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Significant research collection gifted to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Library

The executors and family of the renowned piping scholar, Professor Roderick Cannon, have gifted his extensive collection of papers, correspondence and music books to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Library, making an invaluable addition to the College’s research resources. Predominantly relating to the Highland bagpipe, his research also covered in great depth each type of bagpipe played in Britain and Ireland, including the Northumbrian and Irish Union pipes. The Collection includes not only original manuscripts, but a vast array of documents and correspondence from over half a century of research. Printed works include some of the earliest publications of bagpipe collections of music.

Roderick Cannon (1938-2015), a professor of chemistry, was born in Lancashire. He devoted a lifetime of research to bagpipe music, making an outstanding contribution to our knowledge of the instrument and its music. Amongst his publications was the remarkable Bibliography of Bagpipe Music and The Highland Bagpipe and its Music. He also painstakingly researched and edited the manuscript collections of Joseph MacDonald and Donald MacDonald, and the MacArthur-MacGregor collection.

Christine Cain, College Librarian, said: “We are extremely grateful to have been gifted such an important collection. Gaelic and piping are intrinsically linked – indeed, Roderick himself acquired a thorough working knowledge of the language to aid his research work – and the material represents a significant addition to the Library’s holdings and will be of great interest to students, researchers and the general public.”

Professor Hugh Cheape MBE, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Senior Lecturer and fellow researcher with Roderick Cannon, said: “This is a Collection without equal in the world of scholarship with research opportunities for students and performers into every aspect of piping in Scotland and furth of Scotland. Having benefitted in my own work from Roderick Cannon’s scholarship and friendship for many years, I am deeply moved by his family’s wish to place the Collection in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. The value added to our Library and research facilities is beyond price.”

This outstanding collection is now part of the Library at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and cataloguing is ongoing. Anyone interested in accessing the material can contact the library at or on 01471 888 431/447.

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