The Patrick McDonald Collection (book)
This Collection of Highland Gaelic Airs by Patrick McDonald was first published in 1784 and contains the tunes to many Gaelic songs of that period from all over Scotland. This book gives a fascinating look at life and music in the 18th and 19th centuries. Patrick McDonald came from a very musical and musically literate family which was unusual at this time and this music collection and that of his brother Joseph who published the first book of written pipe music "A Compleat Theory of the Scots Highland Bagpipe" are of the greatest interest to all researching pipe, fiddle, harp and Gaelic songs of the period.
There are two introductions totaling eleven pages with the original book which for researchers are invaluable in their descriptions of both the music and way of life at this time. He gives reference to tunes in the collection which he remembers as being the ancient harp music played in the Highlands. The clarsach had already fallen out of use by this time but it was still within living memory so the references are invaluable today to harp players seeking original tunes. There is also a wealth of other fiddle, pipe and song material in this exciting early collection. There are early versions of many well known tunes.
In addition to all the original notes and introductions Taigh na Teud was fortunate to have the help of Roderick D. Cannon, Allan MacDonald and personal notes on the book from the William Matheson’s own copy. These have been included to help with further research. Roderick Cannon supplied possible names for many of the unnamed tunes in the North Highland Reels and Country Dances section.