OT: 7 July 1923 – Highland Officer “‘Flowers Of the Forest’ and ‘Lochaber No More'”

The Oban Times, 7 July, 1923

Flowers Of the Forest” and “Lochaber No More”

1st July, 1923

Sir,–Your correspondent “Manu Forti” writing in your issue of June 23 last, points out an aspect of modern piping which certainly requires attention being drawn to it. With a great number of appropriate and suitable old Highland laments, both piobaireachd and “small music,” it is indeed surprising to find that two Scottish songs–”The Flowers of the Forest” and “Lochaber no more”–are nowadays almost exclusively used for playing at funerals, commemorations, etc., especially as they are both but ill adapted for the piob mhòr. The custom of so playing them is not an ancient one, and probably owes its origin to their use in Scottish Regiments, who appeared to have first adopted them in the latter half of last century.

As you are Correspondent rightly observes, such a tune as the “Macintoshes Lament,” first three parts, would be eminently more suitable. There are also many others, easily learned by the average piper, such as “Lord Lovat’s,” the ancient and pathetic air of “MacGregor of Ruara’s Lament,” etc.

To break away from the present practice should not be difficult, and in the true interests of piping. Unfortunately, in the Army the “Flowers of the Forest” and “Lochaber no more” are accepted (together with “The Land of the Leal)” as the standard funeral tunes. It will require a united effort by all the Scottish regiments to effective alteration, but may we hope that this will yet be done. –I am, etc.,

Highland Officer