Cylinder of the Month

See also the Cylinders of the Month Archive.

For August 2000 . . .

This month:   One of the earliest commercial recordings of the bagpipe – From 1899, Mrs. McCloud's Reel, played by James C. McAuliffe.

Mrs. McCloud's Reel
Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 7230
Category Bagpipe solo
Title Mrs. McCloud's Reel
Performed by James C. McAuliffe
Circa October 1899
Announcement "Bagpipe solo, Mrs. McCloud's Reel, played by Mr. James C. McAuliffe.  Edison record."

Bagpipe recordings on wax cylinder are uncommon; Edison recorded just over a dozen of them – each were performed by piper James C. McAuliffe.

During the early years of Edison's National Phonograph Company, soloists often announced their own recordings. Thus, it is very possible we are hearing McAuliffe's voice announcing this record.

To hear Mrs. McCloud's Reel  —

To hear an excerpt   —  
For help playing these sounds, click here.

This selection was typically listed in catalogs as "Miss McCloud's Reel", but there is no mistaking, it is "Mrs." here.

Not a Scottish bagpipe, here McAuliffe is playing the more difficult Irish bagpipe, the uilleann (pronounced "e-lan"). Instead of blowing into a pipe, the performer, who is seated, pumps a bellows with his elbow (uilleann means "elbow" in Gaelic) and, rather than finger holes, the chanter is operated with keys.

To learn more about McAuliffe, and to see a photograph of a uilleann bagpipe, click here.

— This cylinder of the month is from the collection of  The Library of Congress —


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the

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