1. 2 smaller manuscripts
  2. The Two Volumes
  3. A Third Volume

A Third Volume

Although we don't have any material evidence we have reasons to believe that at some point a third volume was produced.

By comparing the tunes in the Campbell Canntaireachd volumes to the complete list of tunes known to us, keeping in mind which tunes could have been known to Colin Campbell, it is estimated that about one third to one quarter (about 50 tunes) of the Campbell's collection was lost. A very convincing reason to believe so is that a number of tunes which were almost certainly known to Colin Campbell are not included in either one of the volumes known to us. The best examples of these tunes are MacKintosh's lament, a very common song throughout the Highlands, and 'War or peace', also a very common tune which was one of the duty tunes in the Fencible regiment in which Colin Campbell served.

Another clue to the existence of a third volume is the publication by Patrick MacDonald of 4 piobaireachdan which he had written out from the playing of "a piper in the country of Lochaber". One of these tunes, "A'Ghlas Mheur", has a distinct feature which it shares only with Colin Campbell's version. The Taorluath-a-mach variation comes right after the urlar or ground of the tune, rather than after the regular Taorluath, where it is usually played. The other tunes MacDonald published were "Cha till Mi Tuille", "War or peace" and "MacKintosh's lament". If indeed MacDonald got these tunes from Colin Campbell this would prove that Colin Campbell had a bigger collection of "loose" tunes and possibly made a third volume, which has been lost.

Sir John Graham Dalyell mentions the Campbell canntaireachd volumes in both his diary and in his book "Musical memoirs of Scotland" (1849). The dairy mentions an occasion where he was visited by Angus MacKay who told him about "a manuscript collection in three volumes written in language, not in notation." The diary also shows some evidence that he tried to retrieve the volumes, unfortunately without any success. In his book he mentions that John Campbell brought "a folio volume in manuscript said to contain numerous compositions" which the judges refused to accept. It also states that John Campbell "spoke of two more volumes belonging to his father besides that exhibited".

Last but not least, the Highland Society's records state that the volume which was brought by John Campbell were bought by Sir John MacGregor Murray to have it set in staff notation. It is not sure however whether this was a copy of volume one or volume three.