OT: 16 October 1915 – John Grant

The Oban Times, 16 October, 1915

27 Comely Bank Street, Edinburgh, 11 October, 1915

Sir,–Your correspondent Mr. MacPharlain has now got away from Gaelic Song And the Bagpipe, and now begins on the above heading, still exhibiting lack of knowledge in the bagpipe chanter scale. I am proud to say that I have said the Bagpipe chanter scale is a major, and it’s notes are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A; and Mr. MacPharlain can only be looked upon by all who know music as being ignorant of a scale when he says that the chanter scale is D major. A scale is a complete octave of 7 degrees, and requires eight notes to produce it. How could the chanter scale be D when, according to Mr. MacPharlain’s illustration, he cannot get his complete octave or scale? If the bagpipe chanter scale was D major the notes played on the chanter would be C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D-not G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A. In every scale one must get a complete octave, and this proves that the chanter scale is A Major. I have proved it with the practice chanter and the piano.

I can assure your readers that the earliest pipers knew no more about a pentatonic scale they did about wireless telegraphy. I am surprised to hear anyone, let alone a piper, say that on an instrument with a fixed scale you will find tunes on two or three different keys.–I am, etc.,

John Grant