OT: 20 March 1926 – George S. McLennan “Toarluath and Crunluath in Piobaireachd”

The Oban Times, 20 March, 1926

Toarluath and Crunluath in Piobaireachd


Aberdeen, 13 March, 1926

Sir,–I should like to reply to the letter of Mr. John Grant which appeared in your issue of to-day’s date. Mr. Grant refuses to say, meantime, who taught him; no doubt he has a good reason. In my last letter, I asked Mr. Grant if he would say why he omits the redundant low A in Toarluath and Crunluath when writing these notes from D. Instead of admitting or denying my question, he writes a very misleading paragraph, in the latter part of which He talks of “appropriate grace notes” and “proper gracings,” which is far too vague, considering that it is the grace notes themselves which are in question. He comes near a direct answer when he says:–”I have written Toarluath and Crunluath on D, inserting a B in place of an A, because it can be played so.” He has done nothing of the sort, having written them with the same notes as we all use, the B taking the place of D–not low A as he says. Again I say, Mr. Grant omits the redundant low A in Toarluath and Crunluath when writing these notes from D. This he cannot deny.

With regard to the letter of Mr. J. F. Farquharson–whom I met in London some years ago–I would be very sorry to say anything to hurt Mr. Farquharson’s feelings, but, in view of the fact that other pupils of the pipers he mentioned, played Toarluath and Crunluath without the redundant low A, I am afraid the letter does not carry the weight it might otherwise do. I notice he only mentions Crunluath. Donald Cameron’s sons, famous players, did not play these notes as Mr. Farquharson does, nor did Murdo McLennan, who was taught for years by John Ban Mackenzie. I could, of course, mention other names, but I have no doubt other correspondents will do that.

Considering the fact that Mr. Grant had almost twenty years in which to write all he wanted to regarding my father’s book, when he could have been answered by the author himself, I think it is unbecoming, to say the least, for him to write now as he does regarding him.

When Mr. Grant proves his ability as a piper in open competition, I may be inclined to act on his advice. In the meantime, his remarks are premature. It was Mr. Grant, not I, who said low G was an ugly note, but in his characteristic fashion he tries to make it appear otherwise. I am sure no one else had any difficulty in understanding what I wrote in this connection. Having done what I originally intended, that is proved that my father did not write the redundant low A in Toarluath and Crunluath as Mr. Grant averred, I am satisfied.–I am, etc.,

Geo. S. McLennan