OT: 15 November 1924 – Piob Mhor “The Prince’s Salute”

The Oban Times, 15 November, 1924
 The Prince’s Salute

5 Clive Street, Calcutta, 21st October, 1924

Sir,–I have been expecting to see some detailed argument in support of, or against, Mr. George G. MacKay’s point regarding the Taorluath of this tune, but apparently no one is prepared to write on the subject! This is to be regretted, for much good is done by open discussion of points such as this.

Having given the matter considerable study I write, not to uphold Mr. MacKay’s views, but to disagree with them! In his letter in your issue of July 19th Mr. MacKay gives a table in support of his argument, but is that table correct? Why does he show “E D G” and “F E A” when the main note of each movement is represented by the middle letter (D and E) only? Surely he does not seriously contend that the G and A in these movements can be considered as main notes anymore than a capital E and F Cadency notes are? In my opinion the Taorluath Singling is best compared to the Ground. The following are the main notes, upper line–Ground, lower line–variation:

Ground––  A E D B. G G B D. A E D B. E A B E.
Taorluath- A E D B. G B G D. A E D B. E B A E.

It is clear a reversal exists in the second and fourth bars–G B to B G and A B to B A. How then can a further reversal, based on one already made, be supported? It would really mean the transference of the second note of the Ground bar to the position of last note of the bar in the variation!
Mr. McKays real argument would appear to be that the movements at the ends of the bars in question should occupy half the time of the bars! But against this is the fact that the movements in question are (or should be) an exact repetition of the ground, where they occupy the quarter of a beat. They should, of course, be written as in the ground, D and E dotted quavers and G and A semi-quavers, the Taorluath beat being made equal to a crotchet. Why should such movements occupy the quarter of a bar in the Ground and half a bar in Variations? In any case time values are only relative, but were such movements written as in the ground discussions on such a faulty basis might be obviated! Perhaps this is where “Crunluath” has formed the opinion that the two bars in question “are of greater time value than the others.” If properly written and played they are not, unless the E and F cadences are dwelt upon in wrong fashion!

If the tune is played as suggested, recognising that the cadences should be played crisply as mere “twists” to the D and E, and not really interfering with the time, there is, in my opinion, not much to find fault with!Mr. MacKay has referred to the Ground and there are many will agree with him that revision is necessary. Taking Glen’s version as one of the best written as a basis for discussion and viewing it in the light of the Taorluath just discussed, what seems apparent? First that the opening E in the first bar, if not the E which sounds before any player breaks into his tune, should be a cadency grace note, the first A a semi-quaver and the second a dotted quaver; second, that the opening E in the second bar should also be a cadency grace note and there should be three low G’s, the first and third dotted quavers. We should then find the main notes of the melody are as above given and agree with the Taorluath, allowing for the reversal referred to above. (Corresponding bars throughout the tune would of course be similarly altered). –I am, etc.,

Piob Mhor.