Nathaniel Gow’s Small Share of Trouble

Having transcribed the dedications to Niel and Nathaniel’s Complete Repository yesterday, you might have guessed that Karen’s twitching fingers wouldn’t have been able to keep away from further Gow publications in an idle moment this evening.  At first glance, it seems that Nathaniel might have been the instigator of these dedications – certainly, there was no interesting commentary in Niel Gow’s early collections.

But then, around 1810, Nathaniel decided to branch out, producing The Vocal Melodies of Scotland, dedicated to His Grace The Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry, Arranged For The Piano Forte or Harp, Violin & Violoncello.  This in itself is interesting – he has the pianoforte named first, but he hasn’t yet dropped the violin and violoncello.  There’s no flowery dedication to His Grace, but the first page of song-tunes (no lyrics) alludes to the Gows’ earlier publications of strathspeys and reels – and, again, to their pursuit of Conformity!  Note that just as Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum had as subtitle, ‘our ancient national airs’, so Nathaniel Gow here alludes to ‘Our Original Native Melodies’.  (Who said nationalism was anything new?!)  The emboldened type is copied from Gow’s own typeset:-

From the marked approbation with which the Public honoured Niel Gow and Sons’ Editions of Strathspeys and Reels, in adopting their Setts as Standard, the Editor is induced to hope that the following Collection of our Original Native Melodies may be favourably received, and should it have, even in any degree, the effect of producing a Conformity in the playing of these Beautiful Simple Airs, he will be amply repaid for his small share of trouble.

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