May 27, 2015

Jack Lee achieves lifetime goal: PS Books 1-15 recorded

Jack Lee

He says he’s “never been much of a ‘bucket list’ person, but the famous piper, Jack Lee, has clearly achieved a lifetime goal by completing recordings on the pipes of all 256 tunes in all 15 of the Piobaireachd Society’s Collection, all now available along with a Bagpipe MusicWriter score, and a pdf of the tune for those who take advantage of his website.

“This is something I have been working on for over 20 years,” Lee said. “I started off making recordings of my own playing to listen back to as part of my practice sessions. It expanded when I started recording piobaireachds for my sons and students. Over the years the [Piobaireachd Society’s] Music Committee would come up with a fresh new annual list for Oban and Inverness, so I would record them.”

Lee said that he recorded a number of piobaireachds with alternative settings, such as some of Angus MacArthur’s, and several modern piobaireachds. While there is currently no written or verbal analysis of the tunes he said that “there are a number of things that I am planning on adding in the future.”

The addition of the piobaireachds bring his site to more than 3,000 separate compositions available to piping students and enthusiasts, perhaps the largest recorded library of playing by any one piper in history.

Lee added, “I have never been much of a ‘bucket list’ person. If I had such a list then the studying, learning and playing of the Piobaireachd Society 15 Books would have certainly been on it. I really enjoy studying piobaireachds, singing them, playing them on the practice chanter, hearing other pipers play them, teaching them, researching the history of them, etc. But for me, there is nothing quite like getting the full bagpipe tuned and playing through an entire piobaireachd. It has been an absolute pleasure to study and play all these piobaireachds.”

In late-2014 Jimmy McIntosh launched a website and accompanying book that presented more than 70 piobaireachds in scores, recordings and analysis for sale online and in paper.

Lee said that all of the piobaireachds are public domain, and he obtained permission to reproduce those that are still under copyright, which is the life of the composer/arranger plus 70 years in the UK.

pipes|drums subscribers can read our exclusive interview with Jack Lee, starting with Part 1 here.


  1. While I’m sure there will be those that agree or disagree with some of these tunes, it’s brilliant that Jack has taken to doing them all. And,it now answers a trivia question when we wonder exactly how many tunes are in the 15 books. Way to go Jack for the effort here!



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