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Stuart McHardy Books

School of the MoonSchool of the Moon: The Highland... Cattle-raiding Tradition. Behind the tales of cateran raiding in the Scottish Highlands was an age old practice, beloved of the clan warriors. Trained in the ways of the School of the Moon they liked little better than raiding other clans to lift their cattle and disappear into the wild mountains under the cover of darkness. If pursued and battle became necessary, that was no problem to the clansmen. This traditional practice of the Scottish Highland warriors, originating at least as far back as the Iron Age, has left us many grand stories, apocryphal and historical. Through investigating these stories Stuart McHardy came across material, some of it as yet unpublished, which leads to a startling new interpretation of what was going on in the Scottish Highlands in the years after Culloden. The British government called it cattle thieving but the men who returned to the ways of the School of the Moon were the last Jacobites, fighting on in a doomed guerrilla campaign against an army that had a garrison in every glen and town in Scotland.

The Silver Chanter and Other Piper TalesThe Silver Chanter and Other Piper Tales All over the world people associate the bagpipes with Scotland. In this informative and entertaining book Stuart McHardy introduces Scotland's national instrument - its history, development and repertoire - and examines the part that the piper himself has played in Highland and Lowland society over the centuries. The main bulk of the book is a series of thematically grouped tales from all periods and parts of the country in which we see aspects of traditional lore in stories of warriors, musicians, ghostly battles, the hand of friendship, exemplary heroism and the cost of supernatural help. There are tales of the MacCrimmons, the most famous island pipers of all, as well as Habbie Simpson, who was possibly the most famous of all the Lowland pipers. Whether dealing with great bravery or contemptible jealousy, the supernatural or the mundane, these stories reflect the central role that the bagpipes have played, and continue to play, in Scottish traditional culture.

MacPherson's RantMacPherson's Rant: And Other Tales of... the Scottish Fiddle. The fiddle has long played an important parting Scottish musical tradition. Here in MacPherson's Rant and Other Tales of the Scottish Fiddle there are stories that reflect that importance. Whether the fiddle is in the hands of the notorious Highland freebooter MacPherson or being played by a young man learning a fairy tune, these tales reflect a traditional culture that us still thriving. Some of the stories are truly ancient while others quite modern, but all show that throughout Scotland there has long been a ready audience for music made by horsehair on catgut. Today as Scottish culture continues to thrive in the face of all the modern world can throw at it we should perhaps think on what Robert Burns once aid to a friend, 'Lang may yer elbuck, jink an diddle.' In addition to introducing some of the most famous, as well as some of the lesser-known, tales of the Scottish fiddle, Stuart McHardy also examines the history of the instrument, its repertoire and the place the fiddle and the fiddler have played in Scottish culture over the centuries. The result is a lively and informative companion to one of the central elements of the Scottish musical tradition.

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