Embro, Embro

the hidden history of Edinburgh in its music

Jack Campin

Cover of CD-ROM

Imagine you were on a tour bus going round Edinburgh, and your guide pointed to the city's music, rather than its buildings and statues - what would that music show?

An utterly different city - the songs of vanished trades; dance music for forgotten festivals; grand marches for armies that never fought; the great on Edinburgh's monuments, pulled off their pedestals in song; laments for those nobody would buy a memorial for; corruption, cowardice, crime, disaster, oppression, insurrection, obsessed passions, principles taken to the point of madness, acts of epic stupidity; and the daily life of the distant past, as no other written record remembers it.

Hundreds of these songs and tunes are here: taken from manuscripts, broadsides, old sheet music and rare books. Many have never been published before, or have not been reprinted for centuries. Their background is researched from equally rare sources, with reportage, poetry and polemic showing what the music meant to Edinburgh when it was created.

The music maps out the city and its surroundings from the Old Town of the late Middle Ages to the building of the Forth Bridge, from the Battle of Prestonpans to today's football terraces, from the mines and castles of Midlothian to the fishing villages of Newhaven, Musselburgh and Cockenzie.

A CD-ROM of the music of Edinburgh, containing:

songs on Burke and Hare + regimental farewells + temperance songs + mine disaster ballads + a fanfare for announcing death sentences + a hymn tune named after your street + songs of famine + street cries + 14 tunes and a song about Edinburgh's bridges + six pieces about wells + satires on George IV and Queen Victoria + songs of the witches + the truth about what Queen Anne wanted to do with the Scottish royal sceptre + children's games + tunes for the old trade guilds + songs by Lady Nairne + reels by Anon + the music of the Porteous Riot + songs about golf and curling + a Chartist anti-war song + a beer commercial of 1839 + a hymn for repentant prostitutes + a strathspey by a 19th century busker + a reel by an 18th century earl + a lynch mob song + songs about newfangled electric street lights + a jig about theatrical censorship + a Tory song against the right to vote + centuries of military incompetence set to music + supernatural ballads + football songs + police marches + fishermen's songs + tunes for bankers + feminist songs + Masonic tunes + four-part hymn settings + prison songs + tunes for fiddle, pipes, lute, piano, harp, flute, fifes, recorder, trumpet and guitar + multiple versions of tunes back to their earliest forms + sex, drink, drugs, bigotry and mindless violence+ songs in Scots, English, Gaelic & French + the astonishing stories behind familiar tunes + learn which character famed in folksong had three testicles + period reportage, polemic and poetry + Scots glossary + unequalled chronology of the city's history

For Macintosh, Windows, and Linux. Needs a web browser (not supplied; almost any web browser, even text-only). Works fast even on very old and low-spec computers. Long-term support with free updates via the Internet for registered users. No tricky code; won't turn into a beermat in five years' time from software incompatibilities.


Ordering Information

For orders in UK currency, £19.50. Cheques or (if you meet me in person) cash..

To pay in US currency, send $30 (by VISA, Master Charge or cheques) to:

   CAMSCO Music
   28 Powell Street
   Greenwich, CT 06831
   US toll-free phone number: 800/548-FOLK (3655)

CAMSCO can also accept payment by credit card in any currency.

Shipments will be made by CAMSCO to North America, and by me to elsewhere. If you want any special fast mail services, contact one of us first.

Can I Try It Out?

I've put up a similar work on a much smaller scale for free downloading, as a sampler: Music of Dalkeith. Dalkeith is a small market town five miles south of Edinburgh and not far from where I now live. I presented this in October 2000 as a lecture/concert (with a scratch band made up of me and my friends) to the Dalkeith History Society, in the ballroom of Dalkeith Palace. Some of the music we played had been written specifically for that room and had not been played in it for 200 years. I found more than enough material for a performance an hour and a half long.

Hearing More First-Hand

I can deliver an illustrated talk on this work; get in touch if you would like to put it on your schedule, eg for a local history society.

Registering for Updates

If you want to be on my mailing list for update announcements, tell me your name, the email address to use, the release you bought, and the serial number from the centre of your CD. This information will not be passed on to any third party.

Bug and Error Reports, and Additions

Feel free to correct errors or tell me about things that don't work on your system. For software problems, I would like the usual details: the exact hardware and software you're using, which release of the CD you've got, and what happens when on which file. For historical errors, please give me the exact source for your information so I can look it up myself.

And "you've got it all wrong, my granny used to sing it like this" contributions are EXTREMELY welcome (but warn me in advance before sending sound files).

Contact information


Jack Campin
11 Third Street
Midlothian EH22 4PU
phone 07800 739 557

Also available on CD-ROM: Old Scottish Flute Music, the largest collection of Scottish music specifically for the flute to have been published since the early nineteenth century.

Coming later in 2003: Aird's Airs, a CD-ROM edition of the 1200 tunes published by James Aird of Glasgow in his six tunebooks between 1778 and 1801.

Jack Campin's Home Page: http://www.campin.me.uk