The Clan's music
A proud history of MacGregor piping
Until recently the MacGregors' historical contribution to piping has been underestimated.
It extended over about a century from 1700 and reached from traditional piping practices into the early days of literate-learned transmission via John Murray of Lanrick and John MacGregor, and involved the formal / quasi-formal instruction of pipers, particularly around the Perthshire Gaidhealtachd.
MacGregor family histories typically mention piping as integral to the social life of Clann Griogair nan Gleann (Clan Gregor or the Glens) at all social levels. The raw inherent warlike nature of the pipes attracted pipers from the proud Gaelic MacGregors, burdened by prosecution due to proscription and also being active Jacobites in defiance of legal stricture.
One of the Clan’s many eminent pipers was John MacGregor of Fortingall (1708-89) who became personal piper and attendant to Prince Charles Edward Stewart (see below) during the 1745 campaign. 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.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, a MacGregor Piping School flourished near Glenlyon. Similarly, John McGregor of Fortingall established a famous school of MacGregor pipers known as ‘Clann an Sgeulaich’ in Glenlyon, Perthshire, from the early eighteenth into the early nineteenth centuries.
Discover the fascinating in-depth story of Clan Gregor pipers provided in the member's section... (coming soon!)
The Clan Gregor Society Pipe Band
The Clan Gregor Society Pipe Band, founded in 2001, was a Grade One pipe band based in Airth, Scotland. The band was established by members of the Scottish branch of the Clan Gregor.
In 2003 the band won four out of the five major pipe band competitions in Grade 2 including the World Pipe Band Championships.
It then began its first season in Grade One in 2004 under the leadership of P/M George Shepherd and D/S Michael O Neill. In this season, the band placed 8th in the champion of champion aggregate tables whilst also taking a 5th place at the European Championships in Lisburn. In doing this they became the first band since 1984 to win a championship prize during their first year in Grade 1.
2004 also saw the band qualify for the World Pipe Band Championships on Glasgow Green after coming through a tough early morning qualifier, a feat they repeated in 2005. The year 2005 saw the band cement their place in the grade by taking two 6th prizes at the British and Cowal championships, respectively. The band disbanded at the end of the 2008 season.
There are bagpipes. I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately the man-made sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.
A selection of MacGregor Inspired Tunes
We are proud to present a selection of tunes associated with the Clan Gregor, played by the BBC's Scottish Young Traditional Musician of the Year (2021) finalist, and the recipient of the Clan Gregor Society Piping Scholarship.
Please refer to the Members area (coming soon!) for an extended list and Sheet Music of additional Clan Gregor-associated tunes. There is an excellent publication 'The Clan Gregor Collection of Highland Pipe Music' written by Pipe Major Bruce Campbell, which has the sheet music to the tunes above and some wonderful history of Clan Gregor piping and pipers. Much of the information below is derived from this document.
Our Clan Pipers...
Piping is a thriving art around the world, and the Clan Gregor has a fair number of prominent pipers of whom we are extremely proud. A few examples are presented below...
Known as 'Patrick M'inSkelrich', Patrick was piper to Menzies of Garth in 1706 when he was the centre of a controversy involving Alexander Menzies of Weem.
Menzies of Weem claimed that Patrick had a contractual obligation to serve as his piper and took him prisoner, only releasing him on the intervention of the Duke of Atholl. Prior to his event, he had been the piper of the Duke of Atholl but had been dismissed for fighting.
Patrick had five sons, all pipers, although it was John MacGregor I that the fame of the MacGregor pipers spread into the modern era.
John MacGregor I