OT: 25 May 1907 – J. MacLennan

The Oban Times, 25 May, 1907

6 Marchmont Road, Edinburgh,

20 May, 1907

Sir,–I have to congratulate “H. S.” on his intelligent and well thought-out letter in “The Oban Times” of the 18th inst., and would only be too glad to propose him as a useful member of our committee, if he should be so desire.

Mr. David Glen quotes several paragraphs from Dr. Fraser’s most interesting book, “The Bagpipe,” and says they “give good and timely advice to the experts who lately met in conference on the above subject,” etc. The sum total of Mr. Glen’s letter seems to be–” Do not attempt to improve the chanter; remember the fate of the Irish and Northumbrian pipes, how they were improved out of existence.” He might as well say–” Do not attempt to reach the North Pole; remember the fate of Franklin and Andre.” I think in quoting the paragraphs he must have overlooked the maxim, “Never read an Act of Parliament but in accordance with the Interpretation Clause.” The Doctor distinctly says, in his pleasant introduction, that he is no authority. By this I understand him to give his personal opinion only and not conclusions he arrived at after extensive researches and careful scientific experiments.

Mr. Glen’s point is–Leave the bagpipe as it is. There are in Great Britain, to my knowledge, nine different firms of bagpipe makers, and each of them have a somewhat different scale to the other. There are no fewer than seven different chanters, viz.: (1) Piob Mhor chanter; (2) a reel chanter; (3) a Lovat chanter; (4) a miniature pipe chanter; (5) a large practice chanter; (6) and ordinary practice chanter; and (7) a small, or child’s practice chanter. The chanters of the one maker will not accord with those of the others, and therefore they cannot all be correct. Surely under such circumstances it is an important duty we owe to our country to try and fix a standard by which the one maker’s instrument will accord with that of the other, and thereby put the bagpipe on an equal footing with other instruments.–I am, etc.,

J. MacLennan