OT: 21 April 1923 – Angus MacPherson “Piobaireachd Society Music”

The Oban Times, 21 April, 1923

Piobaireachd Society Music

Inveran Hotel, Invershin, Sutherland, 11 April, 1923

Sir,–When you were good enough to publish my comments on the above in a recent issue of your valued paper, I made the stipulation that only with one person giving his name and address would I follow the matter further. However, as your correspondent, “Bratach Bhan Clann Aoidh” was the means of setting the ball rolling, I will make a brief reply to his letter, dated 19th March.

I, too, would welcome any better setting of the “Battle of Dorneig” than that published by the Piobaireachd Society. The Society has, however, very wisely made a rule that any other setting than theirs may be played for competition and judged on its merits, and this, I think, should cover all your correspondent’s grievances. Not so mine, and I cannot think that your correspondent can be in earnest when he infers that the lengthening or shortening of any note which may well be left to the discretion of the performer, is of more importance than the abolishing now and for ever of a mongrel “Crunluadh Mach” which in truth is no “Mach” at all.

I am glad your correspondent agrees that there is a “Crunluadh” confusion. It is indeed very much a confusion, and the Piobaireachd Society must accept the blame, as such a thing was never known in the history of bagpipe playing until published by the Society.

It is not because Angus MacKay’s method of “Crunluadh Fosgailte” is heavier that it should be adopted, but because it is the only method of making a “Fosgailte,” and it would be well for the Piobaireachd Society and all concerned if Angus MacKay’s music was more rigidly adhered to.

I cannot quite follow your correspondent when he says that such fine tunes as he mentions were misunderstood originally. Does he mean by the composers? If so, it is a reckless remark to make. I am inclined to think that instead of adding variations essential to the tunes the tendency is to subtract, and I would like to see it made a rule by the Piobaireachd Society that the “ground” work of every Piobaireachd, whether long or short, must be repeated at the end, thus making a finished impression which neither “Crunluadh Mach,” “Fosgailte” or “Breabach” can possibly do. Hoping the Piobaireachd Society will take a more serious view of the matter, I have endeavoured, through your kindness, to bring to their notice then that of your correspondent.

–I am, etc.,

Angus McPherson