exercises; pp 1-14, tunes (51); -pp 15-17, pibroch; p [18] blank.

Private Collection.*

Bound up with MacPhee’s Selection (no. 319). 13.7 x 10.4″. Pages 3-4 are missing 

The pibroch exercises are on pp VI-VIII. The pibroch is ‘The Piper’s Warning to his Master’.

2      Nothing is known of edition II at this time.

3      Nothing is known of edition III at this time.

4      Nothing is known of edition IV at this time.

5      Nothing is known of edition V at this time.

6      Nothing is known of edition VI at this time.

7     Nothing is known of edition VII at this time.

8     ND

Title and imprint as I. Above the title: Eighth edition.

Contents as 1, but without the index.

Central Public Library, Edinburgh.*

13.6 x 9.9″.

Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

9      c1899-1914

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Contents as I with and advertisement on page [18] for Angus MacKay’s Ancient Piobaireachd.

  • The Author’s Collection.

An edition of Angus MacKay’s Ancient Piobaireachd was published by Logan and Co in 1899 and therefore this edition can be dated after 1899 and before 1914 (the date in edition 10.

10    c1914

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Contents as in 1.

  • Dundee Public Library
  • The Author’s Collection. Donated by Walter Gibson of Mosgiel, New Zealand. The outer cover has the name Alexander Ross, Berwick. There are some pages missing.

A copy of the tenth edition is in Dundee Public Library. The imprint reads: Logan & Co. (Inverness), Ltd., / Inverness, Elgin, Nairn, and Dingwall. Apart from this and the words ‘Tenth Edition’ above the title, the title-page is the same as I above. There is an owner’s signature, ‘George Wilkie, Dundee’ and date 1914 which is presumably the date of purchase.

The price on the cover has been obscured but it can just be seen on the title-page and is 3/-.

11    1916-23

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Contents as in 1.

The Author’s Collection.

On page 197 of the original Bibliography Cannon states that Logan & J. Marr Wood Ltd came into use in late 1916 or early 1917 and continued until mid 1923 at the latest. This helps to date this edition.

12    c1923

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The scanned image is taken from The Bagpipe Works of Donald MacPhee published by EP Publishing Limited 1978. (See edition XIII below.)

Contents as I.

  • Central Public Library, Edinburgh.*
  • Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

Advertised in 1925 and still available in 1932 (Askew). Research carried out by Cannon and Jeannie Campbell in her book Highland Bagpipe Makers suggests that Logan & J Marr Wood Ltd folded in c1923. It is probably no coincidence that in the same year Paterson, Sons & Co Ltd first appear on the scene with a version of Logan’s Tutor and Pipe-Major W. Ross’s Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music Book 1.

The present writer has a near perfect edition 1 of Ross’s Collection and it has an advertisement for this edition of MacPhee’s Tutor (along with his Selection of Music No 319 and Collection of Piobaireachd No 320). It is now well established that Ross’s Book 1 was published before September 1923 and as there are no known books published earlier by Paterson, Sons & Co Ltd we can be reasonably sure that was their first year of publishing bagpipe music.

It is most likely that 1923 was when this edition of MacPhee’s Tutor was published although it was not advertised until 1925 as Cannon points out.

Paterson, Sons and Co Ltd became Paterson’s Publications Ltd in 1925.

13     1978

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p [i], short title; p [3], title; p [iv], imprint; pp [v]-ix, foreword; Complete Tutor with page numbering as per original book; Selection of Music with page numbering as per original book; parts 1 & 2 of Collection of Piobaireachd with page numbering as per edition 2 above.

  • The Author’s Collection.

This edition came out too late to be included in the main text of the original Bibliography but is included in the Addendum.

Unicorn Limited Inc in USA offers a reproduction of one of the later editions on CD. See www.scotpress.com.


  • Rev 00. (9 October 2008). Rev 01 (19 August 2009).  This revision adds comments about a previously unknown edition to the introduction.
  • Rev 02 (15 November 2009).  Updates edition 12.

© Geoff Hore 2009