Updated Jan 13th 2005
The Bagpipe in the Scottish Lowlands; Its Early History and Music, 1350-1715

To be published by White House Tune Books in  2005

Due to the uncovering of unexpected amounts of information, the publication date for this book has been put back. We hope to have it available by June, 2005



This publication will be available from
Julian Goodacre;
email julian
price £13 inc p&p

"The piper piped till's his wyme gripped,
And a' the rout began to revel;
The bride about the ring she skipped
Till out starts baith carl and cavel."

Julian's Home Page


The piper is from Threve Castle, Gallaway, late 15th century. The quote is from David Herd's Ancient Scottish Songs, publishes in 1769; the words are a Scots version of those in the Wallys poem, dated 1550, which was quoted in Robin's tune book.

Much of the material here represents a repertoire which may well have been common in both areas. Indeed, it may sometimes not be possible to decide which area is which, relationships between the two sides of the border being 'flexible' during the period of the 15th -18th centuries. What is more, a common popular culture spanned the whole of the area during this period, so that Hogamany was celebrated in Yorkshire and Robin Hood and morris dancers appeared in May Day celebrations in 16th and 17th century Scotland. St. Andrews University decided to abandon the 'old and useless' practice of bringing home summer on May Day in 1423!

Music is available for download in ABC format. For details of ABC and its use, visit Chris Walshaw's ABC page.

Tunes currently available are listed below: This page is being regularly updated.

NB: the method of selecting these tunes has been somewhat different to that described in 'Robin With the Bagpipe'. In the main I have attempted to find manuscript or printed versions of tunes to match those mentioned in literary sources. These tunes may not even be 'pipe 'tunes in the form they appear here. They are mostly popular songs and dances of their period (l6th to late 17th century). There is evidence (to be cited in the notes to the tunes as I prepare them) to suggest that pipers played these tunes. It's up to you to decide how this was done, though I have occasionally included my own suggestions.




Where BBBM is cited, many of the ABC transcriptions are form Bruce Olson's website:
The ones with the mistakes in(!) are probably mine.

May 2004. I have only just learnt of the death of Bruce Olson last autumn. I never met him, but am deeply indebted to his web-site, which stands as an impressive memorial to him.

Nov 2004. I have been unable to reach Bruce's site recently. I hope this does not mean it has gone for ever.

BBBM: British Broadside Ballads and their Music, C. M. Simpson
(1996) An essential reference for anyone interested in the origins of English Traditional music.

SKMS: Tunes from Skene Mandour MS (c.1625) are taken from Dauney:Ancient Scottish Music
Tunes from the following sources have been transcribed from Sources of Irish Traditional Music. ed. Fleischmann, 1996

AK : Atkinson MS (1694)
(Atkinson's MS is now available on line at the FARNE web site. (link to follow)
DLB Dallis Lute Book (1583)
BLB:Ballet Lute Book (1593)
MLB: Marsh Lute Book (1595)
DM2: Playford Dancing Master 2nd edition (1652)

STR:Tunes from the
Straloch Lute MS (1625) translated from Graham's Lute transcript, NLS MS Adv 5.2.18

GD: Greig Duncan Folk Song Collection
EPML: Elizabethan popular Music for the Lute
SMM: Scottish Musical Museum, Stenhouse's illustrations

Title Source ABC .gif
Brangill de Poictou Dauney cincpas.abc  
Calleno Casturame BLB calleno.abc  
Canaries I STR canaries.abc  
Canaries I STR canaries.abc  
Canaries I Dauney canaries.abc  
The Country Wedding BBBM weddingtunes.abc  
The Fourth Measure of the Buffens Dauney cincpas.abc  
Greensleeves BLB cincpas.abc  
Hey Jenny com Down to Jock SMM weddingtunes.abc  
Hunts Up BBBM huntsup.abc  
Hunts Up BBBM huntsup.abc  
Hunts Up EPML huntsup.abc  
Hunts Up AK huntsup.abc  
The Irish Hay DLB irishhay.abc  
John Come Kiss Me Now BBBM johnkiss.abc  
Jocky Wod a-Wooing Go Blaikie weddingtunes.abc  
Peg-a-Ramsay BBBM pegram.abc  
Peg-a-Ramsay BBBM pegram.abc  
Peg-a-Ramsay SMM #583 pegram.abc  
Put On Thy Shirt a Munday   putshirt.abc  
Robin Hood   robin.abc  
The Shaking of the Sheets BBBM sheets.abc  
Sincopas Dauney cincpas.abc  
Trenchmore I BBBM trench.abc  
Trenchmore II MLB trench.abc  
Trenchmore III DM2 trench.abc  
Up with Aley, Aley   weddingtunes.abc  
NOTES to the TUNES    
Hunts Up Four versions of the archetypal Town Piper's dawn chorus tune. The first two are from The British Broadsids Ballads and Their Music, via Bruce Olson. The third is included in a collection of Elizabethan Lute Music as being composed by John Whitfield. The last is from Dauney.
"Huntis vp" is named amongst a list of dances in The Complaynt of Scotland" (1549) but there are at least two tunes in the lute manuscripts entitled 'Scottish hunts Up', each completely different from the 'English Hunts Up'; either (or neither) of these may be the "St. Johnstone's Hunts Up" mentioned by Collinson.

The earliest reference to this tune I have found is in the poem 'The taill of the Cadger, the wolff and the foxe' by Robert Henryson, which probably dates from around 1477;

'The wolff wes war and gadaerit spedlie
The cadger sang 'hunits up, up, upon hie'

Peggy Ramsay

Robin's tune book contained a tune called Pigges of Rumsey. The title at least must be connected to these tunes. Peggy Ramsay must have been quite a woman. Burns wrote the following version of her song:
'N'er sae murky blew the night that drifted o'er the hill
but bonnie Peg-a-Ramsay gat grist to her mill"

see also Twelfth Night Act II sc. iii.71

Greensleeves Peggy Ramsey' is mentioned in a list of dances associated with dancing on the green dating from 1596. Also in this list are "Rogero" and "Green Sleeves", amongst others. For Rogero, see Merryweather's Tunes for English Bagpipes , James Merryweather, Dragonfly Music, 1989 (MWT)
Canaries Supposed to be a dance introduced from the Islands of that name via Spain. Referred to later as 'The Hay' (Playford Musicks Handmaid). A version for lyre viol tuned 'Bagpipe Way' is in the Leycester MS (1670).
Renaissance Dancers have described the dance as 'sex on a stick'
Calleno For more on this tune see Bruce Olson's site

Included in a list of tunes in the fiddler's repertoire in 1586 along with "Rogero", "La Lubber" (Lillibulero?Lullaby?) and "Robyn Hoode".
"In King Charles' time there has binn nothing but Trenchmore and the Cushion Dance"
(John Selden, 1640). For the Cushion Dance see MWT. Further versions to be added here soon.

two verses from
The West-Country Jigg: Or, A Trenchmore Galliard

"Four and twenty Lasses went over Trenchmore Lee,
And all of them were Mow'd, unless it were two or three
Then up with Aley, Aley, up with jumping Joan,
In came wanton Willy, and then the game went on.
Now with this jovial Wedding, I do conclude my Song,
And wish that Trenchmore Lasses, they may live merry and long:
Then up with Aley, Aley, up with the merry train:
We will all be merry, if e're we meet again.

For an enlightening consideration of the Irish origins of Trenchmore see Sean Donnelly's page at http://www.setdance.com/journal/trenchmore.html

This essay is a brilliant example of how a one-off event at court can introduce a tune or dance or even a whole new metaphor into the English tradition (if you think the theory about Trenchmore is correct, of course, which I'm inclined to do)

The Irish Hay

This and the following two tunes are mentioned by Chappell as being pipe tunes. (Popular Music of Olden Times)

another verse from
The West-Country Jigg: Or, A Trenchmore Galliard
(probably Chappell's source)

"The piper he struck up, and merrily he did play,
The shaking of the sheets and eke the Irish hay:
Then up with Aley, Aley, up with Priss and Prue;
In came wanton Willy, amongst the Jovial crew."


John Come Kiss Me Now

Named in 'A woman Killed with Kindness' (Heywood, 1603) in a list of 'downstairs' dances; others include "Sellinger's Round" (see MWT), "The Hay", "Put on your Smocke a Monday"

A parody of the words of this song appears in the 'Gude and Godlie Ballatis' printed in 1567, but which may date from earlier, so this is an old song.

HERD p206

JOHN, come kiss me now, now, now,
O JOHN, come kiss me now,
JOHN come kiss me by and by,
And maik nae mair ado

Some will court and compliment,
And make a great ado,
Some will make of their goodman,
And sae I will of you.

JOHN, come kiss etc

The Gude and Godlie Ballatis (1567); Saltire Society, 1957 edition #20
Johne, cum kis me now,
Johne, cum kis me now,
Johne, cum kis me by and by
And mak no moir adow.

The Lord thy God I am,
That John dois call ;
Johne reprentit man,
Be grace celestiall. etc

In his article on 'Music for A Handefull of pleasant delites (1584)', John Ward demonstrates how this tune is a re-working of the tune The Buffens  included in Arbeau's Orcheosographie. They are both 'variations' on the passamezzeo antico ground

The Shaking of the Sheets

BBBM also has a second version which is incoherent.

see note to The Irish Hay

Brangill of Poictu Several tunes with various versions of this title appear in 17th Century Scottish lute manuscripts.
The Complaynt of Scotland (1549) includes 'braulis, branglis and bouffons' in its list of dances, which seems to suggest a difference between a 'brangill de poictu' and a bransle from the same place, which seems unlikely. Mabel Dolmetsch, writing in the early 20the century, reported that the 'braill' was then still being danced in Sutherland, in the far north of Scotland. She also points out that Straloch and Skene give common timme tunes, whereas the B. de Poictou requires triple time music. Their tunes, however, fit the B. d'Ecosse perfectly.

'cinquepas' is mentioned in a list of dances in 'Much Ado About Nothing', Act II
Several early MSS have versions of these distinctive tunes, with variants of the title, including my favourite 'sinkpas'

The Buffens

See notes above for Brangill de Poictou and John come kiss me now.
Robin 's tune book has two measures for the buffens, this fourth measure is strikingly similar to the 'Bransle d'Official' (aka 'Ding Dong merrily on High'. See MWT). I do not yet know of a third measure.

Up with Aley, Aley

see note to The Irish Hay

Hey Jenny Com Down to Jock

'The sprightly tune is the original melody of the old and very humorous ballad inserted in the Bannatyne MS, finished in the year 1568, entitled 'Rob's jock'...[this song] is more modern by at least half a century" (note to SMM #167. Add Ill. p 160)

This song and the one above are two of a considerable collection of wooing/wedding songs, many of which feature pipers, and between which there is a remarkable continuity of words. I hope to post an article describing these songs on this page when I've sorted it out!

In the meantime, words are available for
Herd's Country Wedding,
Fy let us a' to the Bridal
The Scottish Contract, or, A Marriage agreement betwixt wanton Willy and mincing Meggy.
Jockie sale have our jenny hope I (the full text of Wallis' poem, c. 1565)

and a bunch of related tunes are included in Wedding tunes

The Country Wedding A version of the Bridal song tune printed with English Broadside versions of the words.
Jocky wod a wooing Go

This seems to be the most likely tune to the song "Jockye shalle have our jenye hope I" which I quoted from in Robin's book. {However, see note to "Hey Jenny com down to Jock".)

The tune is included in the Blaikie MS, apparently date 1692, though this has been questioned, and may be of a later date. The only surviving version of the MS is now in the Wighton Collection in Dundee Public Library, but the viol tablature for this tune is corrupt and I have only been able to reconstruct it by referring to the song and to the later versions of the 'Hey Jenny Come Down' tunes. There is another version, entitled 'Jenny Come down to Jock in the Henry Atkinson manuscript, dated 1694, but this is equally unintelligble.

Bruce Olson's site has all the verses to this long poem, the first part of which discusses mostly the food which will need to be provided for the wedding feast. However, verses which I did not have when Robin went to press are as follows:

"Then Jocky, when dynner was done,
Begane hyme selffe to advance,
And sayd, "let pypar pype up sone, [soon
For, be our Lord, I wyll go dance.

Jocky took Jenny faste be the hand;
Then pypar lafte the trace;
He playd so myryly the cold not stand [they could
But the dansyd all apace.

The pyper pypte tyll his bally grypte,
And the rowte began to revell;
With that lowde myrth he browth many forth,
Then upstart carll and kevel.

"Now play us a horn pype," Jacky can say;
Then todle lowdle the pyper dyd playe.
Harry Sprig, Harry Spryg, Mawde my doughtare,
Thomas my sone, and Jone cum after.

Wylkyn and Malkyn and Marryon be nam,
Lettes all kepe the strock in the peane of shame.
Torn about, Robyn; let Besse stand asyde;
"Now smyt up, mynstrell," the women cryde.

The pyper playd with his fynggars and thommes;
Play thick and short, mynstrell; my mothar commis.

"I wyl dance,' said one "and I for the wars;
Dance we, dance we, dance we!"
"Heighe!" quoth Hogkyne,
"gyrd byth ars, Letts dance all for companye."

The full text is now available on this site: Jockie sale have our jenny hope I

Put on Thy Shirt a Munday A Border tune mentioned in early 17th Century dance lists (see John Come Kiss Me Now. It seems to refer to the 'Wappenschaw' or muster of fighting men of a district, the shirt being of chain mail (see Dauney). This tune is one of the earliet examples of the musical format knwon as 'The Scots Measure', later to become the standard stage-dance 4/4 Hornpipe .
Robin Hood At last, a selection of Robin Hood tunes. The name 'Robin Hude' often appears in lists of Scottish and English dances from the mid-1500's onwards, but it is not clear which tune or tunes were implied, but perhaps the Cambridge Univ. MS tune is the most likely candidate from those here.