X:1 T:Athole House M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B: Daniel Dow – Twenty Minuets and Sixteen Reels or Country Dances (c. 1775, p. 21) B: https://digital.nls.uk/special-collections-of-printed-music/archive/106036449 Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F f|cFAF cF (d/c/B/A/)|cFAF E G2-f|cFAF cAfc|(d/c/B/A/ c)C DF F:| c|f2 (a/g/f/e) fcAc|Fc (dc/B/A/ G)GGc|f2 (a/g/f) cfAc|dfeg c (f2c)| fcaf ecge|afcf e(ggb)|afcf dBGB|cAcC DF F||
ATHOL(L) HOUSE. AKA - "Athole House." Scottish, Reel. F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Surenne): AAB (most versions). One of the most famous compositions of Edingburgh music teacher Daniel (or perhaps Donald) Dow (1732-1783). Little is known about Dow, who was born in Kirkmichael, Perthshire, but "his compositions were highly esteemed in their time and still live" (Emmerson, 1971). The tune was originally published as a country dance in the Edinburgh Magazine and Review in 1773. Originally printed without dotted rhythms, the Gows later added them in places to change the tune to a strathspey (Alburger says this may illustrate Niel Gow's up-driven bowing style). The piece first appears published by Dow (p. 1) in his c. 1775 collection. According to David Baptie (Musical Scotland, Past and Present, 1894, p. 46), Niel Gow used to say "he preferred Dow's 'Athole House' to his 'Moneymusk'. Both are fine airs and both popular."
Athole (or Atholl) House was the seat of the Duke of Atholl, who in the mid-18th century was the first patron of the famous Scots fiddler and composer Niel Gow, who besides his noted skill on his instrument, also possessed an earthy frankness and who was not intimidated by social standing. On one occasion when he was playing for dancing at Atholl, a portion of the invited party lingered in the ballroom, loath to forsake the dancing. Gow, not impressed with the fashionable indifference to the waiting supper, soon became exasperated and called out to the remaining crowd: "Gang doun to your supper, ye daft limmers, and dinna hand me reelin' here, as if hunger and drouth were unkent i' the land--a'body can naethin' done for you!" The name Athole (or Atholl) derives from the Gaelic ath Fodla, generally translated as New Ireland, and stems from the first invasion of the northern land by the Irish tribe the Scots in the 7th century (Matthews, 1972).