OT: 15 December 1923 – Piob-Mhor “Canntaireachd”

The Oban Times, 15 December, 1923


Calcutta, 3rd November, 1923

Sir,–I was interested to read your correspondent, J. C.’s letter in your issue of 15th September. I, too, have given much study to “Gesto’s” publication (the 1880 reprint by J. & R. Glen), but I cannot think it a “fake!” It appears to me to be rather the results of want of real knowledge of the subject in its recording, for, apart from undoubted clerical and printer’s errors, it shows unmistakable signs of being a genuine system. It must be remembered that “Iain Dubh” was an old man at the time the tunes were recorded, and the method of recording was not calculated to assist in a correct production. To-day, with a thorough understanding of the idea, it would need considerable practice to record a tune correctly from a piper’s dictation!

In these days of modern staff notation, the old system may be a little practical use. What is wanted, as I indicated in my letter of your issue of September 1, is the discovery of genuine MSS. so that the many undoubted errors in metre and rhythm may be corrected and old tunes recovered.

If “J. C.” would favour me with the address of Mr. Simon Fraser, the Australian authority (you, Mr. Editor, would no doubt pass on the information to me), I should endeavour to get into touch with him, as I am most anxious to do all possible to assist in the publication of really genuine MSS., etc. I am in touch with an enthusiast in South Africa, who appears to have some knowledge of what he calls the Patrick Mor system. –I am, etc.,