OT: 18 December 1915 – John Grant [“The Bagpipe Scale”]

The Oban Times, 18 December, 1915

[The Bagpipe Scale]

27 Comely Bank Street, Edinburgh, 6 December, 1915

Sir,–Your correspondent has left the subject entirely in your last week’s issue. “Ca’ the yowes tae the Knowes” and “When the kye comes hame” are not pipe tunes. Doubtless the great MacCrimmons had “sheep” and “kye,” but if their “kye” had come “hame” and heard the MacCrimmons play their tunes in the various keys which your correspondent describes in your last issue they would never again come “hame,” but turn their heads across the moor and “low” “The Kye will never return.” I know from experience that cows, sheep and horses are very fond of bagpipe music, as they will come close up to a piper and stand beside him, but they are particular in having the tunes they listen to played in “A major,” as that is the true bagpipe scale.

I am not to take up your valuable space this week further than to add one point of proof to my already convincing evidence.

I can play every tune known of genuine pipe music in a fixed scale, A major, and so can hundreds of other pipers. This being an absolute fact, is it not enough to prove that the scales of C n., G m., and D major are foreign, needless, and impossible on the Highland bagpipe chanter?–I am, etc.,

John Grant