MacGregor Murray in the Celtic Chair

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MACGREGOR MURRAY IN THE CELTIC CHAIR. Scottish, Air (whole time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Composed by famed Inver, Perthshire, fiddler-composer Niel Gow (1727-1807). The Clan MacGregor chief in Gow's time was John Murray of Lanrick, also known as John MacGregor Murray, who had strong connections with the Highland Society in Edinburgh and London. He served as a general in the East India Company's army and as auditor-general of Bengal, and sent funds back to Scotland to buy the estate of Lanrick which he called "McGregor earth". He built a Castle there known as Castle Gregor. The family had been forbidden by the government the use of their surname; thus, the name 'Murray' was a transparent alias, as he had been born John MacGregor in 1745. The family finally obtained Royal license to use the family surname in 1822, and before he died he changed his name from Murray to MacGregor.

MacGregor Murray was a fluent native speaker of Gaelic, and held an interest in piping throughout his life. He brought back from India an important piping manuscript written by Joseph MacDonald, a young piper who died there also in service to the Company. It was a study of piping at a time when it was in its early-modern phases, and still an aural and hereditary tradition.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Gow (Sixth Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1822; p. 36.

Recorded sources:




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