OT: 13 November 1915 – Colin Sinclair “The Highland Bagpipe Chanter Scale”



The Oban Times, 13 November, 1915

The Highland Bagpipe Chanter Scale

Glasgow, 8 November, 1915

Sir,–I am particularly gratified that so eminent a piper as Mr. John Grant has written in support of my views on the above. I desire to thank J. P. M. also for his interest in my case, and, acting on his advice as to the tuning of my reeds, I hope I may find it possible ultimately to metamorphose from a “rudimentary” to a finished piper.

I am a firm believer in the educative value of correspondence of this kind, and it was with a view to enlightenment that I took the liberty of entering upon this discussion. With this object then, I beg to reiterate my interpretation of the notes of the chanter, and I should be glad if J. P. M. will write down in a similar form his views, or point out wherein I am wrong, viz.:–

The scale is A major, and consists of an octave plus one note (ta, or low G), the d being on the key of A, thus

ta, d, r, m, f, s, l, t, d’

The t (upper G) is a trifle flat, whether intentional or not I do not profess to know.

So far from this gamut casting an element of the bizarre or uncouth upon the chanter as a musical instrument, I think it is extremely rational and simple.–I am, etc.,

Colin Sinclair

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