OT: 19 December 1908 – J.D.R. Watt “Canntaireachd”

The Oban Times, 19 December, 1908


East London, South Africa,

23 November, 1908

Sir,–A friend of mine drew my attention to a letter from Mr. Simon Fraser, of Warnambool, Australia, on the subject of Canntaireachd, which appeared in your paper, “The Oban Times,” about February or March last. I have been much interested in this, as I have had by me a few of the canntaireachd notes got from various sources, and I have been working with the object of trying to translate Neil MacLeod of Gesto’s little book of pipe tunes, published in the canntaireachd.

I have succeeded to some extent, but not altogether, as I had not the complete key to the MacCrimmon system, but from what I already know of the subject, I should say I believe the canntaireachd method is the best for making pupils get the best style of playing, and if at the present day this system could be revived and used in conjunction with ordinary staff notation, I believe better players would result, apart from the fact that the subject is very interesting itself to anyone who takes an interest in this old-style of conveying music from one ear to another.–I am, etc.,

J. D. R. Watt