OT: 2 April 1910 – String of Lorn (Major McDougall of Dunvegan)

The Oban Times, 2 April, 1910

28 March, 1910

The Piobaireachd Society’s Publication

Sir,–In common with many others, I have been interested, and perhaps somewhat amused, by the letters which have appeared in your columns on the music just issued by the Piobaireachd Society. A little criticism is in itself a healthy thing; but, of course, its value to the public depends entirely on the knowledge and ability of the critic. I hold no brief for the Piobaireachd Society, who, I have no doubt, are well able to speak for themselves if they thought it of sufficient importance to do so; but it would be interesting to know on what grounds these gentlemen base their claims to criticize the work of a committee composed, I believe, of our best amateur piobaireachd players, aided by for the very best professional pipers of the day, and who have one and all given their time and money gratuitously to this work, and for mere love of the beautiful music of the Highlands.

In Mr. MacLennan we have an enthusiast, whose happy, if somewhat misplaced, belief in his own rendering of “the piobaireachd as played by MacCrimmon,” may be forgiven; while his undoubted love of the music must make him appreciated by even those who differ from his views. Still, all this does not render him a very competent or impartial critic.

“Padruig Og’s” lengthy letter might well be passed over in silence as a mass of inaccurate information.

I have it on the best authority that the Piobaireachd Society are collecting manuscript music, and this is a matter to which they intend to devote themselves. The meetings of the Society are held, not in London, as stated by “Padruig Og,” but at Oban, Inverness, and Perth. The judges at all the principal meetings are members of the Society, who are excellent pipers, and have a thorough knowledge of the tunes being played, and their decisions have never been questioned. To what obscure Society “Padruig Og” refers, and probably belongs, I have, of course, no idea, but I presume his letter is penned on its behalf.

In Dr. Bannateyne we have a critic of a different kind. To a great interest in pipe music he adds a knowledge of the theory of music, and some of his suggestions might well, I think, be adopted by the Piobaireachd Society.

In conclusion, I should like to ask these gentlemen to cooperate with the Society, which has done so much to awaken interest in pipe music and to establish the high position to which it is so justly entitled. While it is impossible for a Committee to take in every musical authority or enthusiast, I have little doubt that any useful suggestion made to their secretary would receive the careful attention of the Society, which so evidently desires, not to alienate, but to carry with it, all those who are genuine lovers of our Highland music.–I am, etc.,

String of Lorn. [Major McDougall of Dunvegan]