Piobaireachd – the classical music of the Highland Bagpipe – attracted the life-long interest of two men whose roots were in Argyll. Both are acknowledged as eminent authorities on the music. Both were lawyers, Archibald having been a judge in India and James having practised at the English Bar. Both subsequently taught Law at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Both were leading members of The Piobaireachd Society, Archibald the Editor of its Books and compiler of The Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor, and James the editor of Sidelights on the Kilberry Book, based on his father’s notes on tunes.
Their letters on piping, and on piobaireachd in particular, form a valuable record of their insights and opinions. Excerpts from their letters, collected in this book, will interest and inform players and other students of the music.
Many of their views are as relevant today as when the letters were written. There are also letters of John Macdonald of Inverness, and letters to Robert U. Brown, that lend a different perspective to the correspondence.
Mr McRae hopes that this book will convey a deeper understanding of piobaireachd and will encourage its playing and teaching with due regard to the precepts contained in the Campbells’ letters.