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‘Old Irish Bagpipe’: the conventional style of labelling for common-stock and bellows- blown instruments in Scottish museums. This pastoral pipe from the Duncan Fraser Collection was made in London or Edinburgh, early-18th century.

Illustrations © National Museums Scotland

The opening talk at the Collogue, given by Hugh Cheape, principal curator and head of the Scottish Material Culture Research Centre, National Museums Scotland.

TO HAVE the platform at the LBPS Collogue is for me a privilege and an honour. It is a privilege because of having the opportunity of speaking to such a knowledgeable and in- formed audience whose interest in pipes and piping must equal and certainly exceed my own. It is an honour because it offers me an occasion to repay your enthusiasm, generosity of spirit and the incalculable amount of work achieved within our subject area through the years.

I have entitled this talk “A National Collection for a National Instrument”. This is a phrase that has occurred to me in the last year or two and I shall explain the inspiration in due course. In the first place it is my contention that a “national collection of the national inst-


-rument”, has not existed before our time. There are other collections of bagpipes and it might seem unfair on them to make a special case for the National Museums of Scotland; there is for example the very notable collection in the College of Piping - and here I would like to pay tribute to the dedication and hard work of Jeannie Campbell in her support of the College of Piping’s Museum. A distinction lies in the fact that the material in the National Museums is in the public domain, it belongs to the nation and the nation may reasonably expect to have access to it. The status therefore is fixed and secure for all time.

The concept of “the national instrument” is significant for us, to be considered as a remark- able success story or over-blown national conceit, or something in between on the spectrum between respect and disdain. Do we know when the concept first appeared or appears in print? This quite specific reference to “the national instrument” appears for example in the introductory essay to Donald MacDonald’s Collection of the Ancient Martial Music of Cale- donia of about 1819, in his brave if curious statement about the bagpipe, where he says: “The Bagpipe is, perhaps, the only national instrument in Europe.”

He goes on to say: “Every other is peculiar to many countries, but the Bagpipe to Scotland alone”, suggesting that instruments such as the violin belong to many countries and cultures, but he makes the claim for Scotland that the bagpipe is perhaps the only national instrument in Europe; this is an interesting statement in so far as it appears to ignore piping traditions in other parts, and might have been calculated to help raise the stakes for his own interests and investment in his book (which we now know was considerable).

The concept therefore of the national instrument is a curious one. It must have grown out of contemporary politics and cultural change, and the changing fortunes for example of High- land culture following the devastation of Culloden in 1746, and the consequent involvement of Highland soldiers in the Seven Years’ War, then the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars. The size of that involvement is documented by David Stewart of Garth in his Sketches of the Character, Manners and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland published in 1821.

Proportionately high numbers of Highland soldiers were involved and culturally this was the first manifestation of “global war” for a country like Scotland and for the embattled culture of Gaeldom. This had a powerful cultural and political effect, and following the publication of the Ossian poetry, Europe had high expectations of the Highlands. The Great Highland Bagpipe, in a new and more universal role, seemed to answer a need and then became the focus of attention as one prominent element of an ancient culture.

Many could contribute to the discussions about the Highland bagpipe, its status, antiquity and origins. Angus MacKay, not surprisingly, could comment in 1838 in his Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd on the history of the bagpipe: “The Pipe is one of the most ancient instruments of music.” he claimed, citing the assumption that it was played by the Greeks and the Romans, but his conclusion is more realistic and rationalised than others of his contemporaries:


“But whether the Gael derived the instrument from others, or invented it themselves, it seems impossible to ascertain, and the question is not perhaps of great importance. This much is incontestable, however simple it may have originally appeared, it has been brought by the Highlanders to the utmost perfection; and its form and construction are as peculiarly their own, as the music to which it is so well calculated to give proper effect.”

This is an important conclusion on the origins of the Great Highland Bagpipe, given the volume of speculation that this still inspires. The search for explanation and definition of material phenomena was a by-product of the Enlightenment and the contemporary world was hungry for theory and speculation. Classical sources supplied a respectable pedigree but, as Angus Mackay recognised, the discussion of Greek and Roman bagpipes failed to explain the phenomenon of his own day.

Returning to the theme of the “national collection”, I would contend that the bagpipe has been and still is poorly represented in museum collections and generally inadequately interpreted. I would make an emphatic exception to this sweeping comment for the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle (originally in the Black Gate in Newcastle and later in the Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum) and fulsomely documented by William Cox, and the international piping collection in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, documented by Anthony Baines and published in his monograph in 1960.

In the case of the National Museums, there were one or two instruments on display in the 1960s and 1970s but with minimal information. When I was first introduced to this issue, a lack of information or interpretation was evident also in other museum collections with musical instruments such as, say, the very good collection in the Museum at Lodge in Hawick. In Scotland we were completely unengaged with the history of the bagpipe, and certainly with the material record.

Apart from little or no critical assessment of how the bagpipe had evolved and changed, labelling and museum records were further impoverished by lack of information on prove- nance. For example, typical of museum labels and museum records would be the attribution “old Irish bagpipes”, ignoring the considerable native tradition and seldom making any significant points about the Lowland pipes or “common stock” instruments. It could be very frustrating for those who might be taking an interest in this subject.

The discovery of different levels or depths of piping history and of a national collection has been something of a personal odyssey. In 1976, shortly after I joined the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, we were asked to assemble a small exhibition for the Edinburgh Festival; we called it “Pipes, Harps and Fiddles”. Our budget was in the region of £30. The work for this posed a question that our Director, Dr Robert Stevenson, and I had begun to discuss, which was why the bagpipe was poorly represented in the National Museum, and he encouraged me to have a look at what there was in the collections - in fact, about two dozen items - and report back to him.


When I did this and tried to provide some explanation of this material, I realised that I could not readily understand what I was looking at. My memory suggests that I was met every- where by this label “Old Irish Bagpipe”, at least on everything that had bellows. I thought to myself: “There’s something wrong

here”. I did not know at the time of Anthony Baines’ book. While I was trying to find sources for investigating the history and material culture of piping in Scotland, I had never seen a reference to Baines’ Bagpipe in the available Scot- tish literature on piping, and the book was a chance discovery on the shelves of our library after we had done the exhibition in 1976. When I opened his work, I discovered that it was a goldmine of information and put the subject into

the wider context of Europe, North Africa and the Near East. I began to follow his explana- tions and lines of reasoning in trying to interpret old instruments. The literature of piping in Scotland seemed not to recognise or to take any real account of a self-evident variety within the tradition or its fundamental universality. There was so little critical knowledge about piping in Scotland that we were unable or unready to recognise that a bagpipe might be anything other than an “Old Irish Bagpipe” or a Great Highland Bagpipe. We were in denial.

In reporting back to my Director, a classical archaeologist whose passion was the Art Nouveau (surely a wonderfully eclectic mix), I had to admit that I could not “read” this museum piping material but could only, at this stage, make some poorly informed guesses and so he suggested that I have a look in other museums and give him more of an account of this topic. I trawled round Scottish museums and found the same thing - apparently random collections, with frustratingly poorly provenanced odds and ends in display cases and cupboards. There seemed to be nothing consistent, certainly nothing coherent, in the material culture record to tell us some of the story of piping in Scotland or elsewhere. Dr Stevenson was curious that there was no collection of bagpipes in Scotland given presump- tions of this being the national instrument, but, with the Black Gate and Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle collection, he regarded it as a mishap and a sin of omission that the only bagpipe museum in the United Kingdom might be in England!

We began in a small way by Dr Stevenson encouraging me to remedy this situation of Scottish museum collections and to try to fill a perceived gap. This was not a part of my ‘job description’ and the National Museum never considered itself to be in a position to employ a musicologist which was considered to be more clearly within the professional area of Edinburgh University, between the School of Scottish Studies, the Department of Music and the University’s Collection of Historic Musical Instruments.


We felt, however, that the area of research, study and collection of bagpipes was not being pursued or the bagpipe perhaps not being greatly valued in Scotland beyond its commodifi- cation as tourism accessory. This, as we saw it, proper and patriotic theme was therefore to be developed pianissimo.

The next landmark was 1979 with the first Edinburgh Folk Festival, out of which came the formation of the Lowland & Border Pipers’ Society. Just for the record, my memory of this - though oral tradition may be untrustworthy - is that at the 1979 Folk Festival, I met Gordon Mooney and we then met up with Mike Rowan, and following several sessions in pubs and cafes, we put out a “circular” in the form of a short “taster” essay in John MacLellan’s International Piper in 1981 with the basic ideas for a “Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society” (International Piper, Volume 3, Part 12, page 6). There was a conference and lecture series accompanying the Folk Festival and I gave a paper called “The Pipes and Folk Music” which offered some ideas on the history of piping in Scotland. These seemed to be unconventional in terms of the conventional wisdom of the 1970s and drew critical comment that, for example, pipe music was not “folk music”.

I listened carefully to criticism but felt that it had little to offer. I shrugged my shoulders and carried on. For me the next landmark was 1983 when the National Museum acquired the Ross and Glen Collection from the family and later the “sweepings” of Glen’s bagpipe shop in Edinburgh’s Lawnmarket following its closure. This lifted our collection from about two dozen items, between bagpipes, chanters and drone sections, to more than a thousand items. The shop, although it had been cleared of the complete instruments was full of marvellous and odd fragments, pieces of pipes, pipe-making tools and related material. These were items that we paid generously for, but it was important to make a statement about how we valued the material. My then Director, Alexander Fenton, shared my enthusi- asm for the Ross-Glenn Collection and approved the purchase. At the time, this was the largest single piece of expenditure on piping that I had come across, although actually it was quite modest if we take the long view. The task of bringing this material into the national collections was a difficult one, given the scarcity of knowledge, and it has only been in the last year or two that I have finally registered and properly documented all these items from the Ross-Glen Collection in their proper categories and then numbered them all.

Some really outstanding instruments appeared, for example a beautifully preserved Hugh Robertson Union Pipe in absolutely perfect condition from the, I presume, 1780s, and Glen’s own trademark which was the set of brass Highland bagpipes of about 1860 which for years used to hang in the shop window in the Lawnmarket. Both these sets of pipes are on display in Glasgow in the Museum in the National Piping Centre. It was not expected when we were asked to tender for the Ross-Glen Collection that we would be particularly interested in the fragments, but be more likely as a national museum to sweep up the complete instruments and leave the fragments aside. I was conscious that I knew so little about the whole picture that I was very anxious to secure absolutely everything that was available, down to more or less the dust and offcuts from the floor.


Lurking here might be all species of forensic evidence. I stressed to my superiors that in order to begin a thorough investigation of this subject and to put the study of the bagpipe in Scotland on to serious musicological footing, we should give equal status to every single item that that came out of Glen’s shop, whether fragment or complete instrument. There


were many examples, as it turned out, of fragments such as very battered common stocks or drone joints or cracked and discarded chanters that supplied often unique information. Such items arguably could offer more vital information than the spectacular Thomas Glen set of brass pipes.

To move on, the next landmark was in 1985, with the amalgamation of the Edinburgh “nationals”, the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland in Queen Street with the Royal Scottish Museum in Chambers Street. This effectively formed a sort of critical mass of material, taking account also of sets of pipes in the Scottish United Services Museum which


Fragments such as very battered common stocks or drone joints or cracked and discarded chanters supplied often unique information


was included in the new museum combination. The Royal Scottish Museum, for example, housed the Dr Duncan Fraser Collection. I did not know this material in any real detail and had never seen it apart from guessing that the instruments in the collection were as illustrated in Duncan Fraser’s book, Some Reminiscences and the Bagpipe of 1907. In real terms the core of a “national collection” of a national instrument’ was created from the two dozen items in the National Museum of Antiquities, the Ross-Glen Collection, and then the Duncan Fraser Collection, creating a critical mass for analysis and interpretation and extending the scope of the collection, by virtue of Duncan Fraser’s collecting interests, to most countries of Europe and further afield.

In the aftermath of amalgamation, fresh and exciting priorities for the national collections kept the staff busy on a broad front, raising the national and international profile of the new organisation and looking for public support for the concept of a new home for the Scottish collections. We were Charged with responsibilities under the terms of the Heritage (Scotland) Act of 1985 for strengthening the Scottish collections and, with the help of Tony Bingham in London, we were able to make some important purchases for the piping collections.

In 1995 the initiative to fund a new “college of piping” included the proposal that there should be a “Museum of Piping” within it. The initial inspiration came from the collection formed by Seumas MacNeill in the College of Piping, to which could be added items from the National Museums to form a new and bigger “Museum of Piping” for Scotland. With a severing of the ways between directors and funders of the new enterprise about 1993, we now have the College of Piping and the National Piping Centre, and each with a museum and displays of historical instruments. Advantages have accrued from two specialist displays as a focus of collection and research although more benefit might be said to accrue to the nation were the two collections to be very much more than half a mile from each


other in the Central Belt.

In the course of the 1990s we were principally engaged in building the new Museum of Scotland adjacent to the Royal Museum in Edinburgh. This was the expected outcome of the amalgamation of the two national museums in 1985, in an extension of the existing buildings in Chambers Street to house the Scottish collections. Within a curatorial team working with designers, we had a broad canvas of all the Scottish collections and most of Scottish history and prehistory. I was involved in displays for the “Dark Ages”, the Lordship of the Isles, the early Kingdom of the Scots, the Reformation, the Covenanting period and the Civil Wars, the Union and early 18th century, and the church in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The piping collection in this period had to remain in the background apart from the relatively brief exercise of creating a Museum of Piping in the National Piping Centre in 1995-6, but in 2003 we were offered funding by SCRAN, the website providers of Scottish material, to assemble a small database. We suggested that piping could provide an interest- ing site and that this should draw on the National Museums’ collection to give coherence and context. The work was done in a three-month period under great pressure from other public sector tasks and the database which we assembled is available on SCRAN under Resources for Learning Scotland.

In discussion with collections management colleagues I explored the feasibility of a website dedicated to piping on the National Museums’ website. This has not come to fruition although there is reasonable expectation that piping might be represented here, particularly within the Online Museum initiative which seeks to create virtual displays for educational purposes.

Having worked intensively for a short period in 2003 to put together the Resources for Learning Scotland data-base, I was in the same year asked to talk to the American Musical Instrument Society [AMIS] who were holding their Annual Conference in the UK, joining up with the Galpin Society and moving from Oxford to London and then on to Edinburgh. The members of AMIS are musicologists, collecting musical instruments and studying the history and the science of music in all its aspects. I was asked to give a paper on bagpipes in the context of museums. I relished the opportunity of trying to say something meaningful about the material culture of piping, in other words, about the museum record as I saw it. With the example of Anthony Baines’ Pitt Rivers Museum monograph, I wanted to say something coherent and meaningful about the material culture of piping from the point of view of Scotland. It could be an interesting story and, for a largely American audience, I decided on the title “A National Collection of a National Instrument”, drawing on the inspiration of Donald MacDonald’s text of 1819. I talked about the growth of a piping col- lection in the National Museum since the first accession in 1872 and the impulses and dy- namic (or otherwise) of museum musicology since the late-nineteenth century. There was a good response to the talk and I decided that the title offered a useful strap-line which would benefit from repetition and could usefully but painlessly lodge in minds and memories.


The talk to AMIS posed questions about the significance and value of collections of musical instruments such as the bag- pipe, and a potential significance for Scotland which holds the instrument so dear. Could a bagpipe collection in Scot- land, for example, answer questions posed by the perceived status of the bag- pipe in Scotland today, that is, as the “national instrument”? Given that the bagpipe exists in most parts of the world, albeit in different shapes and forms, would it be possible to build some ideas on available evidence about when and where the bagpipe emerges and how the components might have been added since as has been suggested there could never have been a single begetter of such an instrument as the bagpipe. There is always the difficult question of who might have “invented” it and when and where, a question to which museums are expected to offer an answer. The question of origins can, of course, be intriguing and is one for which the public expects a museum to provide answers.

Archaeology has little to tell us so far, at least in Scotland, and the iconography of the Pictish symbol stones is still under rigorous scrutiny. On the other hand, accounts of what might have existed in prehistoric times do not supply much of an explanation of piping today, as Angus



(Above) Watercolour painting of the ‘1409 Pipes’ by James Drummond (1817-1877), one of a set of artworks bequeathed to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland following the death of the artist. This was published by the Society in 1881 in the volume titled ‘Ancient Scottish Weapons’, perpetuating the idea that this was the oldest surviving Scottish Highland bagpipe.


Mackay deftly pointed out in 1838. The phenomenon we have today in piping is very much the phenomenon of the last 100-200 years. So, intriguing as it is to try to address this ques- tion of who invented the bagpipe and where - which in the National Museums of Scotland, we are continually being asked - it is, I dare to say, a question which in the present state of knowledge must remain one of more or less futile speculation.

Taking the topic of the AMIS talk further, with the universality of the bagpipe on one hand and the bagpipe as a Scottish phenomenon on the other, how important is it to


Scotland today and how should we understand it and describe it? On the one hand we imag- ine that we have continuity and antiquity, that we have an instrument in the Great Highland Bagpipe, for example, that is largely unchanged over a long period, with its chanter, three drones, bag, blowpipe and so on. The components are familiar but it is still difficult to be precise about how and when they have emerged or changed. We know about changes in pitch and we may be beginning to know more about the sophisticated nature of the harmon- ics of drones.

In trying to tackle some of these issues I became aware that the literature on piping in Scotland somehow seemed to follow a “grand narrative”, and the grand narrative of piping in Scotland has been all about the Great Highland Bagpipe. All the other various types of instrument that I had stumbled across in the recesses of museums over the years, the multi- tude of “old Irish bagpipes”, had been eclipsed by the grand narrative.

With the emergence of a critical mass of material which had come into being in the National Museums, and particularly with the Resources for Learning Scotland database and the amassing of as many simple records of as many items as possible, the material culture record contrasted remarkably with the grand narrative. Indeed of two apparently ancient sets of Highland pipes in the National Museum, time has shown both instruments to be manifestly fake. One was the famous “1409 bagpipe”, I suggest on the basis of the research done by the late Jim Bryan, made by Robert Glen in the 1890s, and then passing into the public domain without further comment, as the oldest Highland bagpipe in existence, qualified only with a cunning comment about “one or two replaced parts”, since Robert Glen of all people knew that a woodwind instrument like the bagpipe does not survive well. Any instrument that has been subjected to high levels of humidity for a length of time then set aside, falls apart, so really old sets Highland bagpipes are very rare.

The material culture record appears to contrast strongly with the grand narrative, or to offer significant contrasts to the grand narrative; these points of contrast beg an explanation. If we use the material culture record to go back to first principles, and lay aside the grand narrative, what can we expect to find out? If we look, as it were, at the archaeology of piping and at the material culture record, what do they tell us? They tell us that the ancient evidence of biblical and scriptural references - too readily quoted - and of classical sources, for example with a story that the Roman army marched into Scotland to the sound of the bagpipe, is manifestly untrustworthy and might as well be laid aside in the context of explaining Scotland’s bagpipe.

Secondly, very little has been recovered by archaeologists for piping. And even archaeolo- gists would admit that what comes out from excavations may be very difficult to explain and interpret. Outstanding in this context is the work of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology, based in the Deutsches Archaologisches Institut in Berlin, who have now published five volumes of Proceedings. Notable finds are often quoted, the Silver Pipes of Ur, for example, the Wicklow Pipes discovered in a rescue-archaeology dig in Ireland in 2003, a drone fragment from the north of England that was published by the Galpin Society


a few years ago, and of course the Mary Rose finds. But if we consider that this is a national instrument and a national tradition, it seems almost incredible that we have so little material evidence for its history and assumed antiquity.

A third point might be that we have neglected to take more account of European piping in our pursuit of a history for Scottish piping. I would say it was the commitment and interest of the Lowland & Border Pipers’ Society that really turned Scotland much more towards an appreciation of what did happen and what is happening in Europe for piping. There is much more interest now in the wider tradition and indeed at the Piping Live! Festival in Glasgow in August 2006, we had a world premier showing of the Czechoslovakian film Dudy. We had in the literature of Scottish piping ignored, for example, the significance of the courtly traditions in Europe; many fine examples of the French musette are in museums in Britain and the Continent but they had elicited little or no curiosity in Scotland. Ironically a fine example in the collections of the National Museums of Scotland had been collected because it was said to have belonged to Prince Charles Edward Stewart. It is clearly derived from the work of the Hotteterre family and the Parisian music workshops, but was doggedly labelled as “Old Irish Bagpipe”! The Scottish vision had not been particularly attuned to a wider context.

A by-product of the European courtly tradition, I believe, is to be seen in an extraordinary phenomenon, emerging in the British Isles and Ireland in the Neo-baroque period. To cut what is undoubtedly a long story short, I believe that the Pastoral and Union pipe tradition emerges essentially from the Neo-baroque; this process begins in the London workshops of the post-Restoration period and in the early 18th century, when a sophisticated bagpipe was developed, on the analogy of the courtly tradition of France and formal and professional music performance. Some of this can be traced through the instruments themselves and some fragments, and can be followed in the two or three treatises on the musette and on the Pastoral and Union Pipes. So the Neo-baroque is important, I believe, for piping as a whole, and it seems to spill through into the Scottish fiddle tradition. What gives an edge to the Scottish fiddle tradition in the writing of history is the hugely well published tradition of the eighteenth century. The evidence is there in about 14,000 tunes, according to Charles Gore’s Scottish Fiddle Music Index of, the eighteenth and nineteenth century printed collections (1994).

To try to summarise this again, in Restoration London where the Baroque tradition was sweeping into Britain, its huge popularity prompted eventually an equal and opposite reac- tion to the Italian craze, producing a sort of Baroque in the native tradition - a Neo-baroque. The French and particularly the Italian styles were the most popular forms of art music in Europe at the time but we produced a home-bred reaction to it, and, to start with, this came through what is sometimes called the scatological tradition, the kind of down-market and humorously vulgar music and song, forming a folksy response to the self-importance and vanity of the Baroque.


Because this might not be considered in the same philharmonic league, there is so little evidence for it. But the instruments are there in some abundance, and it must be one way of trying to interpret a Pastoral Pipe chanter by laying it beside a Baroque oboe or shawm and analyse it in that context.

If we then fast-forward to the Union Pipe tradition and look to explaining where this is coming from, we find from the evidence that it is coming from Dublin and Edinburgh, almost equally, I think, by the 1770s-90s. To tell the story of the Uilleann pipe and its emergence from the Union Pipe, the material culture record suggests that there is a strong and significant chapter to be composed from the evidence surviving on the British mainland as much as in Ireland, and that pipe makers in Newcastle and Edinburgh as well as London were still as active and experimental as those in Dublin and elsewhere. Evidence tends to be led from the Geoghegan and O’Farrell and Fitzmaurice tutors and collections for the Pastoral and Union Pipes and we assume that Irish musicians were driving fashions and the market, but this may ignore the considerable contribution of early makers such as Hugh Robertson, Donald MacDonald and Malcolm MacGregor, and also the blurring of styles of playing now tending to be more clearly demarcated as “Irish” or “Scottish”.

To return to the theme and a conclusion, the “national collection of a national instrument” is in the public domain - it’s all yours. But where is it? We have a display in the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, and we have a display in Edinburgh University’s Collection of Historic Musical Instruments in the Reid School of Music; here the essence of the display has to be the western European classical tradition, but it seems appropriate to have the bagpipe represented, particularly if we may begin to discern a Neo-baroque role for Scottish pipes. There is a good number of instruments and part-instruments on display there and they neatly reflect the variety and importance of the material record, of what has been preserved in museum collections. For Scotland this can be described as “collecting a culture” since there is so much even today that represents and recalls piping to the practitioner but is generally eventually left aside as ephemeral. So much is evidence for the richness and variety of our art.


The material record of piping now has, along with music and performance, a strong potential to raise the profile of the bagpipes of Scotland. Arguably, by the mid-twentieth century, they were in a bit of a ghetto in the way that they were perceived and in public expectations of them. Other small but irritating points were evident to the student of piping, for example, the drawing and representation of the bagpipe, even in dictionaries and encyclopaedias, could be absolutely dire, conveying little or no proper information to the expert or the curious eye. It is also noteworthy that the main encyclopaedias never seemed to entrust the writing of definitions or accounts of bagpipes to Scots in the past.

A final point is that, having investigated the potential of a website, we are in the process of putting together the collection and its accompanying data into CD form. We hope to have mastered the main information by Christmas though unfortunately I cannot say that it will be available for your Christmas stocking. I hope that it will make a New Year present for the keen piper.