Scotland's Music

John Purser sets the scene for his 50 part adventure uncovering the history of the music of Scotland, from the Stone Age to the present day.




A Special Relationship: John Purser explores the relationship between Scottish and American music, from ragtime to funk and the blues.



The Global Village: John Purser rounds off his history of Scottish music with a look at Scotland's musical interaction with the world at large.

02Rocks And Bones20070107

John Purser begins his journey through Scotland's musical history in the Stone Age, and ends up inside a giant penis.

03Blasting The Romans - 1?20070114

John Purser unleashes the Celtic war trumpet, the carnyx.

04Blasting The Romans - 2?20070121

John Purser unleashes the Celtic war trumpet, the carnyx.


John Purser allows himself to be carried away by the fairies.

06Mungo And Merlin20070204

John Purser tells the story of the encounter between Glasgow's patron saint and the famous magician.


John Purser pays a visit to the Cathedral of St Andrews in its medieval heyday.

08Scots In Europe: Drunk And Sober20070218

John Purser surveys the musical evidence for and against the Scots' reputation for hard drinking.


John Purser uncovers medieval love songs and laments.

10The Musicians' Gallery20070311

John Purser visits Doune Castle in the late 15th Century.

10The Truth About Harlaw20070304

John Purser looks at the musical evidence for what really happened at the Battle of Harlaw in Aberdeenshire in 1411.

11O Bone Jesu: A Mystery In A Da Vinci Code20070318

John Purser uncovers the secret messages hidden in the music of Robert Carver.

12The Dancing Is Done20070325

John Purser introduces a catalogue of 16th century songs and dances.

13Mingulay - Hearing An Island20070408

John Purser visits Mingulay to hear the sounds its inhabitants left behind a century ago.

14Mary Queen Of Scots And Her Musician Spies20070415

John Purser peeks into the world of 16th century musical espionage.

15Farewell To The Moon Goddess20070422

John Purser uncovers the pagan roots of music for the Virgin Mary.

16King, Earl, Outlaw And Chieftain20070429

John Purser introduces the aristocratic music of the early 16th century.

17An Old Soldier20070506

John Purser tells the story of composer, gamba player and mercenary Tobias Hume.

18Sound Hoarse, Sad Lute20070513

John Purser is joined by the lutenist Rob MacKillop to explore the richness of Scottish lute music in the century between the Union of the Crowns and the Act of Union, against a backdrop of the poetry of William Drummond of Hawthornden.

19A Day At Dunvegan Castle20070520

John Purser samples some of the music on offer in the seat of the Macleod's on Skye in 1667.


John Purser uncovers musical hidden meanings and secret agendas.

21Murder - Judicial And Domestic20070603

John Purser introduces songs of witchcraft, murder and hanging.

22Sex Without Repentance20070610

John Purser follows the young Sir John Clerk of Penicuik on his travels to Rome in the 1690s.

23A Parcel Of Rogues20070617

John Purser introduces music connected with the Act and Treaty of Union in 1707.

24A Rose For Oswald's Grave20070624

John Purser follows Fife composer James Oswald to London in the 1740s.

25Jacobite Manoeuvres20070701

John Purser introduces music from the Jacobite Wars.

26The Tippling Philosophers20070708

John Purser uncovers satire, smut and drunkenness in the Edinburgh Enlightenment.



In Ossian's Cave: John Purser introduces musical responses to the magical tales of Ossian over a millennium and more.

28In Ossian's Cave20070722

John Purser introduces musical responses to the magical tales of Ossian over a millennium and more.

29ROBERT BURNS20070729

John Purser gives his musical overview of Burns's work.

30In Dreams Behold The Hebrides20070805

John Purser considers Scotland's musical exiles in North America.

31Gentle Divinity20070812

John Purser introduces music from Scotland's manses.

32Hunting Whale And Seal20070819

John Purser takes to the sea this week with music for fiddle and jaws harp, and songs of bravery and tragedy from the old whaling ships.

Also featuring a tune for attracting seals, and the mysterious song of the selkies themselves.

33A Neglected Masterpiece20070826

James Purser is joined by violinist Rachel Barton Pine to talk about Alexander Mackenzie's Pibroch Suite.

34Loyalty And Balmoral20070902

John Purser examines Queen Victoria's patronage of Scottish traditional and classical music.

35Ships, Coal And Sour Milk20070909

John Purser discovers the music of shipbuilding, mining and a humble milk cart in Lanarkshire.

36(my Baby Does) Good Sculptures20070916

John Purser tells the story of composer William Wallace and sculptor Ottilie MacLaren through their own love letters and Wallace's music.

37Hector The Hero20070923

John Purser tells the story of Major General Sir Hector MacDonald with the music he inspired.

38Sur La Plage20070930

John Purser introduces a selection of music from the seashore in the early part of the 20th century.

39Behind The Lines20071007

John Purser introduces a selection of music from the First World War.

40Ladies And Gentlemen20071014

John Purser uncovers the early 20th century music of Helen Hopekirk, from Portobello.

41The Ladies From Hell20071021

John Purser introduces a wide variety of music from the Second World War.

42A Trip To Hindustan20071028

John Purser is joined by pianist Ronald Brautigam and singer Prakriti Dutta to explore Erik Chisholm's Hindustani piano concerto.

43A Nursery And Playground20071104

John Purser introduces music by and for children, and talks to James Naughtie about his Aberdeenshire music teacher Ronald Center.

44Heaven And Hell - The Divine Comedy20071111

John Purser introduces twentieth century music about death and the worlds to come.

45Anything But The Pipes20071118

John Purser takes a sideways look at music for the pipes, sung and played on various other instruments.

46Night Music20071125

As the year starts to draw to a close, John Purser chooses a selection of music that takes place in the dark.

47Fair Play20071202

John Purser traces music's sometimes problematic relationship with sport.

48New Religions20071209

John Purser uncovers music for religions old and new.

SPECIALBurnsong Festival Live From The Queens Hall20071201

Vic Galloway presents a unique concert featuring some of the country's leading songwriters.

With a diverse array of artists including Davy Scott, Boo Hewardine, Sophie Bancroft and MC Soom T, Burnsong Live reunites the incredible talent who collaborated on the Burnsong Songhouse project.