The Oban Times, 14 August, 1915
9 August, 1915
Sir,–I have read your fine paper for the last twenty years or more, and I just wonder if on that account you would permit me to say a few words on this subject? I do love the Highland Bagpipe, and scan the pages of “The Oban Times” for one single phrase on it.
There are now four correspondence on the subject, viz., Mr. MacPharlain and Mr. Grant, Mr. MacRae, and the writer. Mr. MacPharlain seems to go wide of his subject, and does not answer his questions directly, carefully avoiding an answer where he is most likely to be cornered. It is well known by all, that the Gaelic authorities and Gaelic Bards do not like the pipes, although I know some who adore them. Mr. MacPharlain would like to wipe out the Highland pipe because he is jealous of it, but the Highland Bagpipe as a fort impregnable. I am afraid Mr. MacPharlain does not know the difference between genuine Highland bagpipe music and tunes played on the bagpipe which do not belong to it.
Your correspondent Mr. MacRae seems to lay great emphasis on being able to play two instruments, which is to a certain extent a predominant note in his letter. Such qualities do not seem to help him, because when he says that the bagpipe helped Gaelic song then he agrees with Mr. MacPharlain. When Mr. MacRae tell us the exact English title of the piobaireachd known as “Cha tille MacCrumein?”
No lament in verse four words as any connection with a lament in piobaireachd, or Highland bagpipe music, and certainly the one in question, the Gaelic song, “Cha tille MacCrumein” I mean, is a melody quite different to any piobaireachd; but we will await Mr. MacRae’s explanation.
Your correspondent Mr. Grant seems to know his book. I have read his letters for many years, which go to prove that he has a fine and most minute grasp of the art of piobaireachd. His one object seems to be the desire to raise the art of piobaireachd to the highest standard, and he has done not a little to accomplish that end. However, we will await further developments with interest in this and everything concerning piobaireachd and the great Highland bagpipe.–I am, etc.,