OT: 15 November, 1932 – John Grant “The Crunluath-A-Mach Movement”

The Oban Times, 15 November, 1932

The Crunluath-A-Mach Movement

 Edinburgh, 8 October, 1932

Sir,–In your issue of last week your correspondent “Mach” says–”Judges take upon themselves a serious responsibility.” I agree with him, and in that responsibility they must be prepared to uphold the traditions of the past against mighty odds. I have no hesitation in saying that the Piobaireachd Society’s judges at Oban were perfectly right when they took exception to a Crunluath-a-Mach being played by any competitor with the accent on the first note in the movement.

In all my lifetime’s experience I have never heard the Crunluath-a-Mach movement played by any piper with the accent on the first note in the movement, and the judges would have acted quite within their rights had they asked such a competitor to retire from the platform for such a grave error. There is only one note in the Crunluath-a-Mach movement which belongs to the ground or urlar of any piobaireachd, and that is the first note in the movement; all other notes in the group belong entirely to the movement itself. The first note should always be played short, and a clear long and distinct accent of E, the last note in each Mach movement.

In many old MSS. and in some printed collections the movement was not timed to a nicety, but that does not deteriorate piobaireachd committed to paper. The correct style came down for MacCrimmon’s time in perfect form from the performance on the chanter itself. Modern ideas and modern changes constitute the only destruction from which ancient piobaireachd suffers, and any piper who plays Toarluath-a-Mach and Crunluath-a-Mach other than in the orthodox manner, which the Piobaireachd Society’s judges upheld at Oban, is entirely wrong.

I am, etc.,

John Grant