The Oban Times, 24 November, 1928
“Finger Lock” and “Prince’s Salute”
Sir,–It would be well if your correspondent, Mr. Malcolm MacInnes, turned back to parts II and III of Angus Mackay’s Piobroch book and learn, “A Cheud Phort Sa Piobaireachd,” before expounding Pibroch further to the public. It looks as if he knows little about Pibroch’s intricate notes. If he should turn to page 11 of “Joseph MacDonalds Compleat Theory” and follow his text, there he will find the notes “as MacCrimmon played them,” and taught them to Donald Cameron.
On the other hand, we have the same notes as Cameron’s from Mr. Simon Fraser, Melbourne, Australia, who was taught by Peter Bruce. Moreover, Simon is the greatest living authority on the subject.
All the old pipers that were trained by traditional players of Pibroch, play its intricate notes as they are written in the two books alluded to above. Therefore we can easily see that Mr. McInnis was never trained by a “traditional player!”
Where did he get his notes? Thy is he unable to pr ove to us that they are “McCrimmon notes”[?] Will Mr. McInnis answer these questions?
Mr. McInnis claims that the Taorluath (A, A, A.) “as McCrimmon played it,” puts a tune out of joint and those that play it are “book students only.” Is Low G, A, A, in the “Taorluath movement” wrong?
He also claims that each of the four beats in the theme of the “Finger Lock” consists of three syllables.
First bar.–Hio-dro dro hio-dro dro;
Four beats and six syllables! Where are the other six?
The corresponding bar in the Taorluath movement is:–
(1) Hio-drin-in. (2) Ho-drin-in. (3) Ho-drin-in. (4) Ho-drin-in. Four beats and twelve syllables! but Mr. McInnis finds six syllables only! What did he do with the other six?
As for his next remark–”The same equivalence is seen in the Taorluath Movement of the ‘Prince’s Salute’.” Where? I wonder! The theme of the “Prince’s Salute” is not correctly timed in any book! And some of the notes are not within the right bars! The Second Low A in the First and Third bar should be omitted! The First E Note in the Fourth bar should be on the other side of the Third bar and a low A Note used instead, to complete the Taorluath (A, A, A.) and to fill the bar, so it will correspond to bar two!
When these alterations are made throughout the theme, it contains the same number of beats as the theme of the “Finger Lock.” See “McDonald’s Pibroch Book,” as his setting is closer to Fraser’s.
No wonder young pipers are miss led by what your correspondent expounds. We of the “Old School” play “The Lament for the Great Music.”
P.S.–” Patric Mor McCrimmon vocables” are used.–I am, etc.,
A. K. Cameron