OT: 17 March 1923 – Angus MacPherson “Piobaireachd Playing”

The Oban Times, 17 March, 1923

Piobaireachd Playing

Inveran Hotel, Invershin, Sutherland, 6 March, 1923

Sir,– I notice from a recent copy of your paper that the critics of the Piobaireachd Society are again on the warpath. What puzzles me is, why do those experts get behind the barricaded walls of a nom-de-plume instead of coming out into the open to fight their case.

Will the Piobaireachd Society accept fair criticism? If so, I think it is not too much to say that their cause is doomed to utter failure.

Your correspondent of date March 3rd criticizes at some length the setting published by the Piobaireachd Society of the “Battle of Dorneag.” Well, he may be right, but he must first produce his setting for comparison before he can persuade others. I should say that, with the exception of some unnecessary cadences and wrong gracing, which a proficient piobaireachd player can by instinct observe and rectify, the setting given is not too bad.

I would, however, dare to bring to the notice of the Piobaireachd Society a matter of much more importance. Last year, for the first time in the history of Piobaireachd playing, the Society published what in their opinion was a “Crunluath Mach” and tacked it on to that beautiful tune “The Groat.” This year I find the same thing occurs in the setting given of that most delightful tune “Ghillie Chriosd” (“Glengarry’s March”).

Now I maintain with all due respect that there is not a piper living today (and certainly never dreamed of among those now dead) who can put a Crunluath Mach on either of those two tunes nor any such tunes requiring a Crunluath Fosgailte, and that the invented Crunluath Mach is simply the doubling of a Crunluath Fosgailte or open Crunluath, and quite out of place after the singling and doubling already in keeping with the tunes referred to.

I shall be glad to answer any contributor on this matter giving his name and address and shall endeavour, but if possible, to avoid a misinterpretation of a Crunluath Mach which has been left as a legacy to pipers. I am, etc.,

Angus MacPherson