Big Bow Wow
X:2 T:Big Bowwow M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (1782, No. 104, p. 37) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G c|B2c d2=f|e2e d2c|B2c d2=f|e2e d2c| B2c d2d|def g2e|dcB cBA|G2G G2:| |:B2G GAB|c2c c3|B2G GAB|A2A A3| B2G GAB|c2c c2e|dcB cBA|G2G G3:|]
BIG BOW WOW, THE. AKA and see "Beardless Boy (The)," "Dissipated Youth (1) (The)," "Giolla na Scriob," "Kate Kearney," "Priest Avourneen," "Seanbhean Chrion an Drantain," "Stagger the Buck," "Ta an Coileach ag Fogairt an Lae (2)," "When the cock crows it is day (3)." Scottish, Jig (6/8 time). G Major (Ross): G Mixolydian/Major (Aird). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The tune's earliest appearance in print is in Robert Ross's (d. 1808) 1780 collection (p. 32), according to John Glen. The exact meaning of "Big Bow Wow" has not been determined, however Webster's Third New International Dictionary gives one of the meanings of 'bowwow' to be "arrogance or dogmatism of manner," which may conceivably have some relation to the title. Breathnach (1976) finds the first part of Aird's "Big Bow Wow" (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. I, 1782, 104) to be the same as that of "An Cailín Deas Donn (1) (An)/The Pretty Brown Girl," and, in fact, Irish variants are numerous. Aird printed a "Big Bowwow, The New Set" (a different tune) in vol. 3 of his Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs (1788).
The "Bowwow" tune appears in the music manuscript collection of Simsbury, Conn., musician Ira Clark, identical to the version printed by Aird (vol. 1). Musically different 'Bowwow' tunes (jigs) appear in a few other American musicians' manuscripts dating to the 1790's.