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Full text of "Canntaireachd : articulate music, dedicated to the Islay Association, by J.F. Campbell, Iain Ileach 14th August, 1880"

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Articulate Music 

]ji;un.'ATi;u TO tiik 


0". IF. C J^ IVC IP B IE Hj !_,, 

T A T X T I . K A C I r . 
14th AUGUST, 188 O. 

Like a herald of old, or a bard, or a piper, I can staud here on a green knoll, 
in a yellow fog, out of the field of the fray, and incite jjeople to battle, -with the 
mustering of the clans in the old forgotten language of MacCrimmen, piper to 
MacLeod of Dunvegan; of MacAi thur, piper to the Lord of the Isles; of " The 
Piper o' Dundee; " and of John CanipLell, the Lorn piper, who taught uic fifty 
years ago how to rouse men with strange words out in the Isles: — 

CuGADH NA SiTH. Battle or Peace. 
The True Gathering of the Clans. 
I Hodroho, hodroho, haninin, hiechin, 

Hodroho, hodroho, hodroho, hachin, 

Hiodroho, hodroho, haninin, hiechin, 

Hodroha, hodroha, hodroha, hodroha, 

Hodroha, hodroho, hodroho, hachm, 

Hiodroho, hodroho, haninin, hiechin, 

Hodroha, hodroho, hodroho, hodroha, 

Haninun, hanimui, haninun, haninun, 

Finishing measure in eight syllables — 

Hiundratatateriri, hiendatatateriri, 
Hiuudratatateriri, hiundratatateriri. 

All of which means music; which meant 

"Almost alike for us battle or peace." 

Printed by ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR, 62 Argyle Street. 


PIPER'S LA.NaU^aE, 1880. 

January. — Heard of Ge.sto'» book for the first time. 
February 5. — Book got. 

March 20. — Finished a paper rouglily. 
,, ^6.— Copied it. 

May 21. — Got together two pipers and a skilled Uiusitian . 
,, 22. — Revised and extended. 
Auf/nst G. — Got back the book with a tune translated into musical notation 
by Ronald Mackeuzie, i^ipe-major of the 78th Highlanders, 
at the request of Ross, piper to the Duke of Argyll. 
Revised the paper. 
„ 12. — Slip got from the Islay printer in Glasgow. Read and returned 

„ l.i.-~Yov Press. 





Ix Jauuaiy 1880 a friend, (Sir Robert Dalzell) was 
met at the New Club iu Edinburgh, and there spoke 
of a book which he had inherited, and supposed to be a 
Gaelic treatise. He asked me, as a collector of West 
Highland f(jlk lore, to tell him what I knew of the 
subject, and he sent the book. On the .5th of February 
it came to tlie Travellers' Club in London. It is a 
small octavo of 42 pages printed 1)}' Lawrie & Co., at 
Edinburgh in 1828, and it is dedicated to the Highland 
Society of London, by Neil Macleod, Gesto, Capt. H. 
P. Independants, member of the Highland Society of 
Scotland. The compiler, "took' at Dunvegan, from 
John IMacCrummen, Piper to the old laird of Macleod, 
and his grandson the late Gcueral ^lacleod of Macleod; 
a collection of pipe tunes, as verl)ally taught by the 
MacCrummen Pipers in the Lsle of Skye to their 
apprentices. Twenty tunes thus orally collected, are 
printed, as they were written by Capt. Macleod from 
the dictation of an old ]\LieCrummen piper ; one of the 
old school. The volume contains a sample of a 
peculiar language used l)y a school of musicians in 
Skye, for teachiog, learning, and remembering music. 

I believe it to be the ouly book of the kind. The few 
words of Gaelic used in the book are spelt phonetically, 
so the letters used hj the scribe to express the piper's 
language may have their English value. The follow- 
ing notes were begun when the book arrived, 5th 
February, 1880. 

This Piper's language, or method of writing music 
was not confined to the Skye School, 

John Campbell who took charge of me and taught 
me Gaelic before this book was printed, was one of a 
family of pipers bred in Lorn, One of them was at 
CuUoden in 1746. I have often seen my nurse, John 
Piper, reading and practising music from an old paper 
manuscript, and silently fingering tunes. I have tried 
to recover this writing Imt hitherto in vain. It is not 
easy to remember words seen more than fifty years 
ago, but, so far as I can remember, the Lorn words 
were not the same as those used by the Skye school. 

The Rev. Alexander Macgregor of Inverness knew 
MacLeod of Gesto, who gave him a copy of his book, 
Gesto owned a sample of Canntaireachd written by 
Mac Arthur one of the family of the pipers to the Lords 
of the Isles, The words differed from those dictated 
by the MacCrummens to Gesto, Consequently three 
different systems existed fifty years ago for writing one 
system of reciting music articulately ; Avhicli was 
current orally a hundred and fifty years ago, in the 
West of Scotland, and is current there still, used by 

Some years ago I wrote something about this old 
system of music for the Duke of Hamilton's piper, at 
Hamilton Palace. He there shewed me a manuscript 
written by Angus MacKay. MacKay was my father's 
piper aljout 1837 and then wished to establish a piper's 
school. He afterwards l)ecame piper to Her Majesty 
and on his death his widow sold his manuscript to the 

Duke of Hamilton's piper. He wished to publisli it, 
and asked me to write something by way of introduc- 
tion. I knew of the pipers' method of writing music 
but I did not then know of the book of 1828. 

By 1837 Pipe music had come to be written on the 
current system and Angus MacKay knew little of the 
system used by Campbells in Lorn, by MacArthurs and 
MacCrummens in Skye. In 1875, Eoss, the Queen's 
piper published a large book of pipe tunes, in musical 
notation; but in March, 1880, he did not know what 
was meant by a passage quoted by me from the book 
of 1828. He did not know the old piper's language ; 
but he speedily learned to read it, Avhen told what it 
meant. The old system merits attention because it is 
a bit of nearly forgotten folk lore. It is a genuine 
popular growth ; native in the Celtic regions of the 
British Isles; and still flourishing there, amongst a 
small class of musicians of the old school ; though 
unknown to the rest of the world. 

As a peculiar species of written language it has a 
special interest for scholars, who seek to learn how 
language, and writing grew. The growth of things 
sublunary teaches how things sublunary grew. Aryan 
agriculture has grown to be scientific "high farming," 
from seeing plants grow. Language has been trans- 
mitted orally since men spoke. Philology has grown 
to be a science, by watching men speak thoughts which 
grow naturally in reasoning minds. The art of writing 
sounds, which express thoughts by articulate words, is 
learned long after a child has learned to speak articul- 
ately. Cetchwayo the Zulu King whose words were 
law, is now learning from his captors how to write in 
1880. Writing and reading grow out of speaking 
articulately, as speaking does from thinking. Singing, 
like speaking, is a natural growth. Music is a language 
common to mankind. The art of writino- vocal music 

or sounds produced with a reed, or a stringed instru- 
ment, is but a metliod of recording musical tliouglit. 
A very great composer was as deaf as a post, so he 
■\ATote his thoughts by a system of musical notation, 
scientifically worked out and reasoned. Others trans- 
lated the writing into sound. So this Pipers' written lan- 
guage for recording musical sounds, however rude and 
imperfect it may be, has a bearing upon all growths 
which spring from mental culture. Like other mental 
growths Pipers' Canntaireachd had a beginning and it is 
near its end. 

Beginnings. — The best way to form an opinion 
about unknown beginnings is to watch how like things 
begin noAv. A plant grows from a seed because such 
is the nature of plants. Writing is an expression of 
thought. It is impossible to discover when writing 
began ; but many "new species" have originated since 
telegraphy was contrived. Men write with flags and 
sticks and leo;s and arms, and flashes of lioht. All 
written ideas may be translated from symbols into the 
sounds, which are words in spoken language. Japan- 
ese and Chinese speech difler, but their common system 
of writing thoughts can be read as Chinese or Japanese, 
or English sounds which express thoughts and name 
things. So it is with musical writing, any symbolical 
system can be translated into sounds, and every ear 
that belongs to a being with "music in his soul" con- 
veys that common human language to any mind. 
Indian hill men delight in Scotch pipe music : men 
everywhere enjoy the singing birds. Each school 
of pipers of old, and every individual piper now has a 
separate method of singing; but all chant articulately, 
and repeat the same sounds in chanting the same tune, 
Avhen it has been learned by rote and " committed to 

I suppose then that cliauting music articulately, is 
natural to maukincl ; and that the idea of writing- 
articulate chanting grew out of human nature, when 
the inventive faculty was set to work to supply a need. 

I myself being untaught, but able to sing by ear ; 
invented a system of written musical memory which 1 
have practised. In 1849 I made shift to write 
Finnish words phonetically, with Eton school marks to 
express their rhythm ; so as to associate tune, the 
music of a song, with articulate sounds, and time. 


Kuku, kuku ; kaukana, kukii ; 
Saiamen, ranalla, ruikata. 

As I did then so did others. Being untaught each 
inventor of writing taught himself to write his 
thoughts, and transmitted his invention. jVIany have 
invented systems, and those who came after fitted old 
alphabets to their needs. We use a Roman alphabet, 
but we also use Egyptian hieroglyphics in almanacs, and 
arable numerals. So writers of music, which is 
a language common to mankind ; either invented new 
symbols, or adapted old signs to new uses. Roman 
letters now express musical notes. This is the Piper's 
"scale" now: — 

G. A. B. C. D. E. F. G. A. 

But people of old wrote articulate chanting as I did 
when I wrote the natural song of the Finns in a 
language which I did not then understand. 

Whether this Pipers' method of writing music is 
Aryan or non Aryan, their chanting is human and 
natural. One name of the Highland system is "Aiyan" 
because words related to it, pervade Aryan speech. In 
Gaelic can means to say or to utter : as can oran ; 


chant a song. In Welsh can means song; canaul, 
singing. But in Welsh, and in French, the word 
which means " singing " includes the crowing of a cock. 
Music is common to men and birds. 

" Le coq gaulois chante toujours." 

All natural singing, from the love songs of black 
birds to the war cries of cocks ; human shouts, laughter, 
wailing, exclamations, and ejaculations ; any articulate 
chanting of musical notes ; may be spelt as other sounds 
are, which make words in a lanouage. Each note is a 
syllable and can be expressed by a vowel and consonants: 
notes and syllables combine into words with and 
without meaning. So Aryan Highlanders who chanted 
tunes naturally, as mankind in general are apt to do, 
wrote their chants as words Avith Eoman letters ; and 
called their system by a name of Aryan origin, which 
is Canntaireachd. The system has another Aryan name 
which means "memory." The Gaelic word is various- 
ly written meoghair, meamhair, meomhair. It is 
sounded meaiiair. It is a sound related to meiir, a 
finger: 7neoir, fing;ers ; " meuraich," v. a. to finder, as 
men of old fingered a reed to make music. 

The original " stave " in musical notation had but 
four lines, and it probably represented the four fingers 
which still are used as a " stave " in teaching children 
to sing. This Gaelic word seems to associate "memory" 
with fingers, and counting upon them, and it explains 
Canntaireachd , to be an artificial memory for music as 
taught by pipers to pupils of old. They first learned 
to chant words with tunes ; then to finger tunes silent- 
ly by memory ; and at last to sound them, by blowing 
a musical instrument Avith eight stops for fingers, and 
one for a thumb. 

" Sylvestrem tenui musa meditaris avena." — Virgil. 

Many a pi|>t^ <1h1 bov.s make of straws iu the days of 
my youth, and much discord did we produce, in 
tryiuo- to phiy ou the sleuder oaten pipe in emuhition 
of "John Piper." 

Where the chanting of tunes began, or when ; 
whether the invention is Aryan or non Aryan, or 
natiu'al to all mankind as singing is to birds ; in 
Scotland, in fact tunes chanted with articulate "words" 
which meant notes and combinations of them have 
long passed orally from mouth to ear, from master to 
learner, traditionally. The music, written as language, 
passed next from liand to eye in manuscripts written 
Ijy the Campbells in Lorn, and MacArthurs and 
MacCrummens in Skye. In 1828 this pecidiar 
language reduced to writing was printed. In February, 
1880, Ross, the Duke of Argyll's piper, who learned 
times orally iu Eoss-shire, from the chautiug of 
John MacKenzie who was Lord Breadalbane's piper, 
and a pupil of the Skye school ; read the book of 1828, 
and played from it at sight. He is musically bilingual. 
In March, 1880, Eoss, the Queen's piper was set to 
chant a tune, and sung it to articulate notes, in words 
of his own. In length and rhythm these words agreed 
with the printed words of the MacCrummen language; 
but they were diflerent words. He selected a tune, 
and wrote words and notes together, and so found the 
same tune expressed by two methods. I got one 
bilingual inscription after about a couple of months. 

There are many written systems, but one " music," 
and musicians naturally articulate when they chant. 
The scale given in the article iu the Encyclopedia 
Britannica, vol. xii. p. 508 is bilingual. It is verbal 
and symbolical. 

(1) ut re mi fa sol la si ut. 

(2) C. D. E. F. G. A. B. C. 

The names of the uotes are used to express them 
throughout the article and like names for notes, are 
commonly used now. 

(3) Musical notation is a third method. 

(4) Numbers would serve the same purpose. 

(5) The tonic Sol-Fa system expresses notes by Roman 
letters, stops, lines, and printers' signs. It starts 
with the fact that a singer who naturally sings by 
ear, having started in any key, goes on in that key 
naturally, like a bird. There are many systems of 
writing music, but only one musical language. 
That is a fact. 

(6) But the puzzle was to make out how the printed 
pipers' language of Skye expressed " music " so as 
to be read at sight, by a pupil of the Skye school, 
who had never seen the language written or printed. 


(1) Had the pupil of the Skye men learned by rote 
articulate sounds which served him as incompre- 
hensible Finnish words served me ? 

(2) Is this Skye language a natural growth : an 
association of shrill and hoarse vowel sounds with 
high and low musical notes % 

(3) Do consonants express something like sudden 
endings or prolonged sounds ? 

(4) Had this pipers' puzzle a scientific foundation ? 

In uniting spoken language, sounds are expressed 
by vowels, and interruptions to sounds by consonants, 
and by stops. 

(5) Is this special application of the art of writing 
with the Roman alphabet, a growth from modern 
education ? 

(6) How was the book of liieroglyj)hics to be read 
without a Rosetta stone of bilingual inscriptions ? 

(7) Where could an interpreter be got ? 

We were in tlie quandary of tlic ignorant modern 
learned sages who wanted to know what tlie Ancients 
meant by hieroglyphics and arrow heads, and other 
signs and symbols, " which no fellow can understand." 

(1.) To get an answer to the first question it seemed 
obvious to ask the man who read the printed book, 
how he did it. But, as commonly happens in collect- 
ing folk lore, reasons are not to be got from people 
who know much by rule of thumb. My interpreter 
could read a whole book, but he could not explain a 
line of it. It was like asking a thrush to explain the 
songs which mother nature taught him ; or the old 
cock thrush, his father. As well ask an alpine maiden 
to number tiie sound waves of her native cow rows, 
and explain their mingling in mathematical proportions 
to make melody and harmony in the mountain air. 
They stir up Swiss souls till men's eyes fill with tears 
at the bidding of music ; but nobody knows how these 
minute air waves get to the emotions. A party of 
whom three were good musicians, and a fourth was 
used to play upon human nature, met, and the inter- 
preter came. We chose a word in a tune, and asked, 
What is ' hirinn 1 ' 

That's ' hirirhi,' said the piper, and played three 
notes deftly with his little finger by striking a 
note on the chanter once. Two were open notes ; one 
closed. "Do you know the names of the fingers?" 
said the teacher. 

"Yes," said I, "that's ' ludag,' the little finger." 

"Well," said the artist, "that's ' hiririn,'" and he 
played the passage several times, to show how it was 
done with the little finger. 

" Is hiririn the name of the little finger of the right 
hand ; or the name of the hole in the chanter ; or the 
name of the note ; or what else is it. ? " 

"No," said the master, "that's 'hiririn,''' and he 
played that word over again cleverly, with the same 
little finger. 

" Old John Mackenzie taught me that in Ross 
long ago ; and he learned it over the fire in the Isle of 
Skye. We used to sit and listen to him, and learn 
what he said, and sang, and learn to finger this way." 
Then the piper played silently with his fingers, as my 
old kindly nurse used to do fifty years ago, and every 
now and then he blew the chanter, and sounded a 
passage a breath long, from the book which he read 
easily, but could not explain — and that's hiririn — and 
if any of the party ever hear that particular combina^ 
tion of three notes again, the name of it will be 
remembered. It means three notes combined. 

Compared to a book of poetry it thus appears that 
each tune is like a song, and hiririn is like a word in 
a line which keeps its place and its time in the tune, 
like " Tityrc tu patuhe," in the mind of a school boy. 

That much we learned from our interpreter. He 
had learned by rote certain articulate syllables, com- 
bined as words, w^hich for him meant passages in a 
particular pipe tune. For the ignorant residue of 
mankind they mean nothing. The words are equal to 
passages of so many notes : — 1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 8., with 
commas to mark pauses. The words served him as 
Finnish words served me in learnino- and rememberinii- 

" Gakuri, gakuri, haramoia, lindu " — 

suggests to me a tune learned in the wilds of Lappland 
from a Quain girl. I cannot now separate sounds and 
symbols from that music and meaning. They arc 

welded together in iiiemuiy, and .suggest each other as 
things visible, and audible with a meaning which is 

" Loom ! Loom ! oh red bird, 

(2.) Is this Skye musical language founded upon 
vowel sounds ? Nobody ever thought naturally of 
speaking about the squeaking of a Bull, or the roaring 
of a mouse ; of the hooting of a lark, or the ivarhling 
of an owl ; of the croaking of a blackbird, or the 
whistling of a raven ; of the shrill squeaking of a 
clarion, or the trumpeting of a fife. But the written 
words, rattle of musketry, and booming of distant 
guns, read aloud suggest real sounds. High notes, in 
fact, are naturally associated with shrill sounds, which 
are commonly expressed alphabetically hj the symbols 
ee, i, ea. Low notes and hoarse sounds are, in fact, 
associated with the vowel symbols o, oa, u, oo, aw, oic. 

That much I found out for myself long ago, when 
the Phonetic Neivs set men thinking of sounds and 
symbols. I then constructed a natural scale from the 
notes of animals which generally are constants, and 
applied this natural scale to words in all the languages 
that I had then managed to pick up by ear. Vowels 
express them, but it Avould take ten times the Roman 
number of vowels to express sounds in human speech, 
which govern the meaning of words which I can utter 
so as to be understood. So I gave up the Phonetic 
Scale as impracticable, without an alphal)et nearly as 
extensive as Chinese, 

But, in fact, a natural gamut exists in English 
names for noises, from the lowing of cows to the 
braying of asses, and the neighing of horses. 











i Roai', 






























Boom . 























Shylock says--" And when you hear the drum and 
the vile S(|ueaking of the wry necked fife." 

Milton sings — " On a sudden open fly, Avith impet- 
uous recoil and jarring sound the infernal doors ; and 
on their hinges grate harsh thunder." 

One passage is in the high fife key ; the other in the 
low key of the natural harsh thundering sounds, 
which this musical poetry would suggest by sound 
alone, even without the sense of the poet's words. 
Tennyson sings of " the murmuring of innumerable 
bees." " The twittering of merry little birds," is 
suggested by London sparrows. On that natural 
association of sound and sense " Israel in Egypt " is 
founded. The music is descriptive — of hailstorms, and 
of the buzzing of insects. Some pipe tunes arc 
intended to suggest the noises of battle. It seemed 
]tossible that the piper's method of writing music 
might \)c found by this natural gamut which Milton, 
Shakspcar, Tennyson, Handel, and others applied to 
their great works. A Gaelic grammar written Ijv 
\). C. MacPherson, assistant librarian at the Advocates' 
library,'"' was compared Avith the 8kye book. Accor- 
ding to this latest printed work there are at least 29 

* Since this was written, this very excellent Gaelic sch'ilar has passed 
away; to the genuine regret of uuuiy v,ho knew him, and his great wortlu 


vowel sounds, simple aud compouud, in Gaelic, wliieli 
now are expressed 1)}' plain and accented vowels, 
diptliougs, and tiiptliongs. In humming tunes syste- 
matically, a vowel scale miglit have grown out of 
Gaelic vowel sounds. If so, the test word Idririn 
ought to mean three notes of the same sound — (i) or 
(ee). But the middle i when played is a different note. 
Taking the passage written as music with words, 
the same vowel is used in many syllables "^^'hich mean 
different notes in the same tune. But the writer of 
^lacCrimmen's words wrote them with Roman letters ; 
so the vowels may have their English value, and may 
not express their sound in a Gaelic ear — i = ee in Gaelic, 
This is not strictly a vowel scale in which each symljol, 
a e i u, represents a note ; but generally shrill 
vowel sounds go with high notes, as they do naturally 
in humming tunes, and as they occur in poetry. That 
much we puzzled out by the aid of books aiid common 

(3.) Consonants do express sudden endings and 
runs, and such like incidents in music, which would 
be expressed in English by such words as thrilling, 
rattling, clattering, pause, stop. Liquids come natu- 
rally into singing ti'a la la ; the letter P. stops a 
vowel sound by shutting the lips. The piper's language 
is not founded upon a systematic combination of vowels 
aud consonants to make words like GET), DEC, DED. 
It is not a set of names for notes like Do, Re, Mi, Fa, 
So], La, Si, Do. Each tune has a different set of 
words made of different syllables. Only nine notes 
can be sounded on the instrument, and more than 
eighty syllables occur in a book of twenty tunes. 
It is not a scientific invention, but an um^ipe growth. 

(4.) Clearly the piper's })uzzle had no exact scien- 
tific origin — neither vowels, nor consonants, nor 
syllal)les, nor words, mean single notes in a scale. It 


is not a systematic rigiJ plan of arranging the Roman 
alphabet with printer's signs, which the modern " tonic 
sol-fa " system is ; bnt it was a growth in that 
direction when MacLeod, of Gesto, made shift to write 
to the dictation of MacC'rhnmeu, in Skye. 

(5.) It is a growth from the modern education of 
the scribe, which did not include the writing of Gaelic 
in 1828. He had learned to write on the modern 
English system. 

(6.) The "Rosetta stone," or the bilingual inter- 
preter, was sought in the " Club of true Highlanders," 
and in the " Gaelic Society" in London, and amongst the 
Highland Societies of Glasgow ; but in vain. 

(7.) Duncan Ross, the only interpreter known was 
abroad in the end of March, 1880. 

It was easy thus to clear the ground ; to make out 
what the book was not ; to make out that this musical 
system stands alone. But the puzzle was to make out 
the reason of the plain fact that Piper Ross could play 
twenty tunes out of a printed book, though he had 
never seen his familiar oral Canntaireachd written or 
printed before. It seems that something natural to 
human songsters has been spelt with the Roman 
alphabet, so that words of one, two, three, four, six, 
and eight syllables do in fact suggest accent, rliythm, 
and time ; high and low tones, and whole tunes, 
which can be learned by rote, written, and read, as if 
the tunes were songs in an unknown language. This 
is in fact a language, and it is music. Having found 
these negatives, the hope of learning something posi- 
tive lay in a cultivated musician, to compare words 
with notes. The Argyll piper Ross undertook to write 
words and notes together ; but he went abroad on the 
24th February, and had no time. The Skye book 
contains no tune that is in the Book of Ross the 
Queen's piper. No skilled musician could read a note 

of the Skyt.- book. So tlic writer au<l bis aids were 
left witb tills imkDOAYu biiiguage, without au interpreter, 
and without lielp ; all that we knew was that our 
unknown language meant music, and nothing besides. 
We met and tried experiments, and owned defeat on 
the 1st of March. On the 24th Eoss, the Queen's 
piper, furnished one biliugu-d inscription — Cogadh na 
sith — " war or peace " — we did not like to be beaten at 
the election time. On the 21st of May, after waiting 
patiently, we gathered the acattered elements needful 
for analysing this curious compound of thoughts, 
sounds, and shapes. Gesto's book was opened at the 
tune called " The end of the litde bridge." Ross, the 
Argyll piper, read the book, and sounded the symbols 
on a chanter with breath and fingeis. His brother 
aided with voice only, chanting at intervals, sounds 
which both brothers learned from oral chanting, and 
both can chant and play upon a pipe like the old 
slender reed of Virgil's pipers. E. 13., a skilled 
musician, with his eyes on the book, played tlie notes 
as he heard them from the pipers, with his left hand 
upon a piano, and wrote them with his right hand 
upon music paper, according to his own system. By 
combining knowledgre ; after waiting for months, in 
half-an-hour one combination of sounds was translated 
from the pipers' written language to another written 
system of musical notation. But the result was"music". — 
sounds produced with the voice, with a chanter, and 
witb. strings on a piano, which sounds were compre- 
hensible to me, who sing by ear only, and know music 
naturally, as a bird does, without instruction. In like 
manner I could play on a comb and a curl paper, 
and I can play the Jew's harp. These instruments 
are aids to uttered sound. Playing on them is 
a species of whistling or talking performed with lips, 
cheeks, tongue, teeth, and lungs, by breatliing upon 

vibratiug bodies. They make the air quiver ; the air 
waves convey sound to ears, and they transmit that 
mode of motion to the sensible person within who 
hears and understands the meaning of the other 
sensible person who utters his thought aloud. So 
mind speaks to mind. But that is " speech " and a 
" lanojuage," and " music " is a language common to 
mankind. The piper's written language is but a 
peculiar method of writing that which any human 
creature with musical ears can understand. Articulate 
musical sounds are expressed by vowels and consonants 
of the alphabet used by the writers of Canntaireachd. 
But the musical sounds need no artifice; they are 
natural to men and to animals, and are understood as 
soon as heard. 

Part ii. 

Scotland, France, Switzerland, Himalaj^as, Lappland, Japan, 
Russia, Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Red Sea, Steamers, Boats, 
Java, Fiji, etc., etc., etc. 

And now I will strive to combine a traveller's experi- 
ence, with knowledge of spoken languages gathered by 
car and from books ; and with knowledge of the ways 
of my Highland countrymen, gathered ever since I can 
remember, so as to bring all that I know to bear upon 
this particular bit of folk lore, which has grown into a 
printed book. 

The practice of associating articulate, but meaning- 
less words with music is a human practice so far as 
my traveller's experience extends. 

In the Scotch Highlands "Seisd" a chorus or 
refrain is part of the singing of popular songs. The 
words are subservient to the vocalization in many 
kinds of singing. I have seen and heard a lot of 
women and girls woi'king, laughing, singing, clapping 

hands uul daiiciug while fulliug doth. It was a kind 
of " bee" in the American sense. One sang a line which 
she composed for the benefit of a passing sportsman, 
and the song went in this fashion. 

" I will raise my gun, and hu, ho ! " 
Then came the rest of a reel tune vocalized by the 
Avhole body with action and emphasis in words with- 
out meaning, in this fashion — 

Hog ho, hilm 6, hu ; ho; 

Hog ho ro, hog 6 ro, ha ; ho ; 

Hu, ho! hi Im 6, hog 6 ro ; 
Well done, Galadan ho ; hu ; 

Then the solo chanted a new line 

*' And I will shut an eye, hu ; ho ; " 
And so on, for a very long time, the w^omen worked 
and danced and sang. 

In France in 1848 I heard wild singing in chorus 
by the workmen whom the state then paid. They 
walked in procession carrying flags and trees, they 
modelled caricatures out of the mud heaps by the way 
side ; occasionally they broke a stone or two for mend- 
ing their ways, but whatever else they did they sang, 
for they were out on a spree and the nation paicl them. 
" Nourries par la Patrie-e." 
(Nourished by the nation) 
was the sentiment uppermost in the Babel of musical 
sounds which then filled the air of Paris. 

It is natural to Celts to sing as it is to thrushes and 
blackbirds, and to the "Cock of Gaul" who "sings 
always, chiefly when he is well beaten." 

In October, 1879, up in the Valais where a learned 
Swiss doctor believes that he has found 1500 Celtic 
roots, in the native Alpine dialect of the Simplon 
region — there on a fine still clear day, I listened for 
hours to " jiidcln." A lot of women and girls were 

herdiug tlieir grazing cattle in separate fields, and 
knitting, and singing as birds do for joy, each in her 
own fashion at her own post. I could not detect one 
word of any language in this natural concert of solos. 
] t was all natural vocalization like the sinoins; of birds, 
but it was articulate because it was an expression of 
human emotion. Because it was articulate this Alpine 
human chanting might have been written as German 
is, or Italian or French or G-aelic, with an alphabet, or 
it might have been written as music is in Germany 
and in Italy to the words, — Do. Re. j\Ii. Fa. Sol, La. 
Si. Do. 

I do not know that any Swiss artist has reduced 
jodeln to writing; but it is to be found in the 
refrains of songs. Jodeln extends through the Alps 
into original Aryan regions, and through the Caucasus. 
In the Himalayas, and all over India something of the 
kind is to be heard. It is unwritten Cauntaireachd. 

The hill Coolies who carry travellers keep time and 
step to a song. One set who carried me for a long 
stage near Kangra, chanted something all the way 
which sounded like — 

Ecc le fccli an, hiim; hu. 

At a mountain fair near Darjeeling in 187.5, a 
native piper was playing tunes which might have been 
Scotch, upon a thing very like a Scotch piper's 
"chanter." When the sun sets and fires are lit in the 
cold season in the plains of India, the air fills with 
smoke and grows sonorous with articulate human 
chanting, and the less articulate songs of Jackals. 
Music is natural, the writing of it artificial. From 
west to east chanting is Aryan. So articulate is the 
howling of Jackals that it has been written as a 
language thus — "Dead hindoo! Dead hindoo! Dead 
liindoo! Where? where? wdiere? where? Here, here. 


here, here. Come and cat him. Come and cat him. 
Come and eat him, do." Chanting is non Aryan 
also. In Lapphmd my Ln]^y boatmen when there was 
a pause in their work, wliicli left them breath to spare, 
spent it in crooning articulate but meaningless music. 

Hum; ha e, ha e, ha i; hum ; ha e lia e 
were the sounds which used to go on while I fished. 
I know enough to be sure that these were not words 
in any language known to the people of these regions, 
Lapp, Quainish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian or 
Karelsk. The Lapps were chanting such music as 
they knew, and it was not good music. It w^as a 
native plant, uncultivated, like the songs without 
words of the Jackals and foxes. 

Right away on the other coast of Eurasia, in Japan 
the mountaineers who helped me in my wanderings 
sang songs and made vocal music articulately, with 
meaning and without, I have heard Russian regiments, 
recruited in the Steppes which lie between LajDpland 
and Japan, singing and chanting ; expressing thoughts 
in words, and emotions in articulate though unmeaning 
sounds. Throughout Northern Eurasia Aryans and 
non Aryans practise "Canntaireachd," but so far as I 
know Scotch Celts are the only people who have 
written that sort of natural music separately. The 
book of Gesto is the only book of the kind, and the 
Scotch manuscripts have no equivalent in ancient 
writings so far as I have been able to find out. In 
Spain the Muleteers chant long lamentable songs with 
words, and with long articulate refrains in which the 
voice is used as a musical instrument, and utters arti- 
culate notes, which miglit be written with an alphabet. 
In Spain, Italy, and Greece, something of the kind 
exists. In Egypt the Nile 1 )oatmen chant as they pole, 
or track, or row, or push ; and the drawers of water 
on the banks sing all day at their work. Some of the 

music is set to words which are litanies, or lists of 
Mahomedau saints, or love songs in praise of a sweet- 
heart's beauty. But great part of the articulate chant- 
ing of Egypt is simple vocalization, such as a long- 
drawn Ah ! which is taken up by all together at the 
end of a stave thus — 

" Thou of the Ijeautiful black eyes. Ah ! 

The boatmen at Aden who come from the African 
coast sing songs with refrains while they row. The 
black stokers on board of the Indian Steamers, and on 
the Chinese coast, chant while they work ; and work 
all the harder while they express their sensations of 
energy, in articulate music. In Java, Coolies who are 
Chinese, and Malays, and people of Oceana join chorus 
while they pull togetlier. All act like Scotch High- 
landers rowing together ; or Highland girls reaping or 
gleaning, or fulling cloth ; or lads and lasses leaping 
shouting, snapping fingers, clapping hands, and 
generally expending their superfluous energy of strong 
healthy human vitality, in that rhythmical motion, 
and articulate noise, which grows to be dancing and 
music when cultivated. My traveller's experience is 
that chanting articulately is natural to humanity, and 
that music is but a cultivated variety of that natural 
growth from thinking, of which language is part. 
Because men think they speak, because they are 
merry or sorry they sing, and dance, or weep and 
march with some approach to order and system ; in a 
different manner from creatures which crow, and clap 
their wings and howl and caper ; because they are in 
the humour, and express their emotions instinctively 
without poetry, or melody, or rhythm, or rhyme, or 
reason, by action and by noise. 

The step which shortens chorus and lengthens verse 
is an advance in the cultivation of natural music. The 

refrain in a song is a remnant of the older practi(;e of 
chanting articulately without definite meaning, and 
that survival is general where popular songs exist. 

I learn from the letters of a lady who has been to 
Fiji and from the wife of the Deputy Governor, that 
the famous elaborate dances of these wild islands are 
performed to articulate vocal chants, sung by the 
dancers and by a chorus. But these " native songs " 
are not understood by the singers. They cannot tell 
what their chants mean. It has therefore been sur- 
mised that their language has changed, as Breton to 
French, so as to be incomprehensil^le though learned 
by rote. 

A little boy some four years old who learned to sing 
and dance and flourish a tiny war club after the 
manner of the chiefs in Fiji, when returned to England 
sings words which seem to belojig to humanity. 

hai, ho, la, la. 

It seems that these wild people at the opposite side 
of the world have contrived a language which is their 
artificial memory for dance music ; though they have 
not written their natural contrivance. Practically, it 
seems that the growth of a musical language is part of 
human progress : it grows like speech naturally, and 
comes to be written later on, and it has been printed 
in Scotland. The most scientific method of expressino- 
the most scientific music by writing is but a cultivated 
species of that which was a natural growth in the Fiji 
Islands. It is human nature to make vocal music 
articulate. It was Celtic Aryan progress to write and 
to print that which is natural to humanity and so to 
construct the Piper's musical language. 

Writing, as I suppose, always grows from speaking, 
in the order of human progress ; and the art o^ writin<>- 
music has grown out of tlie art of writing spooeh. 

Song Books. — lu Gaelic songs ancient and modern 
the' musical cliorus part often is far longer than the 
measured verses. There commonly is more music than 
meaning\iu a song. 

Sinclair's Song book,'"' published in Glasgow, 1880, 
has 527 pages on which are printed samples of many 
kinds of sou_r:s. Most of them have a chorus, which 
has to be repeated after lines, or couplets, or quatrains, 
or longer verses ; by the company of singers. At page 
40 is a chorus of three lines of articulate notes, which 
are to be sung between couplets". But the last line of 
each couplet is the first in the next pair of lines. The 
chorus is of the nature of jodeln and Canntaireachd 
It is mere chanting printed. 

Ho i u b hill ho ro b 

Ho i u o hi ri ii ii o 

Hb i u o hill ho ro b. 
This musical part of the vocal performance is 
longer than the poetical composition which has mean- 
ing clothed in verse and set to music. At page 23 is 
a modern song composed by a Highlander in New 
Zealand on the marriage of Lord Lome. The singer 
is made to chant four lines of articulate sounds, and 
one with a meaning, as a chorus, after each quatrain. 
In these the bard expresses his own ideas imder his 
assumed character of the Princess, who is supposed to 
warljle thus. — 

Irin, arin, a ho ro, 

L'in, arin, a ho ro, 

Irin, arin, a ho ro, 

My love for Lome's Marquis. 

The first three lines of this chorus are written notes 

They suggest the rhythm of the tune, and the words 

in the verses fit the same time. Accents take the 

* An T-Oranaiche. 

place of loiigs aud shorts which express the measure of 
Latin hexameters aud pentameters ; or of Greek 
iambics. Those who speak any language pronounce 
theii' words long or short ; and accentuate them by ear, 
and those who write express accentuations and time 
by symbols and stops. Following the writers of spoken 
language, the writers of music have used the same signs 
and rules in writing Gaelic songs. On page 2 1 is a song 
in which the chorus has five lines to each single line of 
poetry. There is more music than meaning in it; but 
this chorus is made of words whicli have a meaning. 

A girl, art thou ; a herdsman, I; 

Young^ maiden, wilt thou ouide me ? 

A gild, art thou ; a herdsman, I ; 
Young maiden, i hiiiribh o, 

Younoj maiden wilt thou 2;uide me. 

I went to court Erin's king's daughter, 

The maiden asked what might not be, 

A castle on each sunny hillock. 

A mill on every stream in Erin, 

A cat on which were three score tails, 

She made a vow, an oath, and swore it. 


And so on to the end of this wild chant, which seems 
to be very old and contains more musical sound than 
meanino-. But as meanino- otows, music becomes an 
accompaniment to poetry ; aud these arts branch as 
they grow. The division of labour puts music into the 
orchestra and singing upon the stage of an opera. 
Music grows to be vocal and instrumental. 

On page GS a clioru.s of four lines lias meaning and 
has to be repeated after each quatrain. There is more 
meaning in the song and less sound. But on page 67 
is a modern song composed by a living poet, who is 
also a clever well educated man. His meaning is 
clothed in smooth measured musical lines of poetry, 
which may be sung to a musical accompaniment ; be it 
harp, piano, or orchestra. But there is no chorus of 
articulate sounds in this, with or without meaning, to 
he repeated over and over agrdn, by a company of 
singers. It is no longer a solo and chorus ; it is a song, 
and a very good one. It is poetry made to fit music, 
but able to go alone. Thus popular Gaelic singing is 
the chanting of articulate sounds, like those which are 
nsed ill teaching music orally ; it is vocal music, 
mingled with the siuging of poetry to music. But 
articulate vocal music and measured verse, have come 
to be written and printed together, according to the 
current system of writing the spoken language. 
Writing and Eeading have grown out of singing, recit- 
ino", and speaking. Prose poetry and music have 
branched and separated. They combine in the telling 
of tales, and in the singing of Gaelic songs. 

That Avhich is true of Scotch Highlanders is true of 
other Celts, and other Aryans, as appears in Iwoks. 
Part of a composition is poetry ; part is articulate 
vocal music, written and printed as if the notes Avere 

Breton. — In Ville Marques Barzaz Breiz, 4th edition, 
1 S 4 6 is a refrain orally collected and spelt by the collector. 
The chorus is translated l)y him. He got the fi'agments 
from haunters of taverns who sang mechanically, more 
for the tnne than for the words, of which they did not 
understand above a quarter. The learned collector 
himself doubts the accuracy of his translation of the 
Breton chorus. 

Tan! tan! dir! oh! tan! dir! lia ! tan! tanu ! taun ! 
Til- ! lia tonn ! tonn ! tir ! ha ! tann ! &c. 
Oh fire ! oh steel ! oli fire ! oh fire ! oh steel ! 
And fire ! oh oak ! oh oak ! oh earth ! 
Oh waves ! oh waves ! oh earth ! and oak ! 

This "dance of the sword, orwine of the Gauls" is sup- 
posed to have been composed after a Breton raid upon 
neighbouring Frankish vineyards about the 6th century. 
Like old Vedic hymns and Gaelic songs it ejaculates, 
rather than recites. In words which sound like the 
refrain the bard sings that white wine is better than 
beer, or hydrome], or cider; that he has drunk wine 
mingled with Ijloodand soon. The Breton refrain seems 
to be articulate music : — sounds without sense, to which 
sense has been given by the waiter, with his vowels 
and consonants. He has done that which someVx^dy 
else did for the Indian Jackals. It is easy to spell 
sounds so as to convert them into words. The refrain 
spelt thus has a Gaelic meaning. 

" Muir an tonn muir an tonn muir an tir e." 
" Sea of wave, sea of wave, sea of shore-e." 

It might be spelt as English, 

" Mere in town, mere in town, mere in Tara." 
Spelt as French it has no French meaning. 

"Mir in ton, mir in ton, mir in ton-e." 

It is l)ut articulate vocal music written and 
printed, and that sort of w^ritten music pervades French 
popular songs, as it does Gaelic Songs. 

French. — ^Beranger wrote French songs at the end of 
last century, and the beginning of this one. He wrote his 
poetry to old popular airs, and to music composed for 
him. Like Gaelic and Breton songs these French songs 
have a chorus and the chorus often has no meaning in 
French speech. 

Tli(3 Sclioolmiister iii the cditiuu of 1847, p. 113, 
vol. i. i.s written for au air known as 

Pan, pan, pan. 
The refrain of the new song is 

Zon, zon, zon, zou, zon, zou ! 
The whip little Polisson ! 
The letters spell a musical sound intended to suggest 
the whipping of the little rascal and the verses tell 
dramatically the misdeeds for which he was whipped. 
In this and in many other songs the poetry proves 
that the chorus is an imitation of sounds only, that it is 
articulate Vocal Music. 

The Bell ringers, p. 141, vol. i. is written for an air 
known as "My System is to love good wine." The 
refrain is mixed with the meaning so as to shew that 
it imitates the chiming of bells, which have no thoughts 
of their own to express in language. 

Digue, digue, dig, din, dig, din, don. 
Ah how I love 
To sound a baptism 
Of spouses I ask pardon. 
Dig, din, don, din, digue, don. 
After this Bell chorus, came four lines of poetry, 
then chorus again like Ding dong bell, w^hich is an 
English equivalent. 

The double hunt on page 147 is written to an air 

" Tonton, tontaine, tonton." 
Words and refrain shew that the song maker in- 
tended his sounds to imitate the high and low tones of 
a hunting horn. 

Come hunter (piick to the field, 
Of the horn dost thou not hear the sound ? 
Tonton, tonton, tontaine, tonton. 


Otherwise spelt as Gaelic Beranger's horn blowing 
sounds would make 

Tonn tonn tonn tonn tonn teine tonn tonn. 
Wave wave wave wave wave fire wave wave. 
Spelt as English they may express notes high or low. 
Tone tone, tone tone, tone tain, tone tone. 
The song maker's intention clearly was to express the 
sound of a musical instrument with the letters of the 
Roman Alphabet used as they were then used in writing 
French words. Whips, Ijells, and horns do not speak 
or think. They sound. 

It would be easy to multiply examples fi'om Beranger 
of written music of this kind. Le Roi d' Yvetotl has 
the refrain 

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ah, ah, ah, ah. 

What a good little king was there 

la la. 

The words of the whole song are in the vowel keys, 

" oh, ah, on," which suggest the notes of a fiddle or of 

some other instrumental accompaniment and so it is 

with other refrains in French songs. 

" Tra la la V amour est la." 
"Boira qui voudra la ru^ette." 
"Paira qui poura la rira." 
" Gai gai marions nous." 
" La farira dan daine o-ai 


" Mirloton. 

" Eh ! Ion Ian la, landerii-ette. 

Books prove that Celtic, Cymric, and Gallic popular 
melody has been reduced to writing with popular sono-. 

So has pipe music, as "Canntaireachd" which there- 
fore is a very common human practice, made into a 
language by the players of bagpipes in Scotland. 


English. — That articulate music is human appears 
in the popular songs of all countries. There is a quaint 
old chant about king Cole, the mythical English 

Old king Cole was a jolly old soul, 

And a jolly old soul was he. 

He called for " pipe," and he called for his bowl. 

And he called for his fiddlers three. 
Tweedle diddle dee, 
Went the fiddlers. 
So the song goes on to imitate various kinds of 
musical sounds. 

Twangle, twangle, twang : went the harpers. 

Rub a dub a dub : went the drummers. 

Whistle wheetle whee : went the fifers. 

Tweedle diddle dee : went the fiddlers. 
And he called for his fiddlers three. 

The " pipe " marks this as a late composition but 
older Shakspearean l)allads are full of refrains of like 
nature. The practice is English and old. 

About 1848 I Jieard in the Quarantine station at 
Klampenberg in Denmark, a man famed as the last of 
the Bellman singers. He sang the songs of the Swedish 
Burns to an admiring audience of travellers doing Quar- 
antine. A large part of the performance was a vocal 
imitation of instrumental music, in articulate words 
without meaning. I have walked with Upsala students 
through a forest singing a chorus which was repeated 
between verses. In books of Swedish songs a printed 
cliorus commonly is a large part of the song. 

I have often heard Norweoian sono-s suno- with a 
chorus in the Saetars or Mountain grazing farms, and at 
sea and in cities. Printed collections give the chorus 
which generally has a meaning made meaningless by 
repetition. The practice is Scandinavian. 


Scotch. — I know many old Sr-otdi ballnds with 
refrains such as 

Binnorie oh Binnorie 

On tlio bonny milldams o' Binnorie, 

Examples are printed in the minstrelsy of the Scottish 
border. I have heard Russian boatmen near Archangel 
and near Astrakhan sing songs with a chorus, and some 
of them have licen printed in Russian books. I have 
heard like songs in Iceland. The practice is Eueasian. 

The myths and songs of the South Pacific when 
printed are full of " shouts " and " chorus " expressed 
in words, and translated. So natural human articulate 
vocal music has been written, and printed together with 
jiopular poetry, all over the world. But the Scotch 
Pipers' language has been printed as music alone ; an<l 
so far as my reading extends it is the only printed 
language of the kind. So far as I can discover, pipers 
only understand the written language which pipers have 
used for at least a hundred years, in Skye, and in Lorn, 
and in Ross and elsewhere: and now; though every piper 
can sing a tune in articulate words, each man chants 
words of his own invention. The native system is 
near its end, smothered by education. 

My conclusion is that Canntaireachd is not a syste- 
matic scientific method of writing music, but a natural 
growth from human nature. Men who make vocal 
music, articulate naturally, and naturally associate 
articulate sounds with musical notes, so as to remember 
tunes. Civilization and education associate words 
with meaning, and with musical notes, so as to 
separate and then join poetry and music in songs and 
ballads and in epics transmitted orally. A further 
advance records oral recitations in writing, and music 
in notation. The systems are numerous as alphabets 
and symbols, and these writings came to printing when 


that art was invented. That system of growth belongs 
to reasoning humanity ; and where it is to end is hard 
to imagine. But this seems plain. The book of 
Scotch pipe tunes, printed in 1828, stands alone in the 
library of human inventions, so far as I have been able 
to discover, and it is therefore worthy of the notice of 
men who study the progress of civilization. I add one 
tune, without grace notes ; which pipers add, but with 
Gesto's articulate music, and the equivalent notes; to 
enable those who care, to study how these two systems 
correspond, and how they differ. 


XX. KILCHRIST. Syllable for Note. 

The method by which this translation of articulate 
musical notation has been got is this. We counted the 
first eight lines at the 41st page. Eight syllables in 
each line, and the first note I., make sixty-five sounds 
spelt. The equivalent notes written at Fort-George by 
Ronald Mackenzie, pipe-major of the 78th Highlanders, 
at the request of Duncan Ross, piper to the Duke of 
Argyll are one hundred and sixty-nine, ^l^ That gives 
several sounds and an unequal number of them to each 
sound spelt in the book wliich is impossible. We 
assume that the notes are correctly interpreted. 
They do not agree with any theory of a A^owel Scale 
exactly, (A) is generally a higher note tban (0). We 
have cut out grace notes so as to make the number of 
separate sounds equal X\ hi the first eight lines and so 
on to the end of that part of the tune which has been 
written in musical notation. To fit the views of a 
pianist the key has been made G flat on the black notes, 
written. There was no key on the music, but (g) 


is the key. Fifty years ago the urlar (floor 
or ground work) of a tuuc used to l)c played 
first without grace notes. After that came variations, 
and the simple melody re])eated ended the performance. 
So violinists from Paganini onwards have treated the 
Carnival of Venice. So the pipers of old treated their 
solemn dirges, and battle incitements, and clan gather- 
ings, and "ceolmor." So, as I suppose, masters taught 
pupils orally. Under ditticulties, of which a small 
number have been described, I have striven to get one 
sample of oral teaching of pipe music, as printed in 
1828, translated into modern notation, note for syllable. 
Right or wrong this is the best that I can make of it, 
after 7 months, with all the help that I have been able 
to get from pipers and j^ianists, musical theorists and 
friends of all sorts to whom my best thanks are now 

August 12, 1880. Duncan Ross, at Argyll Lodge, 
being asked to play from a proof of this music plays it 
and says in Gaelic " That's right." He adds, — " Now 
we have three drones in the pipe, and grace notes. 
That's an improvement. Many a story did old John 
IMackenzie tell me when I was turning his lathe for 
him and learning music with him. He was four score 
when he died and that is more than twenty years ago. 
It must be nearly a hundred years since he was in 
Raasay, learning 'Cebl mor,' great music, from JMackay. 
They had but two drones (doss) then, and they played 
no grace notes. They had no 'Cebl beag ' theu,"^no 
small music, they only played Cebl mbr on the pipes, 
battle tunes, and laments, and salutes, and such like. 
They had cattle in one end of their house. Mackay 
used to turn his back to the pupils, and play the tunes. 


Mackay's sister used to sit by the fire, and dictate the 
words of Canntaircachd, and sing them as the piper 
played." " Many a time " says Ross " have 1 heard 
old women, myself, out herding cattle, ;sing great music 
in the words of Canntaircachd. They had no grace 
notes. That is Cebl ni5r ; — Cille-Chriosd. AVhen the 
Papists burned the church near the j\luir of Ord, I 
don't know how long ago it was, but it was a long time 
ago; they came from taohk 7ia Manachain, from the 
Beaulay side, the piper played up and they did not 
know what he was going to play. He played. 

Yonder I see the great smoke, 

and so he warned them all. That is the same as the 
words you have got there. 

/ hindo hodro Idndo. 

Chi mi thall ud an smuid mhor. 

That's Cille chriosd and that's the way it was made." 

That is pipers' Folk lore orally collected this day. 
A manuscript note in Gesto's book, is as follows : — 
"No. XX. Kilchrist, a tune played by the Macdonels of 
Glengary at the burning of the church of Kilchrist in 
Ross-shire." That is olden tradition recorded. 

For the information of those who do not know the 
ways of Scotch Highlanders, let me add that nearly all 
compositions of this class, which are played by pipers 
have histories. In many of them it is said that the 
hearers understood the new music played ; as though 
instrumental music were a language capable of trans- 
lation into words. There is hardly a tune from a la- 
ment to a reel that has not a few words fitted to the 
notes by which the tune is known. 

" Yonder I see the great smoke." 
is the " catchword " of Cille-Chriosd, or '' Christ church 


August 14, 1880. On tlio 1st of March, 1880, I 
sent a sample of Canniaireachd to my friend Mr 
W. M. Henncssy, who is one of tlie liest of Celtic 
scholars and especially well versed in the oldest known 
Irish writings. On the 13 th of August he writes from 
the Public Eccord Office, Dublin : — " The specimen of 
chorus, about which you ask me, is, in my opinion, 
some doggerel, devoid of meaning and quite untrans- 
latcable : like 

Bahheroo Didderoo '''' ''"' '" '" 

The oldest of these meaningless lines that I know is the 

chorus in the song composed in ridicule of Talbot, Duke 

of Tynemouth in the time of James II. 

LiUihullero bullan a la." 

This confirms my opinion that Canntaireachd is old 
folk lore reduced to writing by pipers in Scotland, 
oraUy collected in Skye, first printed in 1828, and still 
current amongst pipers. Gesto's book is unique as a 
system of articulate music so far as I have been able to 
find out. 


Au'jud l.'i, ISSii. 

Niddry Lodge, Kensiiigtuii, 

Loudon, ^^'. 

XX.— KILCHRIST.— Page 41, 






I hin - do, ho - dro, hin - do, ho - dro, hin - do, ho - dro, 
hin - da, ho - dra, hin - do, ho - dro lun - da chin-driiie, 

hin - do, ho - dro, liin - do, ho - dra, hin - do, ho - dro, hin - do, 

ho - dro, hin - do, ho - dro, hin - da chindrin, hin - do, ho - dro, 



hin - do, ho - dro, hin - da, hin - do, hiu - do chindrine 
Variation 1. -, -, 

I hin - da, hin - do, hin - do, ho - dro, hin - da, hin - do, 

hin- do, ho - dro, hin - do, hin - da hin - do chindrine, hin - da, hin -do, 



hin - do, ho - dro, hin - do, hin - do, hin - da, hin - da, hin - do, hin -da. 

hin - do, hin - drin, hin - da, hin - do, liin - do, lio - dro, hin - do, hin - da, 

DoiiJiliin/ of 'I'aridtidii 1. ,^«^" 

hin - do, chindrine, hin - da, hin - do, hin - do, hin - do, hin - da, hin - do, 


hindo, hiu-do, hin-do, liin-da, hin-do, hindrie, hin-da, hiu-do, liin-do, 

— 1-*«1 

hin-do, hin-do. hin-do, liin da, hin-da, hin-do, hin-da, bin do, hiiulrie, 

hin-da, hin-do, hin-do, hin-do, hiu-do, hin-da, hin-do, hin-drie. 
I'^ariation 2. 




I hin-nin in - da, hinniu-in - do, hin-nin in - do, ho - ho-dro, 

hiu-nin-in - do, hin-niu-in - da, hinnin-in - do, hie - hie - drie, 





3|— jj— g— »- 


-0 \-9 •- 

hin-ninin - da, hin-nin in - do, bin niu-in - do, ho -ho-dro, 

-5-^-9— 3— S- 

± i-e—s— ^ 


hinnin-in ■ do, hin-nin-in - do, hin-nin-in - da, hiu-nin in 


iE^=^= l-- ^jzi^zEj-^ — I --■ 


hin nln-in - do, hin-nin in - da, bin nin in - do, Lie lie drin. 
DnuhlbH/.^^^JL^ ^,._L-^ ^,^J2_^ ^,_2_^ 

I hinnin-in - da, hin-nin-in - do, hin nin-in do, hin nin-in - do. 

hin-!;:n in - do, hin-nin-in - da, hin-niu-in - do, hin dir-in -, 

g5|E^z:^"i=p=^g-gZ^EgzE ji g Ei=:"^=l F|£g=^EE^ 

hin-nin-in - da, hin-niu in - do, hin-nin-in - do, hin nin-iu do. 


-— ^g<— 9— c— i i^^^^ — * I ^ 

hiu-nin-in - do, hin-uin in - do, hiuniu in - da, hin-nin in - da, 


2 &-•—«—•- 

hiu-nin-in - do, hin-nin-in - da, hin-nin in - do, hin-dir-iii - di 

hin-nin in - da, hin-nin-in ■ do, hin-nin-in - do, hin-nin-in ■ 




hin-nin in - do, hin-ninin - da, hin-nin-in - do, hin-dir in - die. 


I hin-dar-ir - i - chin, dor-ir - i - chin hin-dir-ir-ri hi - o - dro. 



hiu dor -ir - ichin, darir- i - chin liiodorir-ri hi - ie - drie, 

hindar-ir-i - chin, in-dor-ir-i -chin, hin-dor-ir-i hio - dro, 

(2 ■^^^_ w „f-'^f — -rf~f'-f^ 

,_e_ti « ^_#_«^e- 



hin-d(ir-ir-i - chin, in dor-ir -i-chin, hin-dar-ir-i-chin, in-dar-ir-i-chin, 

:eze~« ib: 

hin-dor-ir i-chin, in -dor-ir- i-cliin, hindor-ir-i-chin hi - ie - drie, 


hin-dar-ir i-cliin, in-dor-ir-i-chiu, hiu dnr-ir-ri hio - dro, 
hin dor ir i-chin, in dar ir-i- chin, hin dor-ir-ri hi - ie - drie. 




I hin dar ir-ri, hieu-dor-ir ri, hin d(ir ir-ri, hin d(ir ir ri. 

g=az=:[::^z:za~a^z r : 


— u^^ — =^ ^^ — .^^±i_b^ 

hiu-dor-ir-ri, liin darir -ri, hiu- 
Take the rcuiaiudrr ol the " Sin; 


^ms — fr