OT: 12 March 1910 – Charles Bannatyne

The Oban Times, Saturday, 12 March, 1910

The Scottish Piobaireachd Society’s Music


7 March, 1910

Sir,–Part IV, of the Scottish Piobaireachd Society’s music has just reached me, and I noticed that Mr. McLennan, in your last issue, ably criticizes the publication in detailed fashion. I shall confine my criticism to a few general remarks. The present part of the Society’s music bristles with inconsistencies. Not one of the tunes published in this part is correctly noted. The tied grace notes are wrong, neither a toarluath fosgailte nor single crunluath is right. The crunluath breabach and “Captain MacDougal’s Lament,” and that in “The Stewart’s White Banner” are the best in the book, though not exactly correct. In all the other tunes the crunluath variation notes are given a ground-note value, whereas no variation or embellishment note can possessed the value of a full melody note.

The Stewart’s White Banner

Donald MacDonald gives a very good version of this fine tune, which has 15 bars in the Urlar. The society given 17 bars in the ground. The tune is thus made up. The MS. copy in my possession has 16 bars and a suibhal written in the same style is that of “Coire-an-Eassin.” The toarluath and crunluath breabach are timed incorrectly.

Togail Bho Tir

I have a MS. copy of this air, written by John McKay. It does not resemble the Society’s set.

A Bhoilich

I have a version of the tune noted by Angus MacDonald, Morar, as he plays it. The tune as given by the Society is really a study.

Cumha Mhic Shimidh

In a note subjoined to this melody by the Society, it is stated: “the above is a recognized setting, but as there are four more bars in the variations then in the ground, it appears possible that extra bars have at sometime been inserted by error.” May I ask who recognizes the Society’s setting? It differs markedly from Angus Mackay setting, and is not so good. The ground is four bar short. The tune when correctly noted has 14 bars, and is in common time. To make it 16 bars long the first two can be repeated, but should not be. The society give 22 bars. All this makes it difficult for the competitor.

The errors in the remaining tunes are patents to any musician.–I am, etc.

Charles Bannatyne, M. B., C. M.