The Genesis of a New Piobaireachd ‘Tomb of the Kings’

Iona Abey, site of the Tomb of the Kings

By Dr Jack Taylor

The following maybe shows piobaireachd is alive and kicking in some way. At what must be the last such gathering for a while, I was at Ballater Games Dinner in late March. 

I had been asked to play a piobaireachd, which I did (Duke of Atholl’s Salute). I sat down next to the renowned fiddler Paul Anderson who said he’d just composed a piobaireachd and had played it in Migvie Kirk, now Paul’s own performance venue, that afternoon. What did I think? 

So he pulled out a bit of manuscript paper and played it over. Effective I thought. Later in the evening I asked him to hold up the paper and I’d try it on the pipes. And little did I know that he’d videod my playing and it’s on YouTube – type in Paul Anderson, Jack Taylor Tomb of the Kings:

That’s piobaireachd in the making in this day and age for sure. And fascinating to do – I put in the embellishents where I wanted, and next time I played it they were in different places…..  

I attach the manuscript to which I’ve added the theme notes so that folk can try it themselves and add their own variations:

Paul changed the name from ‘Ridge of the Kings’ to ‘Tomb of the Kings’ a couple of days later. He composed it for an event in Iona Abbey planned for the end of the year.

If you enjoy Scots fiddle music have a listen to Paul playing here:


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