There are many tunes written about, for, and by MacGregors. These are only a few that we have found so far. Watch the music videos, listen to the sound files, and download the available sheet music.
Did you know…
Fortingall, in Glenlyon, was the home of a famous group of MacGregor pipers, known as Clann an Sgeulaich.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the MacGregor Piping School flourished near Glenlyon. One of the Clan’s many eminent pipers was John MacGregor of Fortingall who became personal piper and attendant to Prince Charles Edward Stewart. He survived Culloden and in 1781, at the age of 73, won third prize at the Falkirk Tryst which claims to be the forerunner of modern piping competitions.
Do you have sheet music, a digital rendition, or music video of any of the tunes on this page? Do you know the background stories about any of them?
Please contact us with any you have and be sure to tell us about any tunes we may have missed.
The Bloody Sarks
This tune, sung by the Corries, was written by William Scobie and Ronnie Browne for their 18th album titled Stovies. It was released in 1980 and features live performances from some of their concerts. Most of the songs have spoken introductions. As well as two Jacobite folk songs written by the band, the release includes a tribute to Rob Roy.
The Burning of the Black Mill
The story of this tune is written in the Memoirs of a Highland Lady, the autobiography of Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus, 1797-1830.
Rob Roy had a falling out with the MacIntoshes about 1690 over the supply of water to his mill. The chief of his rivals had built another mill farther up the burn, and was diverting the water for his own use. He now threatened to burn Grant’s mill. In his extremity Grant sent hurriedly for Rob Roy, nearly a hundred miles oft, by the tortuous paths through the Cairngorms.
Soon after, as the MacIntoshes sat menacingly on all the adjacent hillocks, Rob appeared, accompanied by a solitary piper. On being querulously asked by Grant where his “tail” of the Clan Gregor was, Rob slapped him on the back and said, “Cheer up what though the purse be light in the morning. who can say how heavy it may be by nightfall?” He bade the piper blow a pibroch, “The Rout of Glen Fruin,” and as the notes swelled, bands of MacGregors sprang from the rocks and bushes, fully armed. As they appeared, the MacIntoshes disappeared in inverse ratio. The force of Grants and MacGregors then set fire to MacIntosh’s mill, while the piper composed a new air to fit in with the roar and crackle. It was named “The Burning of the Black Mill” and is still given as a set piece in piping competitions.
Both very sad, and very beautiful at once, this tune is a lament for Gregor MacGregor of Glenstrae, beheaded by the Campbells. Legend says that it was written by his widow while looking out the window at the gates of the city where the head of her husband was sitting on top of the pole.
The music video is from Martyn Bennett’s album titled Glen Lyon. It was sung by Martyn’s mother, Margaret Bennett. I think you will find, that even if you do not know Scot’s Gaelic, you will still be deeply moved by the emotion put forth in this lament.
The Hills of Glenorchy
Lament for MacGregor of Roro
This music video features live footage of Runrig’s 1991 Loch Lomond outdoor concert.
- MP3 - by Carl Peterson
This music video features Andy M. Stewart’s rendition of MacGregor’s Gathering.
This video featuring MacGregor’s Salute is played by an unknown piper and contains only the first part of the tune. The contributor states that the composer for this piobaireachd is unknown.
Miss MacGregor’s March
Rob Roy’s Lament
Rob Roy Reel
The Reel o’ Tulloch
This music video features a group of dancers from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (a college in Sleat, recognized as the center of Gaelic language and culture studies) performing a complicated routine to the reel.
Among the interesting episodes of Clan Gregor history there is a wild story remembered on Speyside from the year 1640 . The tradition runs that a MacGregor wooed, won, and carried off Isabel, daughter of the Laird of Grant. A member of the Robertson clan whose suit had been favored by the lady’s friends, pursued the fugitives with a number of his followers. MacGregor took refuge in a barn and with his dirk, claymore, and a musket which his new wife loaded for him, managed to destroy every one of his assailants. Then, in the joy of his victory, he took his pipes and composed and danced the wild air still known as the “Reel o’ Tulloch.”
Alas! this doughty champion was afterwards shot and, at the sight of his bloody head which they fiendishly showed her, the poor girl who had fought so bravely to save her lover suddenly expired.
Ruaig Ghlinne Freoine – the Chase (or Rout) of Glen Fruin
Other pipe tunes listed as Clan Gregor related
- Ard Choille
- Back Of Bennachie
- Bonnie Mcalpine
- Bonnie Strathyre
- Braes Of Balquhidder
- Braes Of Glenorchy
- Buchantry Falls
- Captain Duncan MacGregor
- Castle Weems
- Earl Of Airlie
- Loch Lubnaig
- Loch Rannoch
- Loch Tay Boat Song
- Loch Tayside
- MacGregor Of Rora Air
- MacGregor Of Rora Retreat March
- Miss Amelia MacGregor’s Favourite
- Mrs MacGregor’s Strathspey
- Going To Pitlochry
- Young MacGregor