323 – Robert MacKinnon’s Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music by Robert MacKinnon

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      1884

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title; pp I-II, index; pp III-IV, instructions; p V, scale diagram; p VI, exercise; pp 1-19, marches (21); pp 20-32, strathspeys (21); p 33, strathspey (1) and reel (1); pp 34-58, reels (36).

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.
  • Mitchell Library, Glasgow.* (catalogue no. D151957).
  • The Author’s Collection.  Pages V and VI missing.

Robert MacKinnon took first prize for strathspeys and marches at the Northern Meeting, Inverness, in September 1880. His address was given in the records as 3 Brown Street, Glasgow.* The Post Office Directory for Glasgow has him at this address in 1880-1, as ‘Pipe Major, 105th Glasgow Highlanders’, but in the next issue, for 1881-2, published mid-1882, he appears for the first time as ‘bagpipe maker’ and ‘Pipe Major, 10th L.R.V’, with business address at 12 Royal Arcade and home address, 193 Cowcaddens. Evidently this is the same man, since the Brown Street address becomes untenanted at the same time. Later his residence changed to 240 Hope Street and later again to 2 Royal Arcade. His business address continued to be at 12

Royal Arcade until 1900 or 1901, then 59 Renfrew Street. He appears for the last time in the Directory published mid-1902.

*See e.g. a report in the Inverness Courier, quoted in the Piping Times, September 1955.


Manson did not notice edition 1. The earliest date he gives is 1887, with the following description: ‘MacKinnon – a collection of Highland Pipe Music, consisting of Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels to the number of 82, with a complete Tutor. Edited and published by Robert MacKinnon, bagpipe maker, Glasgow. Republished by Mr. MacKinnon in 1898. Price 4s.’ The description is in Manson’s usual format: it may be based on a title-page but it will not be a verbatim copy. The total of tunes is presumably an error for 80; but if the dates are correct they give evidence of two editions preceding the well-known Henderson one. I have not yet seen copies of either.

The present writer has not seen any books that fall into the above two categories.

IV  c1901-05

Robert McKinnon’s / collection of / Highland bagpipe music / with / additional compositions by the leading pipers / of the day. / Including a new tutor.

Edited and published by / Peter Henderson, / bagpipe maker, / 100 Renfrew Street, Glasgow. Below title, left: Copyright. Below title, right: Price 6s.

title; pp I-IV, index; pp I-XII, tutor; pp 1-58, tunes as 1; pp 59-120, other tunes (61); price list.

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.* Boards, leather-bound, with fly-leaf at front. 6.7 x 10.1″.
  • Mitchell Library, Glasgow.* (catalogue no. 233569, received 20 September 1905).
  • Bodleian Library, Oxford. Received 7 March 1905, and dated 1905 in the MS catalogue.
  • University library, Cambridge.
  • Black Gate Museum, Newcastle.

This edition was probably published in 1905 or not long before. One tune, on p 69, is dated 1901.

There is a change in printing style beginning at page 59, in addition to which the last 61 tunes are mostly attributed to contemporary composers.

V  After 1907 and before 1926.

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title; pp I-IV, index; pp I-XII, tutor; pp 1-58, tunes as I; pp 59-120, other tunes (61).

  • The Author’s Collection.

Cannon did not locate this edition. It can be dated after 1907, the year of the move to 24 Renfrew Street. In 1926 Peter Henderson was using Ltd so this must have appeared before that date.

We may be able to narrow down the last possible publication date when the publication date of edition VI is determined.

The music in editions V and VI, pages 1-58, is the same as in edition I, however, there have been a number of changes to grace notes, mainly for the better. One other curious inclusion is at the start of some strathspeys and reels where there are four dots immediately after the introductory notes. They are inserted at the start of the tunes only and do not appear in any other places in the tune and cannot be interpreted as repeat dots because in many reels these parts are not repeated.

VI     ND

There seems to have been yet another edition, for Askew in 1932 said that the book was available without tutor or index, still at the price of 7s. 6d. Moreover he mentioned in his preface that he had received complimentary copies of all the Henderson publications then in print.

The present writer has never seen an edition of this book without the tutor and index. If there was such an edition available in 1932 as Askew suggests then perhaps they ran out at around that time and it is just possible that Peter Henderson Ltd published edition VII in 1933 as that is the year it was presented to the Mitchell Library, Glasgow by Peter Henderson.

VII    c1918-33

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title; pp I-XII, 1-120, as IV.

  • Mitchell Library, Glasgow.* (catalogue no. M 7048). Cloth, boards. Fly-leaf at front only 6.8 x 10.’2”. Presented by P. Henderson, 9 October 1933.
  • The Author’s Collection. Donated by Roy Gunn, Gold Coast, Australia.

Henderson had changed his address from l00 to 24 Renfrew Street in 1906 or 1907, as shown by successive editions of the Glasgow Post Office Directory.

This edition is identical to edition V except for the title-page. There are subtle differences in the font and two changes to the imprint. ‘Peter Henderson’ now becomes ‘Peter Henderson Ltd’ and ‘Bagpipe Maker’ becomes ‘Bagpipe Makers’. The date of publication may be narrowed down when we can determine when Peter Henderson added ‘Ltd’ to their name.

The writer has a photocopy of an invoice from Peter Henderson dated March 1918; this does not have Ltd and has Bagpipe Maker. The earliest known use of Ltd is in Some Piobaireachd Studies (No 353 below) by G F Ross which was published by Peter Henderson Ltd 1926. It appears the addition of Ltd occurred after March 1918 and before 1926.

Therefore, all that can be stated with certainty is that this edition appeared after March 1918 and before 9 October 1933, the Mitchell Library acquisition date.

  • Rev 00.
  • © Geoff Hore 2011