Sources for Gaelic harp music

MacFarlane manuscript

National Library of Scotland ms.2084 & 2085

A set of three handsome volumes written for Walter McFarlan by David Young c.1740, containing both Lowland and Highland Scottish music set for fiddle and written as a single melody line. Vol. 1 is missing. Volume 3 contains a number of Gaelic harp tunes. Some of them have variation sets though it is not clear if these were composed by Young, or are fiddle sets, or may even be versions of the older Gaelic harp variation style.

In 2013, Ronald MacDonald made an online edition of volume 2.

Gaelic harp tunes in this source

This listing is not complete. There are other Gaelic titles and some interesting fiddle ceol mor.

Vol 2

p. (no.112) Gray Steel: this is a version of The Battle of Harlaw. Other versions in Dow, etc.

Vol 3

p. 20-21 Cumh Easpuic Earra-ghaoidheal
Other versions: A related but different tune with the same title is in Simon Fraser and Dow.
Recommended recordings: Simon Chadwick (early Gaelic harp): Clàrsach na Bànrighe; Bonnie Rideout (fiddle): Scotland’s Fiddle Piobaireachd
Transcriptions: A facsimile of vol. 3 pp. 20-21, Cumh Easpuic Earra-ghaeidheal (Lament for the Bishop of Argyll) is given in Sanger & Kinnaird, Tree of Strings, Kinmor 1992, pp187-8. Digital settings of the tune are available from Jack Campin's website

p. 80-81 Failte na miosg
Other versions: Oswald: ; Maclean-Clephane:

p. 96-97 The Royal Lament (more info...)
Other versions: Oswald bk8 p.36: The Royall Lament; Simon Fraser:

p.142-3 Da mihi Manum (more info...)
Other versions: This is a baroque violin style interpretation of the 17th century set of Da Mihi Manum which appears in Wemyss. Other, similar baroque (fiddle?) variants appears in Dow and Balcarres. The somewhat different standard 18th century version of Da Mihi Manum appears in Neal, Oswald, Thumoth, & Bunting as well as many other 18th century Irish and Scottish mss and printed books.

Simon Chadwick