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Nathaniel Gow

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Title: Nathaniel Gow  
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Subject: Music of Scotland, Gow (surname), Sir Charles Douglas, 1st Baronet
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Nathaniel Gow

Nathaniel Gow (1763–1831) was the fourth son of Niel Gow, and a celebrated performer, composer and arranger of tunes, songs and other pieces on his own right. He wrote about 200 compositions including the popular "Caller Herrin".

Early life

Nathaniel was born to Niel Gow and Margaret Wiseman, at Inver, near Dunkeld, Perthshire, on 28 May 1763. He was taught the fiddle at first by his father, but was soon sent to Edinburgh where he was taught successively by Robert "Red Rob" Mackintosh, the fiddler McGlashan, and his elder brother William Gow. He also learnt the cello under Joseph Reinagle. In 1782 he was appointed as one of His Majesty's herald trumpeters for Scotland.[1]


In 1796 Gow started a music-selling and publishing business with William Shepherd at 41 North Bridge, Edinburgh, which continued until Shepherd's death in 1813. Gow became prominent as the leader of many bands, and was important at many assemblies such as the Caledonian Hunt Balls. His patron was the Duke of Atholl.[2] Between 1799 and 1824 he published a significant number of collections of tunes. He married twice, and had five daughters and one son by his first wife, Janet Fraser. By his second wife, Mary Hog, whom he married in 1814, he had three sons and two daughters; only Augusta seems to have followed in the family profession, and became a teacher of music in Edinburgh.[3]

Nathaniel Gow died on 19 January 1831, and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

See also


  1. ^ Electric Scotland
  2. ^ North East Folklore Archive
  3. ^

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