2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Traditional Gaelic Bagpiping 1745-1945 (Paperback)Misleading title, really - this is not a book about piping in general, but a long academic thesis on social history: 250 pages plus 150 of notes and references. I'm not sure it was necessary to go to such lengths to show that piping incorporated non-Gaelic influences after Culloden; that Highland Games are not an authentic product of Highland culture; or that rule-bound modern piping has become divorced from the culture and somewhat ossified. These things are commonplaces nowadays to anyone with an interest in the subject.
It has to be remembered that, if piping had not been taken up by the wider culture (and inevitably altered in the process) it would now be in the same parlous state as the Gaelic language.
Nor was it necessary to go to Nova Scotia to see what living Gaelic musical tradition looks like; it would have been sufficient, and in some ways more instructive, to look across the straits to Ireland.
Even then, despite the intended weightiness of the treatment, actual information is sketchy. So this is a bitty, unsatisfying book, albeit with some interesting nuggets hinting at the unchronicled social life of Gaelic communities on both sides of the Atlantic.