OT: 13 December 1913 – A Mere Lady “The Bagpipe Scale”

The Oban Times, 13 December, 1913

The Bagpipe Scale

6 December, 1913

Sir,–Having had the pleasure of listening to a lecture of unique interest, delivered in Dundee by Dr. Fraser, from Falkirk, on that subject, “The Bagpipe,” of which he has such a world-wide knowledge, will you kindly permit me to ask Dr. Fraser a question through the medium of your widely-circulated paper?

Dr. Fraser stated that the scale of the bagpipe is of Aryan origin, the same scale, in fact, which gives to our Gaelic airs their peculiar character and charm. In the light of the statement, may I ask, how the Doctor reconciles his further statement that pipers, bagpipes, and bagpipe music were as much a part of Lowland life, as they are commonly supposed to have belonged to the Highlands?

So far as I know, there is no trace of the Celtic scale in what is commonly known as “Scotch Music.” Were it the case that bagpipes had been as commonly played by the Lowlanders as by the Highlanders of Scotland, would this not have had the effect of leaving a vital impress on the music of Southern Scotland? Would the tunes and airs, like those sweet melodies of the North, not be found to be composed in the Celtic scale?

I never had the privilege of listening to a more enjoyable lecture, and I shall be very grateful if Dr. Fraser or any we’re well kindly enlighten me on this point. May it not have been a fact that the pipers in the Lowlands were highly and pipers, who had taken the wise course of going south for money-making purposes, for as the old proverb still runs in the north-east of Scotland: “if ye ha’e tae tak’ tae the beggin’, aye haud Sooth.”

At the same time, may I ask if I am right in believing that a representation of the bagpipe has been discovered in the East during modern excavations?–I am, etc.,

A Mere Lady

From the Dundee audience