Niel Gow's Strathspey

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X:1 T:Neil [sic] Gow's Strathspey M:C| L:1/8 R:Strathspey Q:"Slowish" B:MacIntyre - Collection of Slow Airs, Reels & Strathspeys (1794) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:Eb c|B<Ge>B c<FF<c|B<Ge>B c2-ce|B<Ge>B c<FF<d|e/d/c/B/ EG E2-E:|| F|E<EG>E F<CC<F|E<EE>E e>Bc<e|B<eG>E F<CC<d|e/d/c/B/ eG E2 E:|]

NIEL GOW'S STRATHSPEY. Scottish, Strathspey. AKA and see "Jack at the Helm" (Shetland) {?}, "Keep Your Country Bonnie Lasses," "Neil Gow's Strathspey (2)," "Niel Gow's Reel (2)." Scottish, Strathspey. A Major (Gow/Repository, Johnson/Petrie, Skye): E Flat Major (MacIntyre): D Major (Gow/Carlin). Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB (Johnson/Petrie): AABB (Carlin, Gow, MacDonald, MacIntyre). Composed by Scottish dancing master and musician Duncan MacIntyre (c. 1767-1807), who established a practice in Edinburgh, but who moved to London in the 1790's. It was in the English city that he published his 1794 collection, dedicated to Lady Charlotte Campbell. MacIntyre spent some years in India (probably as a Master of Ceremonies to the Governor-General's Court), and died there about 1806 or 1807.

Another early printing of MacIntyre's strathspey is contained in Edinburgh publisher John Watlen's A Collection of Celebrated Marches & Quick Steps (c. 1798). "Niel Gow's" is the air for Robert Couper Esq., M.D.'s song "Kinrara; or, Red Gleams the Sun." The song "Red Gleams the Sun", from Johnson's Scots Musical Museum (Volume VI, song 503, p. 519) was also adapted to MacIntyres melody, although John Glen (Early Scottish Melodies, 1900, p. 216) is of the opinion: "As a Strathspey the tune is a great favourite, but is not so effective as a setting to the verses."

A reel-time setting of the tune (with parts reversed) is to be found entered into Book 2 (No. 192) of the large c. 1883 music manuscript collection of County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier (c. 1824-1894).

Additional notes

Source for notated version: - Robert Petrie's Third Collection of Strathspey Reels (1800), where it is attributed to Macintyre [S. Johnson].

Printed sources : - Carlin (Gow Collection), 1986; No. 196. Gow (Complete Repository, Part 2), 1802; p. 24. S. Johnson (A Twenty Year Anniversary Collection), 2003; p. 34. MacDonald (Skye Collection), 1887; p. 5. MacIntyre (A Collection of Slow Airs, Reels and Strathspeys), 1794; p. 17. Petrie (Third Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1802; p. 19.

Recorded sources: -Lismore Records, Ron Gonnella - "A Tribute to Niel Gow" (1987). Rounder 7059, Alex Francis MacKay with Gordon MacLean - "Gaelic in the Bow" (2005). Joe Peter MacLean - "Back of Boisdale."

See also listing at:
See Paul Cranford's Cape Breton setting notation at Cranford Publications site [1]
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [2]

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