Vaunting (The)

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VAUNTING, THE. Scottish, Pibroch. A piece of piobaireachd music attributed to Ranald MacAilean Og of Cross on the Island of Eigg (c. 1662–1741), said to have been a good performer on harp and fiddle, though he was best known as a piper (he was Piper of the family of MacDonald of Morar). There are numerous stories and legends about Ranald, colorful and robust. He is said to have been a man of enormous physical strength—he stopped a mill-wheel turning at full speed, and was called upon to hold down the dying chief of Clanranald, Evil Donald (Domhnall Dona Mac ‘ic Ailean), when the Devil came to claim him in payment for a debt Donald owed. Ranald was supposed to have overcome the ghost of a headless woman that was terrorizing the district of Morar and Arisaig. He was known to have been on good terms with the local witches (though he avoided participating in their rites), and they warned him that they had forseen impending danger, saving him from drowning on the river Lochy. In his old age he became blind and bedridden, but scarcely diminished in temper, for if he thought himself neglected by his kin he would lull them into approaching by his pleasant talk and calm demeanor, then cuff them a terrible blow about the head (Sanger & Kinnaird, Tree of Strings, 1992).

MacAilean is said to have composed the tune for a bagpipe student who had taken severely ill, and thought himself dying. It was originally intended as a lament, but the pupil insisted on hearing it before he expired. MacAilean played the tune for him, and the man remarkably recovered afterwards. "The Vaunting" was the title given to the piece, boasting of the powers of recovery of the tune.

The air was published in Angus MacKay’s Ancient Piobaireachd under the title "A Bhoilich. The Vaunting" and attributed to 'R. MacDonald Esqr. of Morar.'

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Archibald Campbell (Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor), 1948; no. 56. MacKay (Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd or Highland Pipe Music), 1838; no. 27, pp. 66–67. The Piobaireachd Society, Piobaireachd, book 7; p. 193. Thomason (Ceol Mor), p. 125.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
See/hear the tune played on bagpipes on [1]
Hear the tune played on bagpipe by Pipe Major John D. Burgess MBEat Tobar an Dualchais [2] [3].

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