Born in Edinburgh, Francis Collinson was a folk song collector, musical arranger, director and musicologist throughout his 86 years. In 1951 Collinson was invited by the University of Edinburgh to take up the position of the first musical research fellow of the newly established School of Scottish Studies. His work focused on collecting, studying and transcribing traditional song, both in Scots and Gaelic. His first publication 'The Traditional and National Music of Scotland' was followed by three volumes of 'Hebridean Folksongs', with John Lorne Campbell, in 1969, 1977 and 1981. He also published 'The Bagpipe: The History of a Musical Instrument' in 1975.