OT: 1 June 1907 – Charles Gordon

The Oban Times, 1 June, 1907

26 Thornwood Avenue,

Partick, 29 May, 1907

Sir,–I have read with interest the controversy on the above, and should like to say a few words on this question is permit.

As a piper of seventeen years’ standing, my greatest difficulty has been with the pipe chanter reed, and until we get over this drawback there will always be an uncertainty of one’s pipes going well.

As to any reform on the pipe chanter, this will be the first step towards improving the Highland bagpipe out of existence, as has already been said. I may say that I am not speaking with prejudice, as I am also a player on the violin, and am thoroughly “au fait” with the theory of music.

What is really wanted is to educate pipers in the elements of pipe music more thoroughly. Although our modern bagpipe tutors commence at the beginning, pointing out the value of notes, the meaning of 2-4, 6-8 time, etc., yet it is astonishing how little most pipers know on these technical points. A piper, in my opinion, should be able to write down any composition he may think upon, giving the notes their exact value in each bar. On one occasion the first prizewinner at a competition in which I was a competitor, past the remark that “6-8 time was quicker than 2-4.” Of course, anyone with very little knowledge of the theory of music can see the absurdity of the remark.–I am, etc.,

Charles Gordon