This tune is played occasionally in sessions in Bristol. This version is from O’Neill.
Has anyone any information about the meaning, if any, of "Gallowglass"?
Doesn’t it mean a mercenary, or a soldier of some sort?
Thanks, Zina. Looks like you’re right. It certainly makes sense in view of the older alternative name of the tune.
trevor, my version of O’Neills has the Fs sharped in the first and third line, except where you have specifically put the natural in.
I love this tune — tho the F naturals aren’t easy on a keyless flute. What tempo do they play it at in Bristol? I always feel it should go slow-ish and stately despite it’s being a jig, but I’ve never actually heard it.
I’m always amused by the Irish way of playing this as a jig when the original name is ‘Nathaniel Gow’s Lament For The Death Of His Brother’. Nathaniel Gow was Niel Gow’s son and composed some great tunes this being one of his best.
Gallowglasses were Scottish mercenary soldiers, unless I’m greatly mistaken.
The Gallowglass / An Galloglach
A friend sent me this information:
A ‘gallowglass’ was the name for a mercenary soldier, often Scottish, who in ages past fought in Ireland. The Gaelic word is Galloglach which is a combination of two words: Gall, a foreigner (usuallly a Scot), and Oglach, a soldier. The term is also taken to mean a warrior who is so loyal to the clan that he is willing to die protecting his chieftain, either on the battlefield or in court. Harry O’Prey and Caoimhin Mac Aoidh explain that descendants of these warriors typically have the anglicized surname Gallogley or Gallogly, dervived from Mac Gall
Paul de Grae relates that "The Gallowglass" was the jig Cork accordion player Jackie Daly was playing in a pub in the mid-1990’s when he collapsed with a serious medical problem. After a period of convalescence Daly fortunately recovered and quipped that he’d have to go back to the pub and play the whole tune, in case they thought he only knew the first bit of it!
Not by Niel but by Nat
As far as I can make out, Nathaniel Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Brother is an adaptation of the Irish jig, An Galloglach/The Gallowglass. And a tune by Duncan McKercher called Lord John Scott’s March is itself an adaptation of Nat Gow’s lament. As an aside, Nat Gow’s son Niel Gow Jnr, who died young, and whose tunes were published posthumously by Nat, wrote a tune called Lord John Scott’s Strathspey.
You can find sheet music for An Galloglach/The Gallowglass Jig and Nat Gow’s lament (or is it the Right Honourable Lord John Scott’s March?!) on one page for comparison here:
And a (slightly more rhythmic?) version of Nat Gow’s lament is also printed in Ceol na Fidhle Vol 5/6 p10.
*Niel* Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Brother Donald is a completely different tune, for which you can here a midi file here:
But I can’t find the dots on the web anywhere.
… for which you can find listed, and *hear*, a midifile here …
The ‘friend’ who sent nastyweegirls information of 12/8/03 above lifted them verbatum from the 2003 edition of The Fiddler’s Companion
Must get my friends to teach me how to use cut & paste.
T: Gallowglass, The
|:AB|c2A eBd|cAA A2B|c3 efg|dBG GAB|
c2A eBd|cAA e2d|cBA ^GAB|cAA A:||
|:a3 e^fd|cAA A2B|c3 efg|dBG G2e|
a^ga e^fd|cAA Aed|cBA ^GAB|cAA A2e|
a3 e^fd|cAA A2B|c3 e^fg|dBG G2e|
aeg ^fdB|ecA BGE|ABc dBe|cAA A2||
Some interesting insight into the Gallowglass on wiki…..
Anyone got the chords to this one?
Nathaniel Gow’s Lament For His Brother
Recording this presently for a CD
The Gallowglass, X:3
This is the way I play this tune. I picked it up on a recording ages ago. I don’t clearly remember from which band, but I think it was Patrick Street.
Niel Gow’s Lament For The Death Of His Brother Donald
I have modified a version i found on the net to include the variation in the B part which i hear on Pete Clarks cd even now and tallies with Iain Frasers video
Beautiful! This goes in a very different direction than the versions already posted, https://thesession.org/tunes/1369, so I’m not sure if this should be merged over there as another setting, or kept on its own as a different beast entirely.
I have the tune in Iain Fraser’s book ‘Scottish Fiddle Tunes’ where it is in the slow air section & entitled Niel Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Brother.
It’s a lovely tune - thanks for putting it up. @DrSchlock.
When I try to find the tune under the title Fraser uses, though, it doesn’t show up, and I didn’t know that it was also called The Gallowglass. Would it be possible for someone to cross-reference it so it shows up under the ‘Lament’ title?
Re: The Gallowglass
The playing on the video is an excellent job!! There’s something about a slow, soulful tune like that in a minor key that kinda grabs you by the booboo….
The Gallowglass, X:6
Combination of setting here, elsewhere, and a few ideas of my own.
The run down from d-to-B in the 2nd & 3rd bars of the the A Part, and similar sequences in the B Part, could have been f-to-d, with, |cAA A2 fe|dBB e^fg|. That would probably be easier for a whistle player, albeit doesn’t sound as good. |cAA A2 dc|BGG e^fg| works better for other instruments, and whistlers/flutists could throw in a c# instead if playing quick enough.
The Gallowglass, X:7
Some more variations. B Part could instead end with: |aeg fdf|ecA dBG|ABc dBe|cAA A2 A/B/|.
A few lovely recordings of this jig are on Randal Bay’s album "Out of the Woods" (played down in Gminor), Natalie Haas’ & Alasdair Fraser’s album "Highlander’s Farewell", and Henri’s Notions’ album "Trip to the Cottage".
Re: The Gallowglass
Mathew Walklate & co., third tune (@ 1 min 54s):
Interesting to hear this one on the harmonica!
Dan Collins’ Father’s Jig / Meelick Team (Eddie Kelly’s) / The Gallowglass
The Gallowglass, X:10
From the playing of Randal Bays.
The Gallowglass, X:11
From the playing of Natalie Haas & Alasdair Fraser.
The Gallowglass, X:12
From the playing of Henri’s Notions.