The Oban Times, 21 June 1924
Bagpipes For the Drawing Room
A Novel Invention
A correspondent writes:–Lovers of pipe music generally, and particularly that section of them who can of necessity only hear it indoors, will be delighted to learn that after many unsuccessful attempts a pipe approaching their aspirations has been invented and patented. The great bagpipes are so inextricably bound up with the history of the Scottish Highlands that wherever Highland music is mentioned the bagpipes come into one’s mind to the exclusion of all other musical instruments. There is an indescribable something in the skirl of the pipes that appeals to Highlanders, whether it be in its interpretation of the wild scenery of the land of bens and glens, of the fighting spirit of the Highlanders from clan times onward and of its having been their inspiration on many a field of battle, the fact remains that at home or abroad the bagpipes produce the sweetest music a Highlander can hear.
Unfortunately the bagpipe is not generally viewed with favour as a musical instrument for the house, especially in towns or cities. This led to the introduction of what is known as the miniature pipes, similar in everything but size and volume, to the great bagpipes. This overcame the difficulty of playing indoors, but it did so at the expense of usefulness as the miniature pipes required more tuning and the sounds were more difficult to blend. To get a pipe that, when tuned, would remain so for a reasonable length of time, and would remain in rhythmical harmony with the piano and other instruments was the ambition of piping experts.
In the end success has come, and a pipe called the Drawing Room Pipe has been invented and patented. The blowing and manipulation are alike easy and simple. There are two drones (bass and tenor) and the chanter reed is that conducting element so to speak. The sweetness of tone is pleasing to the ear and to show how well the tuning is maintained the writer has heard the inventor played ten four-part marches and six strathspeys without having once to touch the reeds or drones. A peculiarly ingenious arrangement does away with the old moisture trouble entirely, and the pipe goes well with the piano.
This invention is the work of a Highlander born and bred–ex-Pipe-Major A. Ross of the Scots Guards, who led that they must pipe band for 14 years. He is a younger brother of the famous Pipe-Major William Ross, who has won the highest honours in the piping world.