OT: 10 March 1934 – A. MacPherson “The Music of the MacCrimmons”

The Oban Times, 10 March, 1934

The Music of the MacCrimmons

 Inveran Hotel, Invershin, Sutherland, 3 March, 1934

Sir,–it is quite evident that your correspondent Mr. Cameron and I are so divergent in our views with regard to piobaireachd that, even with a valuable aid of your esteemed columns, I fear it is quite hopeless for me to endeavour to impress the fact upon Mr. Cameron that we do owe more to the school of tradition and to any other source, and this is not confined to music alone.

In support of his case, Mr. Cameron gives the names of two pupils of the Donald Cameron school; it is, however, a fact that in this country we have other men still going strong who claimed to have been taught by sons of Donald Cameron, and who make the different movements in piobaireachd exactly the same as they were taught to me. Surely, then, Donald Cameron did not teach his own sons anything different from what he himself played.

With reference to the Bruce school, Mr. Cameron says they played from the “original vocables.” Yes! in other words, from the spoken word or traditional teaching; and they handed it down in like manner, and to one–my grandfather–a relation of John Bruce of Skye, one of the last of the Boreraig school; for five generations this link remains unbroken, as does also the style imparted.

I am quite satisfied that, as did the great majority of the best pipers of the past play according to tradition, so do those of the present generation, and so will those who come after, and that they neither had nor will have anything to do with any redundancy, however well flattered and noted by Mr. Cameron or those who think with him.

I am, etc.,

A. MacPherson