OT: 29 June 1912 – John MacLennan

The Oban Times, 29 June, 1912

24 June 1912

Sir,–Corresponding with Mr. John Grant is equal to working at repeating decimals, which can be carried onto any length, and come to nothing. He did not point out to me the piobaireachd in the Gaelic books which gives the same syllables in the singling and in the doubling. I did not expect he would.

In your issue at the 22nd inst., however, he writes a paragraph so very misleading that in justice to us all I must have it corrected. It runs thus:–”Of the nine words which he quotes there are only three known in piobaireachd–the rest are experimental models, confined to himself and his friend Dr. Bannatyne to a certain extent, and certainly to no one else.”

The words I submitted to him were:–Dochadh-an-ludan, Frith, Ludhchro, and Riluth. These four terms are to be found in a pipe music book written by Joseph MacDonald, and published in 1803 by his brother, Patrick MacDonald. Joseph knew the Gaelic language well, and was undoubtedly by far the best scholar of all those who published pipe music, Major-General Thomason accepted.

The other three terms–Crunluath, Toarluath, and Urlar–are to be found in Angus Mackay’s book, in the Piobaireachd Society’s books, and in Mr. Grant’s own book, from all which I hope the readers of “The Oban Times” will believe that they are not “experimental models,” used by Dr. Bannatyne and myself alone, but genuine terms used in pipe music by every well-instructed genuine Highland piper. How far Mr. Grant has exploited the wide field of bagpipe music cannot be easily measured from his own statement.–I am, etc.,

John MacLennan