OT: 3 March 1923 – Bratach Bhan “The Piobaireachd Society Music”

The Oban Times, 3 March, 1923

The Piobaireachd Society Music

Edinburgh, February 19, 1923

Sir–With reference to the recent issue of by the above Society for the forthcoming competitions at Oban and Inverness, one of the tunes selected calls for some comment in the interest of the music and in justice to the composition itself.

The tune referred to is “The Battle of Dorneag,” one of the best and most characteristic battle pieces we have. Unfortunately, the few phrases of urlar constituting the theme of the tune has, like many others, got twisted in transit down the ages, and is consequently hopelessly at variance with the rest of the piece, and the issue of the Society is practically the same as that already published in “Ceòl Mòr.”

The real melody is very different from either of those publications, and is a thing of great beauty, and, considering that so many players will now have to learn the tune for those competitions, it is rather unfortunate that this fine piece of music has not been given its proper interpretation.

It is difficult to account for a simple and melodious old-world composition like this ever coming to be misunderstood, but apparently, as in the case of some others, its very simplicity has been its undoing. Paradoxical as it may seem, although very simple it is also very subtle; too much so, apparently, for our modern ideas of music. It is very evident that, like many more of our fine piobaireachd, it has completely baffled its compilers.– I am, etc.

Bratach Bhan