Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

PIBROCH, n. Also pibr(o)ugh (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl.), pibrach, peebruch, -broch. The classical or “big” music of the Scottish bagpipe, a piece of pipe-music consisting of a theme, the Urlar, and a series of variations, often extempore, arranged in a regular pattern or sequence (see quots.). Gen.Sc. Sometimes loosely used of pipe music in gen., and erron. of the instrument itself. Also fig. Comb. ¶pibroch-reed, the reed of a bagpipe, a bagpipe. [′pibrɔx] Sc. a.1719  Ramsay Ever Green II. 256:
Quhyle, playand Pibrochs, Minstralls meit Afore him stately strade.
Sc. 1757  Smollett Reprisal i. ii.:
Donald, ye may gang and entertain her with a pibroch of Macreemon's composition.
Sc. 1761  Magopico 39:
He breaks your rest with a jigg, and rushes on you with all the martial strains of a peebruch.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 38:
At glomin now the bagpipe's dumb, . . . Sae sweetly as it wont to bum, And Pibruchs skreed.
Sc. 1784  P. Macdonald Highl. Airs 13:
A pibrach, or cruineachadh, still rouzes the native Highlander, in the same way that the sound of the trumpet does the war-horse.
Ayr. 1787  Burns Amang the Trees i.:
'Twas Pibroch, Sang, Strathspeys and Reels.
Sc. 1810  Scott Lady of Lake ii. xx.:
Proudly our pibroch has thrill'd in Glen Fruin.
Edb. 1821  W. Liddle Poems 299:
I'd rather be a highland laird, To play upon a pibroch reed, Than be a prince.
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped xxv.:
Robin only held out his hand as if to ask for silence, and struck into the slow measure of a pibroch.
Sc. 1901  W. L. Manson Highl. Bagpipe 79:
Pibroch . . . The word does not, properly speaking, denote any class of tune — it means pipe-playing — but it is generally applied to a class which in itself includes three classes — the cruinneachadh or gathering, the cumhadh or lament, and the failte or salute.
Sc. 1935  Times (12 Sept.):
There is this in common with almost all pibroch tunes: they are very old, and the ground or theme is played slowly and deliberately.
Sc. 1960  A. Baines Bagpipes 116:
The traditional repertoire of variations (piobaireachd, “pibroch”) and dances (reels, strathspeys) which are still the main solo items at piping competitions.
Sc. 1963  Scotsman (16 Nov.) Suppl. 3:
He is an authority on piping with an extensive knowledge of pibroch.

[Gael. pìobaireachd, piping, playing on the pìob or bagpipe.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Pibroch n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down