This kind of 'bardic' music is known only through a few manuscript tablatures (found in the British museum or the National Library of Wales) like Robert Ap Huw & Wiliam Penllyn mss. (on-line facsimile) or the Iolo Morgannwg ms. There is still some argument on how these documents should be read. So the following tunes must be considered as mere interpretations or translations.

from Ap huw & Penllyn mss. Two pieces, inspired by Alan Stivell's playing, according to Arnold Dolmetsch's transcriptions. The first, Profiad y Botwm (about 35'') is from the Ap Huw ms., and the second (Caniad Llywelin ap Ifan ab y Gof, parts I, III, IX and 'Diwedd' V) is from the Penllyn ms.
Caniad Marwnad Ifan y Gof
The death song of Ifan the Smith, from the Penllyn ms. This piece is in the Bragod Gywair (bitter sweet) mode, which is an Aeolian scale with a raised 7th (Harmonic minor), hence its strange harmonies.
It is divided in 17 parts.




Piobaireachd - anglicised as pibroch, the word simply means 'piping' - is the classical music of the Highland bagpipe of Scotland, exclusive to unaccompanied solo piping. It is also called ceol mor, or 'big music'. A piobaireachd consists of a theme, called the 'urlar' (ground), followed by a series of very codified variations through which the "bare bones" notes of the ground are embellished with clusters of gracenotes of increasing complexity. As says Seumas MacNeill, piobaireachd "does not usually make an immediate appeal to the listener", but the enjoyment of understanding this unique musical form is worth the effort.

Pibroch o' Donald Dhu
(Piobaireachd Dhomnuill Duibh) A very widespread tune, played on a G.H. Boyd MIDI bagpipe by Craig Neumann, here restored to its correct pitch : a complete Pibroch (13') with urlar (or ground) and the leumluath, taorluath and crunluath variations. (Move along the tune, and wait for the drones to be reactivated)
The Unjust Incarceration
(An ceapadh Eucorach) A tune composed in 1705 by the blind piper Iain Dall MacKay of Gairloch (1656-1754). Complete Pibroch : urlar, specific variations in 3/4 at 4'40'', stereotyped variation (taorluath, no leumluath) at 9'20'', crunluath at 11'45'', then crunluath a-mach at 14', and back to the urlar at 16'.

The Lament for the Harp Tree
(Cumha Craoibh na'n Teud)
By courtesy of Claire Major
This long and grand piece is thought to be the oldest extant piobaireachd.
The structure of the piece is as follows : urlar, doubling at 5'33'', variation at 9'49'', variation doubling at 14'12'', taorluath at 17'15'', taorluath doubling at 19'55'', crunluath at 22'17'', crunluath doubling at 24'54'', and back to urlar at 26'50''

Kinlochmoidart Here is only the ground of the tune.

Patrick Og MacCrimmon Another lament composed by Iain Dall MacKay, after the death of his teacher in 1725 (ground and first variation)



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