OT: 23 April 1910 – John MacLennan

The Oban Times 23 April, 1910

Piobaireachd Society’s Work

26 Arden St.,

Edinburgh, 18 April, 1910

Sir,–kindly allow me a small space of your widely read paper to reply to the letters of “String of Lorn” and “Mal Dhonn.”

The former says that “the value of criticism depends entirely on the knowledge and ability of the critic.” It depends on a great deal more than that–it depends on the knowledge and understanding of the reader. If “String of Lorn” is unable to understand the subject, the value of the criticism is lost to him, and I am inclined to believe that such is the case, especially with “Patrick Og’s” letter, which is too deep and well-founded for “String of Lorn” to reply to, and thus he only tries to throw cold water on it.

“Mal Dhonn” says there is only one error of any consequence of the Piobaireachd Society’s book, which shows the meager knowledge he has of the subject. The book contains fifty mistakes, and more. Again, “Mal Dhonn” quotes from my letter to show that I made several mistakes in my criticism, but instead of pointing them out he simply begs the question by saying: “On what authority does he maintain that the above are errors?” and makes no attempt at showing my mistakes.

In my former letter I asked him if ever he heard the tri-lugh of “Weighing from Land” (the English name of the tune should be “Weighing Anchor”), played as written, and his answer was that it was written the same way and several other tunes. I am quite aware of all this, but my question is still unanswered. Will “Mal Dhonn” say that he did hear the variation played as written, and if so, will he kindly say who played it, when and where, and who heard it being played?–I am, etc.,

John McLennan