350 – How to Play the Highland bagpipe by James Robertson

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.


Cannon located editions I & II. The present writer has a cover and page I & II from a different (probably later) edition.

I     1925

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pp l-XIV, instructions; pp 1-58, tunes I-XCI; pp 59-65, pibroch exercises; pp 66 64. pibrochs (2); p 70, glossary.

  • Mitchell Library, Glasgow.* 6.7x 9.7′. Received 9 January 1934.
  • The Author’s Collection.

There is no title-page. The title etc quoted above are from the front cover.

Askew gives the publication date 1925, and his description tallies with this copy: ‘Tutor giving elements of music, very full details of the different grace notes and cuttings, and 91 tunes: also a section on pibroch playing with exercises.’

II      1946

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pp I-XIV, 1-58, 59-65, 66-69, same as 1; p [70], advertisement.

  • City Library, Dundee.
  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.* Paper covers. 6.8x 10.2″. Received 27 February 1947.
  • Central Public Library, Edinburgh. 6.9 X 10. 3”.
  • British Library, London. Dated 1946 in catalogue.
  • Bodleian Library, Oxford. Received 10 February 1947; dated 1946 in catalogue.
  • The Author’s Collection.

As with edition 1, there is no title-page; title and imprint are quoted from the front cover.

Page 1 has a note, ‘Revised edition – Copyright 1946.’

James Robertson was in the Queen’s Edinburgh Rifles, and was Pipe Major of the 4/5th Royal Scots, from 1919 to 1925. In conjunction with his father, who was a native of the Black Isle and had served in the Seaforth Highlanders and Royal Scots, he took over the pipe-making business of John Center & Son in 1908. He died in January 1948 (Note in Piping Times, August 1974).


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Contents not known.

This edition is known only from a cover and page I & II in the writer’s collection. The cover, which is printed in dark red, differs from edition II in that it lacks the publishing details on the front cover and this one is printed in Scotland – see bottom left corner of title-page.

On page I there is the previous owner’s name and the date 1953.

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


  • Rev 00.

© Geoff Hore