The Oban Times 16 April, 1910
Edinburgh, 11 April, 1910
Sir–I have today had my attention drawn to Dr. Bannatyne’s letter in your issue of the 19th March, and, if not too late, would like you to allow me a little of your valuable space in which to give him some information that may be of use to him.
First, he will find the best and oldest method of writing all the various movements and piobaireachd in the treatise written by Joseph MacDonald in 1760, and published in 1803. This method–after many years of study–is the one I now use in my own Piobaireachd Book. The method I use in writing the themal grace notes is my own, and, I think, is an advance on any hitherto in use.
Secondly, I cannot join the Doctor in his idea of getting musicians to write down what pipers play, as many years ago I did this on my own account. I played on the chanter to several first-rate musicians all the crunluath and toarluath movements, and the result was nil. The mixing of the notes and the grace notes appeared to beat them, and all of these gentlemen could write any other music at first hearing. The collapse came when I played the crunluath breabach movement; they threw down their pens and gave up the attempt.
I then tried to get their opinions in another way: I wrote down each movement in all the different methods, and played them on the chanter. The conclusion then come to was that Joseph MacDonald’s method was the best, and as this was my own private opinion, I resolved to adopt it, and I have done so ever since.–I am, etc.,