OT: 11 July 1914 – John Grant “The MacCrimmons and Their Notation”

The Oban Times, 11 July, 1914

The MacCrimmons and Their Notation

27 Comely Bank Street, Edinburgh, 6 July, 1914

Sir,–I have read Mr. Simon Fraser’s letter in your last issue. Like the piper of old, Mr. Fraser would have us believe that he has the art of piobaireachd “up his sleeve,” and he attempts to teach us its secrets by means of fairy tales and prestidigitation!

Readers who know piobaireachd will have to accept Mr. Fraser’s “Ho-da-ti-ri form of cronluigh” (Crunluath) as a form of sleight-of-hand doctrine. Where he gets a Ho-da-ti-ri, or Hio-do-ta-ta-teriri (Hio-da-ta-ta-ter-ir-i) form of plain Crunluath is a mystery to the student of piobaireachd, and his only means of administration of such ideas is by the method which I have already suggested, viz., pres-ti-di-gi-ta-tion. If such were possible, that we would find a six syllable movement in Ceòl Mòr; but as it is impossible, perhaps this accounts for the reason that we do not find a six syllable movement in piobaireachd.

Mr. Simon Fraser says that he did not accuse the MacCrimmons of using piobaireachd in the place of the Bible. In one of his printed pamphlets he says:–”The MacCrimmons were very religious, and it was owing to this that they took the vocables of their pipe language from the Bible.” What is this but an unfounded accusation, and for which there is no proof except Mr. Fraser’s own statement?

Regarding Gesto’s book and its incorrectness, Mr. Fraser’s own words in another if his pamphlets, “As he (Gesto) said on more than one occasion, ‘I have given them something to puzzle them’,” bear out my contention that it is more or less nonsense. Perhaps no one would have been more puzzled than Gesto himself even if he had been a piper, which he was not.–I am, etc.,

John Grant