OT: 22 May 1915 – Simon Fraser “Gesto and the MacCrimmon Notation”



The Oban Times, 22 May, 1915

Gesto and the MacCrimmon Notation

6 Verner St., South Geelong, Victoria, Australia, 30 March, 1915

Sir,–Bacon, in his essay “Of Truth,” writes–”‘What is Truth,’ said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for answer.”

Perhaps Mr. John Grant treats the matter in the same way. At any rate, he would try to make the readers of your valuable paper believe that I, Simon Fraser, could give Ananias a long start, and a beating also, in the careless handling of Truth!

However, as Mr. Grant appears to be the only one that disbelieves what I say respecting Gesto and the MacCrimmon Notation, I think I can well afford to look over anything he has written respecting myself, and not to take him very seriously. He says that I accuse him of many things in a letter that I wrote him. If I have done so Mr. Grant’s best plan is to publish that letter, so that the piping fraternity and others interested can read it and judge for themselves.

I certainly did write some of the beats in MacLeod’s book of 1828, and I also enclosed one of those beats in ordinary notation to show that it was in existence and could be played, and I feel certain that if Mr. Grant calls on you, Mr. Editor, that you will be kind enough to show it to him. If I can write and play this beat myself, it is just possible that I can do so with the other syllables that appear in your paper.

Respecting “The Bells of Perth,” if Mr. Grant will give you, Mr. Editor, a guinea towards the Belgian Fund, I shall be very pleased to write him out the complete tune in ordinary notation, with the syllables under the staff or stave, and also directions how to play the tune. I think this is a fair offer to Mr. Grant, and ought to convince him that I do not want him to pay me for my trouble.

In conclusion, I am in a position to prove all that I say or have said, if Mr. Grant or anyone else, likes to call on me and put me to a practical test. Thanking you, Mr. Editor, for past favours–I am, etc.,

Simon Fraser

PS.–”The Bells of Perth” I copied out of Gesto’s unpublished book over 40 years ago. S. F.

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