OT: 19 March 1910 – Charles Bannatyne

The Oban Times, 19 March, 1910

The Piobaireachd Society’s Publication


15 March, 1910

Sir,–I have a proposal to make to the Scottish Piobaireachd Society. Let the Society call a public meeting of all interested in piobaireachd music. The meeting could be held in Edinburgh or Glasgow. A request could be made by means of an advertisement that anyone possessing old piobaireachd MSS. might kindly bring them to the meeting. The members of the Society could also bring their oldest manuscripts. By reference to such manuscripts, and by discussion thereon, the following points could be definitely settled:

(1) the correct method of noting the various forms of toarluath.

(2) the correct method of noting the various forms of crunluath.

(3) the correct method of noting that capital E embellishments.

(4) the correct method of noting the various beat groups and the general grace notes.

In addition to the use of old and authentic MSS., much can be gained by getting Messrs. David Glenn, MacDougall-Gillies, John MacColl, John McDonnald, and others if necessary, to play the various variations, which could be noted down by competent musicians, and the resultant MSS. compared with the older MSS. I may say that I will be responsible for the presence of two highly trained and competent professional musicians, who have a thorough knowledge of piobaireachd structure. They, of course, would require to be paid. The value of such a meeting as I suggest would be incalculable, and the Society would find that the money spent on such a gathering would be well spent. Six to ten guineas would, I think, cover the expenses. I may say that, putting aside the minim as the beat, and cutting away some parts of the music which are matters of taste and opinion, the methods adopted by the author of “The Piobaireachd As MacCrimmon Played It,” in writing toarluath and crunluath variations, are near the style played by the great pipers of today than any others extant.

I trust this suggestion will have some consideration. It would save endless discussion, and also say the Scottish Piobaireachd Society in the future from publishing tunes edited out of all semblance to the original and genuine melody as in “Lord Lovat’s Lament” in their Part IV recently published.–I am, etc.,

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