The Royal Scots Cap Badge


Lament For The Only Son

The Lament For The Only Son is thought by some to be a poignant memorial to a beloved son, the memory of whom is long lost in the mists of time. But oh! the music. The music has not faded. Indeed, the music will never fade as long as there is a piper with the skill and the artistry to honour the tune.


There are conflicting thoughts about who composed this lament. The most widely held view is that the composer was Padruig Mor MacCrimmon. The problem with this attribution is that Padruig Mor's only surviving son lived for years after Padruig's death. An attribution of the tune to Padruig Mor refers to it as Cumha an aona Mhic. Some may interpret that Gaelic name as Lament of the Only Son rather than Lament for the Only Son. If that translation is correct, it opens the possibility that the tune could have been by Padruig Og MacCrimmon, grieving the loss of seven brothers.


Another view is that it is a MacIntyre tune, probably composed by Donald Mor MacIntyre's son John, circa the early 1700's, that is, some years after the passing of his teacher, Padruig Og MacCrimmon. It is not improbable that the influence of MacIntyre's Borreraig training under MacCrimmon was strong enough to give some credence to those who believe the tune to be a MacCrimmon composition.


While it would be interesting to know for certain who composed the music, not knowing will never dampen the joy of hearing it well–played. The source of the inspiration is captured in the title and expressed remarkably well in the music.


Exit Lament For The Only Son and return to the Lament Piobaireachd Stories



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