OT: 6 November – A. MacKay “The Bagpipe”

The Oban Times, 6 November, 1915

The Bagpipe

188 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg, 7 October, 1915

Sir,–in your issue of 28th August Mr. MacPharlain says in his letter on the above subject, “We know that the third drone is a modern innovation.” Mr. MacPharlain as a Gaelic scholar and poet, cannot be ignorant of the fact that we have direct testimony to the contrary. If he is, then, he must confess that he is not conversant with his subject. We have the testimony of no less a personage than Niall MacMhurich, bard of the Clanronald, that in his day–he was born about 1620–the bagpipe had three drones. The following extract from his “Seanaches Sloinnidh” proves this conclusively:–

“Tamull daibh na dheigh sin,
Do fhuair as-innleachd innleach,
Agus chinnich na tri chroinn innh,
Fear dhui fada, leobhar, garbh,
Ri durdan reamhar ro shearbh.”

This refers unmistakably to the big drone and shows that the pipe as played by the MacCrimmons, Mackays and other great composers was identical with that of the present day.–I am, etc.,

A. Mackay