OT: 13 April 1929 – John Grant (F.S.A. Scot) “Ancient Piobaireachd”



The Oban Times, 13 April, 1929

Ancient Piobaireachd

 

[N.D.]

Sir,–I write to assure those who are genuinely interested in Ceol Mor, that piobaireachd is still preserved in its correct and ancient form as performed by the MacCrimmons at Boreraig and recorded by Angus Mackay in his book of piobaireachd, still known as “The Piper’s Bible.”

And here for the first time in the annals of piobaireachd, I give the tree of piping from the MacCrimmons to date, together with my credentials as a piobaireachd player,

The MacCrimmons

 

The first MacCrimmon of whom we have any account was Dun-coloured John.
Dun-coloured John was succeeded by his son, Donald Mor.
Donald Mor was succeeded by his son, Patrick Mor.
Patrick Mor was succeeded by his son, Patrick Og.
Patrick Og was succeeded by his son, Malcolm.

Malcolm was succeeded by his son, John Dubh, who was the last of the great MacCrimmons who piped so sweetly in the halls of Dunvegan.

The Mackays of Gairloch

 

The first none of these Mackays was blind Roderick, who was taught to play piobaireachd at Boreraig.
Roderick was succeeded by his son, John Dall (the blind piper) who was taught by Patrick Og MacCrimmon.
John Dall Mackay was succeeded by his son, Angus, who was in turn succeeded by his son, John.

The Mackays of RaasayRoderick Mackay was the first of these, and he was taught to play piobaireachd by his kinsman, John Dall of Gairloch.
Roderick was succeeded by his son John (who was sent to Boreraig in person).
John had four sons:–Donald, Roderick, Angus and John.

The Mackenzies

 

John Ban Mackenzie, piper to the Marquis of Breadalbane, was taught to play piobaireachd by John Mackay, the father of four sons above.
John Ban was succeeded in the MacCrimmon line by his nephew, Ronald MacKenzie.
Ronald Mackenzie taught John Grant (the writer) to play piobaireachd.

And now for a shortcut backwards.
I was taught to play piobaireachd in the genuine MacCrimmon fashion by Ronald Mackenzie, who was taught by John Ban Mackenzie, who was taught by John MacKay of Raasay, who was taught by John Dall Mackay of Gairloch, was taught by Patrick Og MacCrimmon, who was taught by a long line of MacCrimmon pipers.

Now Angus Mackay noted piobaireachd as he played it, and he played it as the MacCrimmons did. I refer particularly to the Toarluath and Crunluath variations.

Any piper who does not play Toarluath and Crunluath as Angus Mackay wrote it, must be playing it correctly as noted and unaware of the fact, or if otherwise he is unskilled in the performance of the crowning movement in ancient piobaireachd. It is the G. D. G. group of grace notes that he cannot play, not the second A in the Toarluath movement, for instance.

These movements require a great deal of careful practice and tuition to play them correctly, as well as a good deal of study to see through them.

I know many good pipers who play these movements correctly, as well as I do, and despite all that some correspondents have said or may say, the genuine MacCrimmon method will never die.–I am, etc.,

John Grant, F.S.A. (Scot.).

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