Athole Brose

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X:1 T:Athole Brose, or Niel Gow's Favorite Strathspey M:C L:1/8 R:Strathspey B:Gow - 3rd Collection of Niel Gow's Reels, 3rd ed., pp. 22-23 (orig. 1792) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Dmix A|F>D D/D/D A,DDG|F>D D/D/D (G/A/B) AG|F>D D/D/D A,DD=F|1 (3E=FG CE cGEG:|2 (3E=FG CE cGEC||:DdTd>c dedc|Ad(d>e) =fdec|d<d=fd ecfd|(c>dc>)G ECGE||



ATHOLE BROSE. AKA and see "Buckingham House (1)," "Dogs Among the Bushes (The)," "Niel Gow's Favorite." Scottish, Canadian; Reel or Strathspey. Canada; Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton. D Mixolydian or D Mixolydian/Major (Cranford/Holland, Dunlay & Greenberg, Jones, Perlman): A Minor ('A' and 'C' parts) & A Major ('B' part) {Skinner}. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Cranford/Holland): ABB (Jones, Skye): AABB (Gow, Kerr): AA'BB (Athole): AA'BB' (Perlman): AABBCC (Skinner).
"Athole Brose is, according to one recipe, a drink made from the water in which oatmeal has been soaked, mixed with honey and whisky. Stirred with a silver spoon, it is bottled and kept until needed" (Alburger, 1983). Alburger (1983) and Collinson (1966) credit composition to Abraham MacIntosh {b. 1769} (whose father was Robert 'Red Rob' Macintosh, also a fiddler and composer of notable ability), who first published it under the title "Buckingham House," first appearing in his father's A Third Book of Sixty-Eight New Reels and Strathspeys: Also above forty old Famous Reels (Edinburgh, 1796) where it is credited to "Mackintosh Junior". Glen (1891) and Emmerson (1971) remark that such belief is largely based on an ascription to 'Mackintosh, junior' in his father's third book, though it could refer to Abraham's brother Robert (though the latter did not publish any collection). Since the sub-title was "Niel Gow's Favourite," and it appears in Gow's Third Collection of Strathspey Reels (Edinburgh, 1792), it has often been mistakenly credited to that famous fiddler. The following lines appear in Alexander Whitelaw's Book of Scottish Song (1844):

You've surely heard o' the famous Niel,
The man that played the fiddle weel;
I wat he was a canty chiel,
And dearly loved the whisky, O
And aye sin' he wore tartan hose,
He dearly lo'ed the Athole Brose;
And wae was he, yu may suppose,
To bed 'farewell to whisky', O.

Cape Breton fiddlers play it as a strathspey in the key of D, where it is often the vehicle for stepdancing. It is also often the practice on the island to play the reel "[General Stewart]]" (AKA "Lady Muir MacKenzie") following it (Dunlay & Greenberg, 1996). Cape Breton fiddler Jackie Dunn, in her thesis "Tha Bals na Gaidhlig air a h-Uile Fidhleir" (The Sound of Gaelic is in the Fiddler's Music), 1991, remarks that there is known to have been Gaelic words to "Athole Brose." In Ireland a version of the melody was entered into Book 2 of the large c. 1883 music manuscript collection of County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894) as "Atheal Broes (The)". Other Irish versions or cognates include "Dogs Among the Bushes (The)" and "Milltown Lasses (The)."


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Alburger (Scottish Fiddlers and Their Music), 1983; Ex. 73, p. 111. Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 5. Cranford (Jerry Holland: The Second Collection), 2000; No. 87, p. 35. Dunlay & Greenberg (Traditional Celtic Violin Music of Cape Breton), 1996; p. 75. Gow (Third Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1792; pp. 22-23 (3rd ed.). Jones [Ed.] (Complete Tutor Violin), c. 1815; p. 5. S. Johnson (A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 19. Kerr (Merry Melodies), vol. 2; No. 148, p. 17. Köhlers’ Violin Repository, Book 1, 1881-1885; p. 7. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 73 & 74. Perlman (The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island), 1996; p. 189. Skinner (Harp and Claymore), 1904; p. 113 (includes a variation set). Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 118.

Recorded sources : - ATL 8835, Dave MacIsaac & Scott MacMillan - "Live" (1993). Capelhouse Records, James Kelly - "Traditional Irish Music" (1996). CAT-WMR004, Wendy MacIsaac - "The 'Reel' Thing" (1994). Decca 14030, CX 005, Angus Allan Gillis (c. 1936). DMP6-27-2-4, Doug MacPhee - "The Reel of Tulloch" (1985). Nimbus NI 5383, Buddy MacMaster - "Traditional Music from Cape Breton Island" (1993). Paddledoo Music PAD 105, Alasdair Fraser - "Scottish Fiddle Rally, Concert Highlights 1985-1995" (1996). Rounder Records , John L. MacDonald - "Formerly of Foot Cape Road: Scottish Fiddle Music in the Classic Inverness County Style" (2005).




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