OT: 5 December 1925 – William Gray “Toarluath and Crunluath Notes”

The Oban Times, 5 December, 1925

Toarluath and Crunluath Notes

Glasgow, 27 November, 1925

Sir,–I have no desire to enter into any controversy on piping, but in your issue of 21st November, a correspondent, who signs himself “I.F.M.S.S.” challenges the authenticity of the Toarluath and Crunluath notes as given in my “Tutor,” as well as the competency of all other pipers who perform accordingly, and I wish to reply.

In proof of his contention, your correspondent quotes Angus Mackay’s Book. If Mackay is correct, will “I.F.M.S.S.” inform us why Mackay does not show the redundant note “A” in the Toarluath and Crunluath notes on “D” throughout his book, as he does on the other notes? Also, why Mackay does not show a redundant “A” in Toarluath and Crunluath notes which close to low G from B?

“I.F.M.S.S.” qualifies his contention by quoting footnote referring to triplets on page 148 of Angus Mackay’s book. Are there any triplets on this page? The footnote on page 148 does not agree with Mackay’s noting of the Toarluath and Crunluath notes in his book, but corresponds with the noting given in my “Tutor.”

I will inform “I.F.M.S.S.” there is not one MacArthur tune in Mackay’s book copied correctly from any MacArthur MSS., neither is the footnote. Your correspondent says that John MacArthur left MSS. If “I.F.M.S.S.” consults Mackay he will find on page 12 that Angus MacArthur, and not John, left MSS., most of which were noted by John MacGregor for the Highland Society of London. Could “I.F.M.S.S.” tell us how the MacArthur MSS. are noted, and if Mackay had to transpose?

“I.F.M.S.S.” refers to standard works. I will inform him that from Patrick MacDonald (1784) to William Ross (1884) no printed matter appertaining to Piobaireachd agrees in the method of noting Toarluath and Crunluath notes. There are only four brief compilations of Piobaireachd during the century. If “I.F.M.S.S.” can play the notes in time to which he refers, I cannot.–I am, etc.,

William Gray