The Oban Times, 4 December, 1915
Piobaireachd and MacCrimmon Canntaireachd
20 November, 1915
Sir,–”Eilean a’ Cheo” begs to decline my supposed challenge to enter into the controversy of piobaireachd canntaireachd, pipe scale, etc. I beg to state that I never made such a challenge. I certainly offered to teach him in those arts on condition that he signed his name to his next letter, as he wanted me to do. He is still “an island in the mist.” [the English translation of “Eilean a’ cheo”.] But at the same time I am not concerned about his “brief answer,” which is vague and empty; I am more concerned about his first “brief statements,” viz.:–”That Mr. Simon Fraser, Australia and Mr. J. P. Grant, yr., of Rothiemurchus, can read, write and play the real MacCrimmon Canntaireachd.” I now challenge him to prove those short statements.
I am aware that “canntaireachd” was the original notation, but it is certainly not the true notation for pipe music. If canntaireachd is the true notation, then what of Mr. David Glen’s piobaireachd, which is all written in staff notation, and what is still more to the point, Mr. Glen does not know the MacCrimmon canntaireachd to use it even if he were willing. On these grounds it is a pity to condemn the only existing notation in which piobaireachd is now written in and played from.
In conclusion I may say that Donald MacDonald and Angus Mackay did more for piobaireachd, with their adoption of staff notation, than “Eilean a’ Cheo” could do.–I am, etc.,