The Gaelic names of these type movements are: leumluath, taorluath, and crùnluath.
In almost all pibroch in which these later movements are found, the variations are played first as a singling and then as a doubling and with a slightly increased tempo.
In some cases the name and subject matter of pibroch tunes appears to have been reassigned by-19th century editors such as Angus Mac Kay, whose book A Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd or Highland Pipe Music (1838) included historically fanciful and romantic pibroch source stories by antiquarian James Logan.
A number of pibroch collected by Mac Kay have very different titles in earlier manuscript sources.
A number of the earliest manuscripts such as the Campbell Canntaireachd MS that predate the standard edited published collections have been made available by the Alt Pibroch Club website as a publicly accessible comparative resource.
Pibroch does not follow a strict metre but it does have a rhythmic flow or pulse; it does not follow a strict beat or tempo although it does have pacing.
Multiple written manuscripts of pibroch in staff notation have been published, including Angus Mac Kay's book A Collection of Ancient Pìobaireachd (1845), Archibald Campbell's The Kilberry Book of Ceòl Mór (1969), The staff notation in Angus Mac Kay's book and subsequent Pìobaireachd Society sanctioned publications is characterised by a simplification and standardisation of the ornamental and rhythmic complexities of many pibroch compositions when compared with earlier unpublished manuscript sources.
These are usually classified as follows: Few pibrochs are pure examples of any of these structures though most can be fit into one of the first three with a slight modification of one or two of the phrases in one or more lines. The role of the pibroch may inform the performers interpretative expression of rhythm and tempo.
A compilation of the structure of many pibroch tunes, including related historical essays, was written by A. Many pibroch tunes have intriguing names such as "Too Long in This Condition", "The Piper's Warning to His Master", "Scarce of Fishing", "The Unjust Incarceration" and "The Big Spree" which suggest specific narrative events or possible song lyric sources.
The Gaelic word Piobaireachd literally means "piping" or "act of piping." The word is derived from pìob ("pipes") via pìobaire ("piper") plus the abstract forming suffix -eachd.
In Gaelic, pìobaireachd literally refers to any pipe music, not merely ceòl mór (lit. Pibroch is a spelling variant first attested in Lowland Scots in 1719.