OT: 17 April 1926 – William Gray “Pipe-Major Gray on Mr. Grant’s Demonstration”



The Oban Times, 17 April, 1926

Pipe-Major Gray on Mr. Grant’s Demonstration

Glasgow, 10 April, 1926

Sir,–Relative to the above and in reply to your correspondent, Mr. John Grant, I have to state that I entirely disagree with his version of the demonstration as given in his letter in your columns. To begin with, Mr. Grant only monopolised and wasted time with matter entirely irrelevant. When he did attempt to demonstrate he did so on the practising chanter accompanied by his two boys and a youth, and not alone on the pipes as he previously promised in your paper. Mr. Grant says I failed to prove that he did not play the movements (Toarluath and Crunluath) as Mackay writes them. I showed Mr. Grant there and then that he attempted to play a themal note as a grace note. He replied that the A note at issue was so imperceptible that you could not hear it and he could not explain why Mackay wrote the same A as a themal mode. On this point alone my case is proven. Nevertheless Mr. Grant continues to suppose he plays exactly according to Mackay.

Mr. Grant says I did not look at his fingering. I did and observed same to be very incomplete and inconclusive. His attempts from slow rotation to quicker time were absolutely contradictory. Mr. Grant did not attempt to play the movements on “D” as per Mackay, but gave a rendering of his own, leaving out the redundant notes; again proving my case.

As the greater part of the evening was taken up by speechifying on the part of Mr. Grant, and having to catch the 9:30 p.m. train back to Glasgow, I concluded by asking him to play the Leumluath movements as given in “The Carles of the Breeks” and “The Glen is Mine,” where the very same redundant “A” is shown in all the diagrams accepting on “D” throughout Mackay. Mr. Grant’ s attempt was hopeless. I ask any piper to attempt this.

In his letter Mr. Grant also says he could have brought four or five first-class piobaireachd players upon the platform who were prepared to vouch for his correct playing, but that this would have been unfair to Mr. Gray. Decidedly not. I should have welcomed the opportunity and would like to know very much who they are?

Finally, Mr. Grant did not play the Toarluath and Crunluath movements on the platform in the Oddfellows’ Hall, Edinburgh, in perfect time and rhythm exactly as the MacCrimmons composed them in piobaireachd and as Angus Mackay wrote them.–I am, etc.,

William Gray

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