Some Gaelic Piobaireachd Names and How to Pronounce them

We are greatly indebted to the late Angus Nicol for the following information. Click the link which takes you to a recording of Angus speaking some of the titles of tunes. Read them as you listen.

Some sounds in Gaelic are not evident in English. They are:
ö – close to the German Õ but without pursing the lips
ñ – sound a final n with beginning of ni just audible
ch – guttural as in loch
gh – guttural sounded in the throat
k – somewhere between G and K
l – a thick L; push the tongue between the upper lip and the front teeth (also found in Russian)
o – short as in pot

Piobaireachd Terms

Urlar pro. ‘Oorlar’
Siubhal, pro. ‘Shoowul’
Crunluath, pro. ‘Croonloouh’ 
Dithis, pro. Gee-ish

The following titles are listed thus:
English Name
Gaelic Name

Beloved Scotland
Albabheadarach ’s mise ‘gad fhàgail dubh’  
Allupa vedaroch smeesha gat aakil doo

I am Proud to Play a PIpe
Dastirum gu seinnim pìob
Dastchirum gu sheynin peep

Isabel MacKay
Iseabal nic Aoidh
Eeshabal nichk öi

MacLeod of MacLeod’s Lament
Tog orm mo phìob, ‘stheid mi dhachaidh
Tog orom mo feep s heytch me gachy

MacCrimmon Will Never Return
Cha till MacCruimein
Cha tcheel machk creemain

I Gave a Kiss to the King’s Hand
Thug mi pòg do làmh an Righ
Hook me pawg do lahv un ree

Desperate Battle
An cath gailbheach
Un cah galevoch

MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart
Maol Donn
Möl downn

Fair Honey
A’ mhil bhraonach
Uh veel vronoch

Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay
Cumha an Domhnull Duaghail MacAoidh 
Coowah un Dawul Dooaghal Machköi

In Praise of Morag
Guileagag Mòraig
Goolyakuk Mawraik

Lament for the Viscount of Dundee
Cumha Chlaibhers
Coowah Chlaverus

Big Spree
An Daorach Mhór
Un Döroch Vor

Wee Spree
An Daorach Bheag
Un Döroch Vek

Lament for the Castle Dunyveg
Cumha Caisteal Dhùn-naomhaig
Coowah Caschel ghoon novik

Hector Maclean’s Warning
Caismeachd Eachainn mic Ailean nan Sop
Cashmeachk chin veechk Alen nun Solp 

End of the Little Bridge
Ceann na Drouchaide Bhige
Ceown nuh drochitchuh veekuh

End of the Great Bridge
Ceann na Drochaid Mhóire
Ceown nuh drochitchuh voiruh

Lament for Departure of King James
Suibhal Sheumais
Shoowul Shamus

Lament for the Old Sword
Cumha an t-sean chlaidheimh
Coowah un shown chlaiyiv

Red Speckled Bull
An tarbh breac dearg
Un taruv brechk djeruk

Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor MacLeod
An ann air mhìre tha sibh
Un own er veeruh ha shiv

Beinn a’ Ghriain
Beyn uh ghreean

Old Woman’s Lullaby
Crònan na caillich ’s a bheinn bhric  
Crawnun nuh calyeech suh veyn vreechk

The Bicker
Port a’ mheadair
Pawrst uh veter

Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick
Lasan Phadruig Chaogaich
Lassan Fatrik Chogeech

King’s Taxes
Màl an Righ
Maal un ree

MacFarlane’s Gathering
Togail nam Bò
Tokel num baw

Listen Angus Nicol pronouncing some of these names here. is a not for profit web magazine with news, views and info from the piping and pipe band world; email your news to or text 07957818672; Editor: Robert Wallace; all opinions expressed are those of the writer.