The Oban Times, 3 April, 1926
The Discussion of Pipe Majors Grant and Gray on Taorluath
In connection with the debate on the playing of the Taorluath, held in the Oddfellows’ Hall, Forrest Road, on Thursday, 25th March, a large company attended the meeting to hear the differences of opinion between Pipe-Majors Grant and Gray in regard to the Taorluath.
The following gentlemen were present at the meeting:–Sir John Lorne MacLeod and Messrs. Burn-Murdoch and Seton Gordon; Pipe-Majors Ross, Calder, Grant, Gray, Hendry, Sutherland, Mckenzie, McDonald, Gordon and Thomson, and Pipers Calder, Sutherland, McLeod, Bain, McKinlay, Gates, Campbell, and MacDonald (Glasgow Police).
The Chairman, Mr. McKillop, president of Tir nam Beann Society, called on Pipe-Major Grant to give his opinion with regard to the playing of the Taorluath. Mr. Grant claimed to have been taught the pipes as the Mackays played them, and said that he could play the Taorluath with two low “A’s” at the finish as written by the Mackays. He gave a summary of the Piobaireachd and designated the origin of several Piobaireachd. After this Pipe-Major Gray was asked if he wished to say a word before Pipe-Major Grant commenced to demonstrate his method of playing the Taorluath.
Mr. Gray refrained from speaking, merely asking for the demonstration to commence. Mr. Grant along with two boys then commenced to play “Macintosh’s Lament.” Having played the Urlar and doubling together, Mr. Grant accompanied by a youth played the Taorluath, finally playing the Taorluath himself.
On finishing Pipe-Major Gray said that Mr. Grant played the Taorluath exact the same as himself, but with this Mr. Grant did not agree. The Taorluath was then written on the blackboard by Mr. Grant, and he was informed by Mr. Gray that it was impossible for anyone to play it to correct time, as he had written it. Mr. Grant held that it could, and said that it was almost imperceptible to the ear, and it required years of practice before a person could play it successfully.
Mr. Gray then wrote the Taorluath as he played it (being one “A” less than Mr. Grant’s style) and maintained that Mr. Grant played it just as he had written it. His opinion was that in attempting to produce two “A’s” at the end of the Taorluath Mr. Grant was sacrificing a good lock note on the low “G,” which in his opinion was of more consequence.
Sir,–I do not profess to be an authority on the subject, but I feel within myself, after hearing Pipe-Majors Grant and Gray playing their respective styles of the Taorluath, and having for a considerable time now tried to play it to time as Mr. Grant plays it, that there is something about it which cannot be done consistently to proper time. The A note in question it appears to me to be a drag in the Taorluath, and takes away the round movement.
I am, etc.