OT: 9 November 1907 – An Australian Piper “The Chanter Scale”

The Oban Times, 9 November, 1907

The Chanter Scale

Burnley, Melbourne, Australia.

Sir,–I was greatly interested in the articles on the above subject as expressed by General Thomason, and heartily agree with his opinion that the bagpipe chanter ought to have a standard pitch, as it would be a great assistance and convenience in tuning bagpipes, and greatly tend to raise the esteem of our national music among foreign people.

An American author has stated that “the tuning of a single bagpipe will embitter the lives of five hundred people,” and certainly much adverse criticism may be avoided if all chanter reeds were pitched in one definite key; and as amateur pipers are notorious for making sundry noises in their first essays, foreigners only regard the bagpipe unsympathetically. No true Highlander will attempt to tune his instrument in presence of an appreciative audience, as before a competition every piper ought to have them all in order.

Although it may be difficult, it is quite possible to improve matters in the direction indicated by General Thomason. I have an old chanter, made by D. MacDonald, Edinburgh, and I am of the opinion it corresponds with the modern scale, being a slight construction, one-sixteenth of an inch thick at the low G. And as the bagpipe is a military instrument, intended for the open, I certainly approve the chanter being pitched in a high key.–I am, etc.,

An Australian Piper