OT: 2 October 1915 – John Grant “The MacCrimmon Music Canntaireachd”

The Oban Times, 2 October, 1915

The MacCrimmon Music Canntaireachd

27 Comely Bank Street, Edinburgh, 27 September, 1915

Sir,–In a recent issue I observe a letter from another Australian correspondent, upholding Mr. Simon Fraser’s assertions.

I have never questioned the genuineness of the MacCrimmon Canntaireachd, and I can only gather from Mr. MacDonald’s letter that he is unacquainted with the subject with which he deals. The only thread that binds him to this correspondence is that he wishes to befriend Mr. Fraser through right and wrong.

I may say that it is Gesto’s book that is the matter of discussion, which is not genuine notation. There may be a few syllables of the real notation in the book set, but the tunes are destroyed beyond human aid of playing from, or even recognised as music or a notation.

Mr. MacDonald says that I should do more and assert less. No one who has written in your columns has come forward with more assertion that has.

The subject of controversy is the Gesto booklet of 1828 and its genuineness. He has said nothing in his letter of its merits or demerits, but he gives us personal qualities outside the subject dealt with.

Mr. MacDonald says Mr. Fraser’s son is one of the best pipers that Australia has produced. He says that Mr. Fraser is an exquisite performer on the violin. He says he makes violins. He says he makes whips–and, to crown all, he is a steeplechase rider.

All this is foreign to Gesto’s book or Mr. Fraser’s knowledge of piobaireachd in any form. I would suggest through your columns that Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Fraser take their advice to themselves, and cast aside their personal qualities, especially those outside the proper subject, and the readers of “The Oban Times” would value their qualifications in piobaireachd and its notation much more.–I am, etc.,

John Grant