Pipe Band sheet music
The Old Players on 78
Downloads below are free of chargeHere are some recordings taken from old 78 records. While they give us insight into how the great players played early in the last century, speculation abounds about the tempos, which are sometimes astonishingly quick. I once listened in on a conversation between Captain John MacLellan and John Wilson where they sadly shook there heads as they recalled how Willie Ross had "gone fast" in his latter years. However, on Ross's recordings made as early as 1909 we hear competition marches played at a tempo reserved today for Grade 1 bands.
JOHN WILSON (1906-1979)
John Wilson was one of the leading pipers of the 1930s in Scotland. He emigrated to Canada in 1948, where he became the leading piping figure in Ontario for 30 years. His competitive and teaching record is all the more remarkable given that he lost most of the thumb and two fingers of his left hand as an 11-year-old when he found and detonated a small explosive device.
The year 1936 was his best and he was clearly the best competitive piper in Scotland that season. That year he made a series of recordings for Beltona. The recordings below were digitized from John's own copies of the 78s, kindly provided by his widow, Margaret.
The playing is fast, but Margaret has told me that listening to those recordings many years later, John felt certain that he had not played that quickly. Yet recordings by other great pipers of the era display a similar quickness of tempo.
Click on the performer's name to hear the recording.plays the Ground of the "Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon, " 1927.