101 – The Compleat Tutor for the Pastoral or New Bagpipe by John Geoghegan

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      c1746


p [i] blank; p [ii], illustration; p [iii], title; p [iv] blank; p 1, preface; pp 2-9, treatise etc, with finger charts; pp 10-28, tunes (41); p 1, ‘A dictionary explaining such Greek, Latin, Italian and French words as generally occur in music’; pp 2-4, ‘A catalogue of new music to be had where this is sold’.

  • British Library, London.  Bound up with a number of tutors for other instruments, published by the same firm. 8.9 x 5.7.
  • Geoff Hore’s Collection.  Photocopy.

The Union-Catalogue and the British Library Catalogue both give the date 1746, but in the latter this has been altered by hand to ‘c. 1745’. This book is probably the one referred to in an advertisement of about 1746, listing Simpson’s publications, which Kidson (p 119) quotes as follows, ‘The Compleat tutor for the . . . bagpipe . . . collections of the newest and most favourite airs’. The advertisement on pp 2-4 of this book lists a whole series of ‘Compleat tutors’ for the violin, German flute, common flute [i.e. recorder], harpsichord or spinet, French horn, hautboy & bagpipe, in that order, all priced 1s. 6d.  There are no watermarks.

2      No date

A similar edition published by John Johnson is now in the Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Gdansk. It appears that Johnson had taken over the plates from Simpson by about the year 1754, for in a catalogue of about that date, now in the British Library (Hirsch. IV. 1111(9)), he advertises ‘Instruction books for playing on the violin, flute, German flute, harpsichord, hautboy, French horn and bagpipe, each . . . 0-1-2’. It will seen that this is the same selection of instruments as had been listed by Simpson, c1746. The bagpipe tutor occurs again at the same price in a Johnson catalogue of 1770 (Hirsch. IV. 1111(10)). According to Humphries and Smith, Johnson was in business as a publisher from 1740, or 1748, until c. 1762 when he died and was succeeded by his widow, who however continued to use the imprint ‘John Johnson’ onsome books until 1770. In November 1777 Robert Bremner advertised that he had ‘purchased the greater part of the music plates and books that belonged to the late Mrs. Johnson’. (Humphries and Smith, p 194).

3      c1762-89

Title as 1.

Printed for & sold by R. Bremner. / opposite Somerset-House / in the Strand. / London, / where may be had bagpipes, & books of instructions / for any single instrument /

title; pp 1, 2-9, 10-28, as I; then follows either a single leaf or else two leaves stuck back-to-back, containing recto ‘A Dictionary explaining such Greek, Italian, and French words as generally occur in music’; verso a heading ‘Of whom may be had the following goods wholesale or retail’, followed by a list of instruments.

  • National Library of Ireland, Dublin.9.6 x 6.5”.  The book has been repaired, the first and last leaves at least having previously become completely detached. There is no frontispiece. Mr. P. Henchy writes, ‘Our copy was acquired, 1943, from the collection of the late Séamus Ô Casaide, who had taken a great interest in the bagpipes. It was already tightly sewn and we regret it is impossible to trace the conjugacy of leaves. It is possible therefore that this copy is defective.’

The imprint fixes the date within the period 1762-1789 inclusive. From a comparison of photostat copies it appears that the title page is printed from the same plate as that of edition I, with only the minimum necessary alterations.

4      No date

Robert Bremner’s stock-in-trade was purchased by Preston & Son in 1789 and in the following year the latter firm advertised ‘New instructions for bagpipes’, price 1s. 6d.,’ . . . late the property of that eminent dealer, Mr. Robert Bremner’. But no Preston edition of Geoghegan’s tutor has turned up so far, and until one is discovered, I am inclined to assume that what Preston published was a new book, based on Geoghegan but not directly copied, i.e. 109 below.

5      c1769-1775

p [i] blank; p [ii], illustration; p [iii], title; p [iv] blank; pp 1-2, preface; pp 3-9, instructions; pp 10-28, tunes (41).

  • City Library, Dundee. 6.2 x 9.1″.
  • National Library of Ireland, Dublin.
  • Geoff Hore’s Collection. Photocopy.

Longman, Lukey & Co. traded under that name from 1769 to 1775. (Humphries and Smith).

6      c1798-1801

Askew describes the following copy, on information supplied by Mr. Walter N. H. Harding, Chicago:

The compleat tutor, for the pastoral or new bag-pipe Containing all the necessary instructions for such as are desirous to play that instrument, and attain the true knowledge of all the principles thereof. Never before published. Written by Mr. Jno. Geoghegan. To which is added a collection of familiar airs, light jigs, etc., curiously adapted to yt. instrument. London: printed and sold by Longman, Clementi & Co., 26 Cheapside, where may be had bagpipes and books of instructions for any single instrument.

Except in punctuation, this title is the same as that of edition 5 above – notice in particular the form ‘yt’ for ‘that’ – and the contents seem to be the same also: ‘Oblong octavo, with engraved title and frontispiece showing a piper playing a simple form of the uilleann pipe. Pp 1-9 comprise the instructional portion and pp 10-28 contain the airs to be played.’

In a later letter to Askew (20 December 1933), Mr Harding added, ‘the engraved surface is 5 1/4″ by 7 1/2″ and the book is 6 3/4” (height) by 9 3/4” (wide) bottom edges being uncut. The front[ispiece] is obviously part of the book the original stabbed binding holes being present in both and the title page carries the offset of the eng[raved] frontispiece.’

The name ‘Longman, Clementi and Co.’ was used from c. 1798 to 1801. (Humphries and Smith).

Mr. Walter N. H. Harding, an English-born musician, resident in Chicago, was a noted collector of early music. He died in December 1973, leaving his collection to the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

7      No date

aaas 5.

p [i], title; p [iii], illustration; p [iv] blank; pp 1-2, preface; pp 3-9, instructions; pp 10-28, tunes (41).

  • British Library, London.
    Library binding. 6.7 x 9.7″. Plate size, about 6 x 8.5”. The Library catalogue originally gave the date as [1793?] but this has subsequently been altered to [ 1805?]. There are no watermarks.
  • Geoff Hore’s Collection.  Photocopy.

Until c. 1801, Muzio Clementi was a partner in the firm of John Longman & Co. The title ‘[Muzio] Clementi & Co.’ could cover any of several combinations of partners, from 1801 to 1833. (Humphries & Smith). The title-page is evidently from the same plate as (edition) 5 with only the minimum necessary alterations.

The text, compared with that of I, seems intended as an exact copy, although it has been re- engraved on new plates. The only differences are a few modernised spellings and expressions and, in the music, a few mistakes.

8      2000


p I, title; p II, sponsors; pp III-IV, contents; pp V-VI, introduction; p VII, title-page (for Colclough’s Tutor); pp 1-11, instructions; pp 12-19, tunes (31); p 20, title-page (for Geoghegan’s Tutor); pp 21-23, preface and treatise; pp 24-33, tunes (41).

  • Geoff Hore’ Collection

This book contains photocopied reprints of Henry Colclough’s tutor (No 114) and an edition of John Geoghegan’s Tutor that has been made up from various editions.  The photocopies were restored and edited by Patrick Sky, USA.


  • Rev 00. (15 October 2008).
  • Rev 01. (1 March 2015).  Format changed for bibliography.altpibroch.com. The edition numbering changed from Roman to Arabic numerals. Scanned image of edition 1, 5 and 7 added. A number of minor errors corrected.  Adds details of edition 8.

© Geoff Hore 2015