Fonab House

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FONAB HOUSE. Scottish, Slow Air (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Composed by Neil Gow, Jr. (c. 1795-1823), son of Nathaniel Gow (1763-1831) and the grandson of family scion Niel Gow (1727-1807). Like several of the 6/8 tunes in the later Gow collections, this tune was directed to be played "Slowly"; presumably this means at a moderate tempo (or, not 'brisk'), and not like a slow air. The moderate tempo is effective on a tune such as this, which winds in and out of major and mixolydian modes in the second part. The younger Neil briefly joined his father's music publishing firm, and was showing great promise as a talented performer and composer before his untimely death. His father collected and published his son's compositions in a Collection of Slow Airs, Strathspeys and Reels, being the Posthumous Compositions of the late Neil Gow, Junior, dedicated to the Right Honourable, the Earl of Dalhousie, by his much obliged servant, Nathaniel Gow (Edinburgh, 1849). Neil Gow Jr.'s first name is usually spelt differently that his grandfather's, however, in Nathaniel's Sixth Collection (1822) the attribution appears as "Niel Gow Junr."

Fonab House, north central Perthshire, was a country house opposite Pitlochry (a residence) on the south side of the river Tummel, and the residence (at the beginning of the 19th century) of Mr. MacGregor, "a pleasant and healthy situation." The name Fonab is derived from Gaelic meaning Abbot's land, as the area came into the possession of the monks of Coupar Angus Abbey in the 12th century. Today the manor is known as Port-na-Craig House.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Gow (Sixth Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1822; pp. 24-25. Johnson (A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 9.

Recorded sources:

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