OT: 6 February 1926 – Gleannach “Toarluath and Crunluath Movements in Piobaireachd”

The Oban Times, 6 February, 1926

Toarluath and Crunluath Movements in Piobaireachd

Glencona, Southside Road, Inverness, 23 January, 1926

Sir,–With reference to the correspondence now passing to the columns of your paper, I wonder whether any one of the many nowadays interested in bagpipe music can throw some light on the construction and spelling of these words. In what is now probably the oldest book on pibroch notation in the world, the word “Toarluath” does not appear at all among the original terms belonging to the bagpipe, and anything like it only once, and in a passing way, throughout the narrative, when the word is “Tudhludh.” The notes intended to correspond to “Toarluath” have quite a different designation. Then, in the same production the word “Crunluath” is spelt “Creanludh.” I am satisfied that the termination “ludh” in this name and in other bagpipe terms in which it occurs is correct, and that its meaning–which seems obvious–is intended for the “art” or the “way” of performing the note –in a manner, “the trick of doing it,” putting it so. The dictionary meaning of “ludh,” and its use in many Gaelic words, confirms this view, I think, strongly. I am aware also that “Toarluath” is spelt “Taobhluath” in some publications; if I remember rightly (not having the book beside me at the moment) in “Gesto’s Canntaireachd,” for one, and I have heard it so named in my younger days among pipers.

I should like to know when these words, “Toarluath” and “Crùnluath,” first appeared in bagpipe literature. I am of the opinion that they are somewhat modern, to say the least of them, while still the “crùn” portion of “Crùnludh” may be correct.

I should also like if any of your numerous readers could explain the word “Eurtair,” which occurs in the following position:–”Calp’ Eurtair a’ Phuirt,” meaning “adagio,” or ground, as a musical term in English.–I am, etc.,