The Oban Times, 16 November, 1926
Toarluath in Crunluath
Drumfearn, Skye, 2 October, 1926
Sir,–Mr. John Grant flatters me when he says that the question is whether I can play these movements as written in Mackay’s book. The question is certainly not that: it is whether for example the Toarluath on C is g’ C g d g A e A or g’ C g d g e A.
Mr. Grant maintains that it is the first, while all pipers and bards and the recent writers of music play and represent it as the second. Mr. Grant’s only argument is that the first writers wrote it in the first way. He adds also that they played it like that; but how does he know?
I know that David Glen played it like the rest of us is rooted in the old way. MacDougall Gillies played it like the rest of us, and I think his MS. also follows the old way. The old way could easily result from a piper playing slowly to an expert musician, who did the noting. Personally I do not believe that Mackay played “Raasay’s Salute” as written in his book in syncopated time, with the first be on the A in the second on the middle of the C.
Moreover, the new way is better, even if it be in innovation. I would rather drop the second low g than play the old redundant A. Fancy playing the Crunluath of Mary MacLeod with the redundant A! It would be a dreary sequence of grace notes devoid of all rhythm. I am, etc.,