OT: 10 April 1948 – John Grant “Ancient Piobaireachd”


The Oban Times, 10 April, 1948 [?]

Ancient Piobaireachd

Edinburgh, 5 April, 1948

Sir,–I have to-day sent the following criticism of the piping broadcast of March 19 to the B.B.C.–

“With reference to the Scottish Home Service broadcast of March 19, entitled ‘Modern Scottish Composers,’ and the tunes played upon the bagpipe by Mr. D. Main under the name ‘Pibroch,’ I have no hesitation in saying, without fear or favour that the B.B.C. should never have broadcast such a programme to the piping world and use the word ‘Pibroch.’ If there is no one on the B.B.C. staff who knows the classical music of the Highland Bagpipe, they should consult someone who does know that Art before passing such matters for broadcasting.

“To say the least of it, it is very degrading to the MacCrimmons, the great Masters of Ancient Piobaireachd, and an insult to all genuine lovers of the Art, who had to listen to such a meaningless music, as the matter which was piped from beginning to end had no resemblance to Piobaireachd whatever.

“I would say without mincing words that piobaireachd cannot be changed. It has come down from the MacCrimmons in perfect form, and this is the first occasion on which any piper has ever attempted to change it.

“Personally, I have no desire to lay down the law, or boast of what I have been able to do to preserve the perfect form of an Ancient Art, but what I would say, is that the B.B.C. should refrain from broadcasting anything which would tend to destroy the inheritance which we cherish as sacred to all piobaireachd performers and lovers, and more especially Gaelic-speaking pipers.

“Another thing which should be rectified is that, when piping appears in the ‘Radio Times’ programmes the word ‘Pibroch’ should be discontinued. ‘Piobaireachd’ is the word to use. ‘Pibroch’ is a modernly created word which really has got no connection with the classical music of the Highland Bagpipe.”

I am, etc.,

John Grant