Neil Gow’s Highland reel

Also known as Neil Gow’s.

There are 5 recordings of this tune.

Neil Gow’s Highland has been added to 1 tune set.

Neil Gow's Highland has been added to 15 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Neil Gow's Highland
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:A2AF G2G2|A2AB cdec|A2AF G2GB|1 cABG EAAG:|2 cABG EAA2||
(3Bcd ef gfgd|G2BG dGBG|(3Bcd ef gfg2|ea~a2 ea~a2|
gfef gedf|gedc BG~G2|A2Bd (3efg fd|cABG EAAG||
X: 2
T: Neil Gow's Highland
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:A>BA>F G2 G>B|A2 A>B ^c>d e<c|A2 A>F G2 A>B|(3cBA B>G E<A A2:|
A>B^c>d e>f g2|G2 B>G D>GB>G|A>B^c>d e>fg>f|e<aa>g e<a a2|
g>fe>g f>e d2|g>fg>d B<G G>B|A>B^c>d e>fg>e|d>cB>G E<A G2||

Eleven comments

Neil Gow’s Highland

Transcribed from Fermanagh fiddler Mick Hoy and Belfast flute player Gary Hastings’s duet playing: (starts around 13:55)
from The Rolling Wave 2009:

Peter Browne introduces this tune as a reel, but it sounds like a highland. In fact, a slightly different version of the same appears as "Neil Gow’s Highland" on Hidden Fermanagh tune book. I heard most highlands are played with little swing in Co. Fermanagh.

Currently, but not necessarily historically. Over time highlands, as has been said before, have been put to the service of reels, single and double. It is that disconnection from the dance that in part leads to the change. But, if you have a good melody why let go of it when fashions change… I have heard, in the past, highlands given swing in Fermanagh, not among the ‘young’ crew, anyone under say 90 years of age…

I’d be surprised if this wasn’t already here.

This particular one, with the given B-part, is the kind of highland that would often get converted to a full double reel, as happened with those that had a considerable second ending, almost as if the B-part were 8 bars long, instead of 4 bars and then a 2 or 4 bar second ending…

‘c’, I was actually thinking about transcribing the tune with a bit of swing, but decided to put a link to Mick Hoy’s playing instead to show how it’s actually played. He swings the tune, but in a subtle way.

Good one slainte, that is what I was thinking of…

I’d played this with him, and others in the area. Yes, we swung it, and sometimes with a bit more, when it was being danced ~ Another good point… The also seemed to be a bit more laughter in it when we swung it. 😀

The ‘was’ a bit more laughter in it when we swung it.

To clarify the cross posting, "Good one slainte" was with regards to the link to "Neil Gow’s Wife", which was the name some folks had for it in Fermanagh as well.

😏 ?!

Weird, I’d just corrected "The ‘was’" to "There ‘was’" ~ and again the ‘re’ disappeared. Will it happen again?

Nope! ~ but crazy…

Neil Gow’s Highland, X:2

As played by Gerry O’Connor and Dessie Wilkinson on the 1987 album ‘Cosa Gan Bhroga’. O’Connor and Wilkinson got the tune from Eddie Duffy and Mick Hoy from Fermanagh; it’s Hoy’s setting from Slainte above, and Duffy’s setting in the book ‘Hidden Fermanagh’ (2003)

It has similarities to the Cape Breton tune "Alex Dan MacIsaac’s" which in turn is derived from an older Scots strathspey "Tibby Fowler o’ the Glen" in Gow’s Repository (1799) and "The Fouller’s Rant" in Alexander MacGlashan’s 1778 collection. However, the B part in "Neil Gow’s Highland" is somewhat different, and the tune it’s most likely derived from is "Mr MacDonald of Staffa" by Daniel McLaren, which became better known under the title "Niel Gow’s Wife" (see ).