Over the years, the Elphinstone Institute has actively participated in the publication of numerous books outwith its own 'Occasional Publication Series' by working in partnership with university and commercial presses, and through editing, revising, and so on. The following books have all been published with the direct support of the Elphinstone Institute and/or its staff.


The Ballad and the Folklorist: The Collected Papers of David Buchan

The Ballad and the Folklorist book cover£20.00, available from the Online Store

In bringing together a lifetime of scholarship by original Elphinstone Institute Director Designate David Buchan (1939–1994), editors W. F. H. Nicolaisen and James Moreira take the reader beyond Buchan's ground-breaking work on ballads. These articles on folk narrative and Scottish North-East ethnology, as well as ballads, are re-printed from often difficult to locate sources.

The work on contemporary legend, joke, folk drama, rhyme, riddle, anecdote, custom, and folk medicine contained in this collection represents the wide-ranging achievements of one of the twentieth century's most innovative and influential folklorists.


Up Yon Wide and Lonely Glen

£20.00, available from the Online Store

Up Yon Wide and Lonely Glen book coverElizabeth Stewart is an acclaimed singer, pianist and accordionist.  She is also the principal inheritor and advocate of her family and their music.

This volume, compiled and edited by Alison McMorland, is a significant memoir of Stewart and her Scottish Traveller life, stories, music and songs. The narrative, spanning five generations of women and written in Scots, captures the rhythms and idioms of Elizabeth Stewart’s speaking voice and is extraordinary from a musical, cultural, sociological and historical point of view.  The book features 145 musical transcriptions and song lyrics, including eight original piano compositions, folktale versions, rhymes and riddles along with eighty fascinating illustrations of the Stewart Family.


Songs of People on the Move

Songs of People on the Move book cover£12.00, available from the Online Store

Edited by Thomas A. McKean, Songs of People on the Move, is the eighth publication in the Ballads and Songs — International Studies (BASIS) series published by Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier (WVT).

This collection looks in detail both at songs of people on the move and the people themselves, the singers, song-makers, and scholars who find themselves the fortunate carriers of these rich traditions. The songs reflect, as folk songs always do, the needs, fears, satisfactions and discontents of extraordinary ordinary people as they navigate the matrices of social relationships that create their world.


The High-Kilted Muse

£30.00 (hardback), available from the Online Store

The High-Kilted Muse book coverEdited by Murray Shoolbraid, The High-Kilted Muse is a never-before published collection of infamous bawdy ballads collected by Scottish ballad collector, Peter Buchan, in the early nineteenth century.

The manuscript has now been transcribed with full annotation and with an introduction on the compiler, his times, and the Scottish bawdy tradition. It contains the texts of seventy-six bawdy songs and ballads, along with a long-lost scatological poem attributed to the Edinburgh writer James 'Balloon' Tytler. Appendices give details of Buchan's two published collections of ballads. The High-Kilted Muse brings to light a long suppressed volume and fills in a great gap in published bawdy songs and ballads.


The Elphinstone Collection of Fiddle Tunes From North-East Scotland

Elphinstone Collection book coverBook and CD, £15.00, available from the Online Store 

Compiled by one of Scotland's leading fiddlers, Paul Anderson, The Elphinstone Collection contains previously unpublished tunes by James Scott Skinner and William Marshall and the complete known works of Peter Milne. The book includes a CD of sixty of the tunes and an introduction to the fiddle playing styles of North-East Scotland.

The Elphinstone Collection has come out of Paul Anderson's research at the Elphinstone Institute on 'Reconnecting Scotland's North-East traditional fiddle styles and repertories with today's Scottish traditional musician', which was conducted from 2005–2008.


The Glenbuchat Ballads

£30.00 (hardback), available from the Online Store

The Glenbuchat Ballads book coverThe Glenbuchat Ballads were originally prepared for publication by David Buchan, one of the leading ballad scholars of the twentieth century, and original designated director of the Elphinstone Institute. Upon Buchan's death, his former student, James Moreira, took up and completed his work and wrote the detailed introductory essay and annotations in this volume.

Sometime in the early nineteenth century, most likely in the year 1818, the Reverend Robert Scott, minister of the parish of Glenbuchat in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, compiled a collection of traditional ballads that until now has not been published. Most of the ballad collections produced during the Scottish Romantic Revival were eventually anthologized in Francis James Child's seminal English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Yet, the Glenbuchat manuscripts, containing sixty-eight ballads in four folio volumes, were not included in Child's volumes. The complete work only came to light in 1949 when it was donated to the Special Collections of the Aberdeen University Library by a descendent of the original compiler.

Scott did not give the precise locations of where he collected his ballads or name the performers, but the texts are unique and appear to have been drawn from oral sources. As such, the ballads reveal a great deal about the nature of traditional music at the time they were collected.


John Skinner: Collected Poems

John Skinner: Collected Poems book cover£12.00, contact the Elphinstone Institute to order

Edited by David M. Bertie, this edition of the poetry of John Skinner (1721—1807), who was the Episcopal priest at Longside in Aberdeenshire for nearly sixty-five years, is the first substantive collection for nearly 150 years. Skinner's songs were famed in his lifetime, being praised by no less than Robert Burns who corresponded with him.

Not only are all Skinner's songs and poems that have appeared in various publications brought together, all Skinner's previously unpublished poetry that has been discovered is printed for the first time. Introductory essays place Skinner's songs and poetry into their contemporary contexts and demonstrate their influence on Robert Ferguson and Robert Burns.


The Flowering Thorn: International Ballad Studies

£20.00, available from the Online Store

The Flowering Thorn, book coverEdited by Thomas A. McKean, this volume considers the interpretation of narrative song; structure and motif; context, version and transmission; regions, reprints and repertoires; and the mediating collector, featuring examples from fifteen different cultures.

The twenty-five essays, which have their origins in the 1999 International Ballad Conference of the Kommission für Volksdichtung, have been revised, tailored, and expanded, and represent the latest trends in ballad scholarship. Folklore, history, literature, and ethnology combine with structuralism and functionalism, repertoire studies, and themes of cultural change to reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the field today.


Hebridean Song-Maker: Iain MacNeacail of the Isle of Skye

Book and CD, £15.00, contact the Elphinstone Institute to order

Hebridean Song-Maker book coverThis monograph, a heavily expanded reworking of Thomas A. McKean's doctoral dissertation, explores the world of Gaelic song-maker, Iain MacNeacail. Born in 1903, an Sgiobair (the Skippper) — as MacNeacail was known throughout Skye — began making songs at the age of fourteen. His life spanned the century, and he continued to sing, recite, and compose until his death in 1999. The picture that emerges from Hebridean Song-Maker is of a lively interaction between a vibrant island community and their township bard.

This volume includes a thirty-six-track CD of Iain MacNeacail singing his own songs on recordings made from 1951 to 1994.