Editor's Thanks to Mr. Nathaniel Gow (The)

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X:1 T:Editor's thanks to Mr. Nathaniel Gow, The T:Mile taing' an Ughdair M:C L:1/16 R:Strathspey S:Simon Fraser Collection (1816) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Eb A,2|(G,A,B,2) B,G3 E3C B,4|(G,A,B,2) B,B3 G2FE GB3|(G,A,B,2) B,G3 E3C B,4|1 GE3 A3G F3B,D2F2:|2 GE3 A3G FB3,D2a2|| g3e gb3 ee3 g4|e3g Bb3 g3e gb3|g3e gb3 ee3 g3f|ge3 a3g f3B df3| g3e gb3 ee3 g4|e3g Bb3 g3e eb3|gab2 a3f g3e fd3|edcB AGFE F3BD2||

EDITOR'S THANKS TO MR. NATHANIEL GOW, THE. AKA - "Mile taing an Ughdair." Scottish, Strathspey. E Flat Major. Standard tuning. AAB. This tune "is an effort of the editor's to express his thanks for an aid to this work, which he cannot duly appreciate. It makes an excellent medley with No. 182 ('Novelty (The)')" {Fraser}. Nathaniel Gow (1763-1831) was a renowned composer of Scottish fiddle tunes and a leading music publisher in Edinburgh. According to Mary Ann Alburger, Gow may have provided the harmonizations for some of Fraser's settings[1]. If so, he did them no service for they have been criticized, beginning with the antiquarian Stenhouse in 1838:

In Captain Fraser's Gaelic Airs, lately published, a set of this tune ['An Gilleadh dubh'] appears in two strains, loaded with frills, crescendos, diminuendos, cadences ad libitum, and other modem Italian graces. This gentleman professes, however, to give the airs in their ancient and native purity, but ex uno disce omnes![2]

Alburger notes:

...the florid decorations which Fraser used and Stenhouse so disliked were already rather old-fashioned. Fraser (or his arranger) also often tried to force basic pentatonic or 'double tonic' melodies into classical, harmonically correct, major or minor keys to which they were unsuited, which lead to the off-putting, unmusical, harmonisations found in some of the settings.[3]

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Fraser (The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles), 1816 (reprinted 1874); No. 230, p. 93.

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  1. Mary Ann Alburger, "Making the Fiddle Sing: Captain Simon Fraser of Knockie and his Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles [1816]", PhD thesis, University of Aberdeen, March 2001, p. 11.
  2. quoted in ibid.
  3. ibid.