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Roderick D. Cannon's

A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music

Published by

John Donald Publishers Ltd
Edinburgh 1980

(Out of Print)

An Update by Geoff Hore



Home ~ Introduction ~ Arrangement of Material

Union Pipes ~ Northumbrian Pipes ~ Scots Highland Pipes ~ Irish Warpipes and Brien Boru Pipes

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Until his recent retirement Dr Roderick Cannon (BSc, DPhil, DSc) was a Reader in Chemistry at the University of East Anglia, Norwich and has written many books on the subject. He is also a piper and has spent many thousands of hours researching and writing a number of books about the history of bagpipes and its music.
    One of the more notable is A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music which he started researching in 1961 and over the next thirteen years visited many libraries and private collections in United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Poland and the United States of America.
    John Donald Publishers Ltd published the book in 1980 and it immediately became recognised amongst collectors as their ‘Bible’; at last they had detailed knowledge of what was out there. The accuracy of the information in this book is a credit to the author. Even now with the advantage of hindsight there are few errors. The biggest problem for Cannon was locating all editions of all books and even now over thirty years later there are still many to be found.
    The writer’s collecting spans more than 40 years but it was in the late 1980s that it became a serious pursuit. Two significant incidents occurred that changed collecting from a mere hobby and transformed it to something akin to the ‘thrill of the chase’. The first was in 1993 when the Bibliography was purchased and the second was in 1997 when a modem was smuggled into the house and connected to the Internet.
    The Internet is a vast resource. Many books in the writer’s collection have been located on various websites worldwide. There is also a huge amount of information that steers the researcher along the correct path. Scams and fraudulent operators do exist on the web but with a little due diligence it is possible to sort these out. In all the writer’s dealings he has only been caught out once and that is because he did not read the description properly.
    The Bibliography was such a mine of useful information that it was read from cover-to-cover three times during the first the month after purchase. It made the writer aware his collecting was in its infancy and there were many dozens of books yet to be acquired. However, the most important aspect of its publication was that it enabled many collectors worldwide to determine they had editions of books Cannon did not locate during his research.
    During his research Cannon was aware of many gaps and they are spelt out throughout the Bibliography. Since its publication many people have made previously unknown editions available to him for further research and the results have been published in piping magazines and on the Internet. These will be listed throughout this update.   
    The writer first met Cannon at Aviemore at the Northern Meeting in 2006 and it was there over a beer and a whisky that the offer was made to write this update. Once back in New Zealand with the euphoria of the occasion worn off the writer realised the monster he had taken on.
    Simplistically, there are two parts to this project. Firstly, to describe newly discovered books published prior to 1974 (the date when Cannon completed his research) that were not recorded in the Bibliography. The second is to make a comprehensive list of all those books published since that research was completed.
    It might be imagined that this is a relatively simple task but be assured it is not. A bibliographer can only write about books that he or she actually locates and we can make assumptions or educated guesses in some cases but until the original book is located we will never be sure. The network of collectors world wide is huge and slowly we are getting the full picture.
    By far the majority of books published emanate from Scotland, Ireland and England but since the availability of the personal computer there has been a veritable deluge of new books. Anywhere in the world where the bagpipes are played there are people who have produced books. The writer has books from New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, South Africa, India, France and Germany. No doubt there are others.
    When Cannon researched the Bibliography he had very clear objectives and these are summed up in the first paragraph of his original Preface:

This is a descriptive bibliography of bagpipe music. My aim in compiling it has been to identify and locate all the music printed for each type of bagpipe played in the British Isles, to distinguish the various editions of each book, to ascertain dates and authorship, and to collect together any background information which might be of interest either to players or to music historians.

    There is little doubt that he has achieved his aim and pipers have used this book to identify music resources, and their whereabouts, in order to increase their repertoire. Moreover, the number of times the Bibliography is quoted in learned research indicates its value to those people involved in more academic pursuits.
    The major difference between Cannon’s Bibliography and this update is that it will not be produced in book form. The time may come when this may happen but that will be when we have a complete picture. In the mean time it will be published in this website.
    Users will be encouraged to assist by providing additional information they may have; the website will be updated accordingly. With the international interest in this project it is believed that we will come fairly close to getting a complete picture of the publication histories of all the books.
    The format used in the Bibliography lists the books for the Union Pipes, Northumbrian bagpipes, Scots Highland pipes and the Irish Warpipes and Brien Boru Pipes in separate chapters. Within these chapters all known books are listed in chronological date order with the oldest known first.
    Each book, or series of books, are identified by a three figured number starting at 101 for the Union Pipes, 201 for the Northumbrian, 301 Scots Highland Bagpipe and 501 for the Irish War and Brien Boru pipes. For example, William Gunn’s Caledonian Repository and all the different editions are no 311. Likewise, David Glen’s 17 Part Collection are all listed under no 316.
    It will be noted that Cannon has left only 200 numbers for the Highland Bagpipe (301-500). In the mid 1970s it was impossible to foresee the huge number of new books that were about to be published. When the number passes 500, the numbers 501-600 will be retained for the Irish War and Brien Boru pipes and the numbers 601 and on will be used for Highland bagpipes. Since the Bibliography was published an old bagpipe has been resurrected. The cauld wind pipes are now flourishing and a series of books of music have been published. These will be included in this update.
    Along side each of the identifying numbers is the name of the compiler and the date when it was first published. Below this is the edition number accompanied by a detailed description of the title-page, a coded list of the pages that make up the book, where this particular edition can be located and other supporting information.
    Cannon’s basic format will be retained. (It is advised to read the page ‘Arrangement of Material’ as this gives a full description of what he was trying to accomplish.) If the original of any particular edition is available then the written description of the title-page will be replaced by a scanned image. All the comments from the original Bibliography will be retained, providing they are still relevant.
    Cannon’s original comments will be in black font and any additional notes will be in dark blue. In most cases the edition numbers identified by Cannon have been retained but occasionally these will change as a result of finding hitherto unknown editions. One such book is 311 Caledonian Repository of Music adapted for the Bagpipes by William Gunn.
    In the original Bibliography symbols were used to identify the various libraries but in this update the library details will be given in full.
    Throughout the use of the word ‘copy’ when referring to a book will be limited. In days before the photocopier one could say they had a ‘copy of a book’ and this was synonymous with having an original. Nowadays to use the word ‘copy’ could easily be construed by the reader as meaning a photocopy. Therefore, whenever there is doubt the text will specify an original or a photocopy.
    It is obvious that as new information comes in the pages on the website will need to be updated and this will be done. However, if people use this information as intended and it is quoted in any document then it is important that at a later date anyone is able to identify which edition of a particular page is being quoted. Therefore at the bottom of each page will be something like ‘Rev 00, 28 August 2008’. The revision number will change as each page is revised and the date will be when it was published on the website. Each revision will remain on the website for future reference.
    The reader is encouraged to contact the writer (email address below) with any additional information that can help clarify or add to this update. Full credit will be given to any person who provides this information.
    The writer would like to take the opportunity to thank a number of people for their assistance in preparing this update. Firstly, Roderick Cannon, without whose help and assistance this project would not have even been started. Allan Cameron of Auckland for his patronage 15 years ago when editor of the New Zealand Pipe Band magazine got the writer started. Also for his tolerance for receiving phone calls just to be used as a ‘sounding board’. To Jeannie Campbell of the College of Piping Museum, Glasgow for her assistance in providing photocopies of various material. Vicki and Renny McLeod of Unicorn Ltd of Alabama, USA for supplying books to supplement the writer’s collection. Allan Speedy of Auckland who is a genius and the webmaster for this project. To Iain Millington, a fellow collector and bibliophile in Nova Scotia as a source of knowledge on many Canadian and United States publications. Also a supplier of many of these books. John Recknagel of Georgia, USA for help in locating obscure books.

Geoff Hore
5 Graham Street
One Tree Point
Ruakaka 0118
New Zealand
28 August 2008



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