206 – The Northumbrian Pipers’ Society’s Tune Book by Gilbert Askew

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.

 In the original edition of the Bibliography Cannon listed this book and The Northumbrian Pipers’ Tunebook (No 208) by Forster Charlton, Colin Ross and Roland Wright 1970 as separate publications. However, the 1985 edition of book No 208, which appeared after the Bibliography was published, reveals the 1936 edition was considered to be the first edition. The different editions are listed:

  • First Edition 1936
  • Second Edition 1970
  • Second Impression (Rev) 1978
  • Third Impression 1985.

All information about book No 208 will now be included here along with Books 2 and 3 that have recently been published.

Book 1

1      1936


p [i], pp [iii-iv], introduction: pp 1-32, tunes (48); p [33], index.

  • British Library, London.  Manilla cover. 5.6 x 8.9”.
  • Central Public Library, Edinburgh.
  • Black Gate Museum, Newcastle.
  • Bodleian Library, Oxford.

In the Introduction, Askew points out that the new edition of Fenwick’s Instruction Book, published in 1931, (204) contained no tunes, since the pipe tunes from Bruce and Stokoe’s Northumbrian Minstrelsy, 1882, were still in print (203). The latter, however, became unobtainable a few years later, hence the need for a new book.

2      1970

The / Northumbrian pipers’ / tune book / A collection of tunes for the Northumbrian smallpipes / and other folk instruments. /

The Northumbrian Pipers’ Society.

p [i], title; p [ii], copyright; p [iii], foreword; pp [iii-iv], introduction; pp 1-47, tunes (96); pp [48-9], index; pp [50-52], blank music staves for additional tunes.

Private Collection.  5.6 x 8.0”.

The introduction is signed by the three co-authors, and dated March 1970. The copyright date is 1970.

This book incorporates nearly all the tunes from the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society Tune Book of 1936 (no. 206 above) edition I together with others from earlier printed and MS sources and recordings of recent players. With one or two exceptions, tunes in the Charlton Memorial Tune Book (no. 207) are not reprinted here.

As mentioned above this book has now been inserted here as edition II. In the description of contents above Cannon states there are 196 tunes in pages 1-47. The remainder of the description is the same as IIb below and there are only 96 tunes. The conclusion is that the number 196 is merely a misprint.

2a    1978

All that is known about this edition is an entry in edition 2b where it is described as ‘Second Impression (Rev) 1978’.

2b    1985


p [i], title; p [ii], imprint and preface to new impression; p[iii-iv], Foreword and introduction.; p 1-47, tunes (96); pp 48-49, index; pp 50-52, blank music staves.

Geoff Hore’s Collection.

On page [ii] is a list of publication dates of the four editions; the last date is 1985.  On the same page is the ‘Preface to New Impression’ and this is dated April 1978.  On page [iii] and [iv] is the Foreword and Introduction and both are dated 1970.  The ISBN is 902510-00-2.

 3      No date


This book is offered for sale on the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society’s website. It has 54 pages and the list of tunes shows that there are a few additions and omissions from edition 2b. ISBN 902510 00 2.

 Book 2

 1    1981

Nothing is known of edition I other than an entry in edition 2.

 2    1991


p [i], title; p [ii], copyright; p [iii], forward to first edition, 1981; pp [iv-v], introduction to first edition 1981; p [vi], introduction to second edition; pp 1-73, tunes (143).

Page [ii] has ISBN 0 902510 10 X. The Foreword to the First Edition, 1981 is by Roland Bibby, President of the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society. The Introduction to the First Edition, 1981 is signed by Richard Butler and Bill Hume and the Introduction to the Second Edition is signed by Nick Hopkinson.

Book 3


This book is offered for sale on the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society’s website. It has 48 pages and ‘Published in 1991, featuring tunes spanning a wide time range from the 17th Century to the current day’. It has ISBN 902510 00 2.


  • Rev 00. (19 October 2008).
  • Rev 01 (21 February 2011).  Adds the scanned image of edition 1.
  • Rev 02 (10 April 2015).  Format changed for bibliography.altpibroch.com. The edition numbering changed from Roman to Arabic numerals.  Rewrites much of the text.

© Geoff Hore 2015