109 – Instructions for Playing the 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.

c     1809


The bottom line reads: London / Printed & sold by Preston & Son at their Wholesale Warehouses, 97 Strand.  Below title: Pr. 2s.

 title; pp 1-7, instructions; pp 7-24, tunes (45).

  • National Library of Ireland, Dublin.
  • British Library, London.  Library binding. 6.6 x 10. 0″.
  • Public library, New York.  Boards, leather, gilt (not original binding). 7 x 10″. Received 1933. Verso of first leaf is signed ‘T. W. Taphouse Oxford’.

The British Library copy is watermarked 1805 on pages 13, 19 and 21; the New York copy is watermarked 1807 on the sheet which forms pages 8 and 21. Prior to 1811, Preston and Son had two addresses, 97 Strand and Exeter Change, and thereafter only the former address. (Humphries and Smith, p 264). The imprint of this edition might suggest that it was not printed until c. 1811, but this is not necessarily the case, since the same single address is used on an earlier work, No. 302 in this bibliography, which was published probably in 1803 and certainly not later than 1804.

There is strong evidence that this is not the first edition. One of John Preston’s early publications is ‘Six divertimentos for the harpsichord or pianoforte, . . . London printed and sold by J. Preston at his music Warehouse near Beaufort Buildings Strand’. (British Museum, cat. no. g.276.g). Page [1] of this is a catalogue of new music and includes ‘New Instructions for the bagpipe, price 1s. 6d. This catalogue was issued c. 1783, according to Humphries and Smith (p 264). In 1789 Preston bought up the stock and plates of Robert Bremner, publisher of Geoghegan’s tutor (no. 101 above), and in 1790 Preston and Son issued a catalogue of instrumental and vocal music ‘late the property of that eminent dealer, Mr. Robert Bremner’ (British Museum, cat. no. Hirsch IV, 1113 (8)). Under the heading ‘Instruction books, new editions’ we have again ‘New instructions for the bagpipe’, price 1s. 6d.

This book was evidently regarded as a new edition of Geoghegan’s tutor (no. 101 above). Page 1 is headed ‘New instructions for the bagpipe’ and later the text refers to ‘this improved edition’. The instructional text is much the same as Geoghegan’s and the scale and compass of the instrument are the same, but the fingering is different in places and there is a completely new selection of tunes with Scottish rather than Irish emphasis.


  • Rev 00. (16 October 2008).
  • Rev 02. (3 April 2015).  Format changed for bibliography.altpibroch.com. The edition numbering changed from Roman to Arabic numerals.  Adds scanned image.

© Geoff Hore 2015