a household name among pipers, Roderick Campbell's contribution
to the catalogue of great pipe tunes is outstanding: “Royal
Scottish Pipers Society,” “Edinburgh City Police,” and “Cecily
Ross,” to name just three. He was extremely prolific, and his
tunes are dotted throughout many older collections of bagpipe
music, including Logan’s Collection, Volume 3, and the
books of John Wilson, Edinburgh, who was his most famous pupil.
He was born
on May 24, 1873 in Lochbroom, Ross-shire to Thomas Campbell and
Margaret Morrison, both 27, who had married in 1856. Sandy
Cameron reportedly heard him play before he’d received any
formal training, was amazed by his ability, and subsequently
became his teacher. He was no second-rank player, winning the
Gold Medal at Oban in 1908, and the Open Piobaireachd there in
1910. He was piper to the Count de Serra Largo, who lived in
Tain, Ross-shire, and then to Colonel Scott in Derby, England,
and was instructor to the Royal Scottish Pipers Society.
Great War he settled in Edinburgh, where he spent most of time
making reeds and teaching. Aside from these details, very little
is known about him.
Campbell died a single man on August 4, 1937 in Southfield
Sanatorium in Edinburgh of pulmonary tuberculosis. He was noted
on his death certificate as a "professional piper."