Sources for Gaelic harp music

the lyra-viol manuscripts

A number of Scottish manuscripts for lyra-viol (bass viol or viola da gamba, played solo in a chordal style), with very similar contents, are known to have once existed. One exists; of the others, partial copies of some of them, and title lists, are known.

Blaikie 1683 ms

A Glasgow manuscript, once owned by Lady Katherine Boyd, daughter of William, first earl of Kilmarnock. Now lost.

Blaikie 1692 ms

now lost

These two books were both owned by the Paisley music collector Andrew Blaikie in 1820s. Their contents were described as very similar. Title lists were published e.g. by Dauney, Ancient Scotish Melodies, 1838. A selection of the tunes were copied from the 1692 ms, in tablature by A.J. Wighton in the early 19th century; his hand copy is in Dundee Central Library, ‘The Blaikie Manuscript’, no call number.

Leyden lyra-viol ms

Newcastle university library, ms Bell-White 46.

Written in the 1690s, 81 tunes in viol tablature, by the same hand as Margaret Sinkler’s ms. A hand copy by GF Graham, 1844, is in the NLS (ms5.2.19).

Early Gaelic harp tunes in these sources

King James's March to Ireland
Blaikie 1692 tune list (Dauney 1838 p.144) title only
Wighton ms copy ‘The Blaikie Manuscript’
Leyden lyra-viol ms

Duke of Lennox Port
Blaikie 1692 tune list (Dauney 1838 p.145) title only

Leyden lyra-viol ms

Simon Chadwick