Based on documented history and insights of local performers looking back on a lifetime of music making, Joshua Dickson examines the role of piping and pipers within the wider framework of Hebridean custom and how it has changed over the course of time.
By considering historical and cultural contexts such as the patronage of the old Clanranald aristocracy, the grass-roots traditions of song, story and dance and the legacy of ’improved’ notions of transmissions and performance in the piping world, a picture emerges of dynamic musical tradition which has adapted and survived through centuries of sweeping social change.
Overall, this book is a record of the history and aesthetics of the Great Highland bagpipe in the southern Outer Hebrides from as much as the internal Gaelic perspective as it is possible for an outsider to comprehend. Interviews with local sources were conducted in Gaelic and consideration is given to the context of traditional Gaelic social culture. It therefore fills a gap in Scottish ethnology and piping history often neglected through a lack of impetus among Gaelic-speaking scholars.
Joshua Dickson was born in Alaska and came to Scotland to study at Aberdeen University. He completed a PhD in Scottish ethnology at Edinburgh University in 2001 and currently works at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.